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The Many Pitfalls of Interviewing via Cell Phone

October 18, 2012
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I get it.  More and more Americans are removing traditional land-line telephone service from their homes. I did it more than four years ago and have never looked back. Our home phone rarely rang anyway, and if it did, it was a phone solicitor trying to sell something or a computer-generated survey call to gather information so they could auto-dial me later to sell me something! In a USA Today story last spring a reported 25% of all US households have ditched their phone service and only use cell phones, for a variety of reasons. 

What I don’t get is why a candidate would to use their cell phone to interview for their next position, knowing any number of issues could (and probably will) turn up. It’s a horrible idea.  Here are a few common cell-phone/interview incompatibility scenarios that I seem to encounter time and time again:

  • You have bad cell coverage. Everyone's cell phone has a bar indicator informing us about the strength of an area's coverage at any given time. Knowing cell coverage is spotty at best and still choosing to do an interview on your mobile phone is just a bad idea. Multiple dropped calls get very old, very fast for the person conducting the interview, and it demonstrates some seriously poor judgment on your part.
  • You are driving. It’s a proven fact that humans are unable to process more than one piece of data at a time, so why you would elect to have a critical phone interview while driving at speeds of 70 MPH or in a rain storm with rain pelting down on your windshield?! This poor judgment call leads to multiple interview gaffes, as you are forced to ask the interviewer to speak up so you can hear them, or you ask them to hold while you attempt to navigate and impress your audience at the same time. Bad call. Pull over on the side of the road if you find yourself in your car when talking to a potential new employer.
  • Low Battery. This one is really inexcusable, but, believe it or not, has been behind many prematurely terminated interviews, just because the candidate had not thought though the consequences of running out of battery life (i.e. having to reschedule the call because of poor planning). Not a good plan. Nope!      
  • Sitting in a coffee shop or restaurant. So you slipped away from the office to hole up in your favorite cafe or coffee shop, and while it may work for you, the background noise is a total distraction for the person conducting the interview. God forbid you actually order something while the person on the other end of the phone patiently waits for you to complete your request! This has actually happened!!!

It’s always best to use a landline, but if you have to use your cell, make sure to charge your phone, and avoid  bad coverage areas, driving, and crowds. These risks may put you in a position where you hear the sound of dial tone on the other end of the phone because the call, the interview, and the opportunity is over!