Valuable Advice on Cellphone Etiquette During a Job Interview

happy person

Your resume worked! You got the call: "We would like to sit down and have an interview with you."

Now you have picked out the perfect clothes, your hair is done, your nails are filed, your practice questions are studied, and you are poised and ready to go. You walk in, shake hands, sit down and are asked the first question.

cellphone rining

However, as soon as you open your mouth to speak, your phone starts buzzing, flashing lights, and singing, "If you like Pina Coladas" as loud as the church bells next door. This is an example of something you really do not want to happen during a job interview. Fortunately, however, you can completely avoid this situation.

There are a few excellent reasons for putting your phone away and not using it during an interview. Let's start with some of the most obvious ones:

  • You will not receive any phone calls which may distract and cause both parties to lose focus.
  • You will avoid getting any disruptive text messages or other types of notifications.
  • Even glancing down at your phone during an interview can convey the message that you are not completely focused on the interview.

In order to get the job, and not the text, adhere to the following tips:

cellphone use

Turn it Off Completely

Many of us are actually addicted to looking at our phone multiple times a day. Avoid tempting fate with that addiction by turning off your phone completely. Don't rely on simply muting the volume; turn it off. suggests, "Don't just turn off your cell phone for the interviewer. Turn it off for you. It's hard to avoid the temptation to check the cell phone when you have a moment because you know someone called or sent a text message, but your interview is about you and the job, not about who is texting you."

If the phone is off, you do not have to worry about any unexpected ringing, buzzing, or lights of any kind.

Check All Alarms and Noise Possibilities

turn off cell phones

There is always the possibility that the phone will turn back on during the interview. If you have ever accidentally dialed someone, you know this to be true. Or if you have ever unknowingly recorded a conversation and then sent the audio file to someone by accident, you understand how much trouble this may cause. 

So before you go into an interview, check for any alarms or other noise possibilities. Turn off the alarms and "silence" both your messages and phone calls. Check anything that could possibly make a noise on your phone, and then double-check before your interview.

Ditch Your Phone Completely

Or, instead of going through all the trouble of silencing and turning off your phone, you could avoid the temptation and the risk of an interruption by simply leaving your phone in the car or at home.

What Happens if it Happens?

cellphone notifications during interviews

If you take the above precautions and your cell phone still rings (or buzzes) during an interview, according to, "you should apologize and quickly turn it off – without checking to see who called." Do not try to come up with a lame excuse if you do not have a good one. It is best to just apologize and turn it off as quickly as possible.

Acceptable Exceptions

There is always an exception or two to the rule. If the potential employer specifically asks you to look at your phone in order to view your social media or personal profiles, that is an obvious exception. This may happen if you have a friend in common or if social media is a part of the job for which you are applying.

Finally, if you are waiting for a serious medical or family related call, make sure you let the interviewer know ahead of time. That way, if there is an interruption, it will be not only expected but also accepted without judgment.

Learn more about job interviews and preparing for them by contacting us today.