HR Strange But True!
November 03, 2011

Smartphones are all the rage. You can surf the Web, download the latest app, find a 4-star restaurant in the neighborhood—the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, having the world at your fingertips may also sabotage your chances of getting that job you’ve been gunning for if you don’t know when to put the phone down.

According to a recent survey, the most common interview mistake cited by hiring managers was answering a cell phone. Over 70 percent of respondents said an applicant has answered a cell phone or responded to a text during an interview.

Here’s a reader’s personal (and frustrating) story about an applicant who couldn’t say no to the ring tone:

“[While] interviewing for a high-profile engineering management position, one candidate, who'd already proven to be a pest via e-mail prior … did ultimately wind up with an interview. He waited in the reception area until I came to collect him, at which point I held out my hand to introduce myself.
“His cell phone rang (the ring tone was a fairly loud rendition of ‘play that funky music white boy’). He chose to answer rather than accept my handshake. Understandable, as it was a very important call … from his dentist’s office, reminding him of an appointment. Regretfully, he was not offered the job.”

But the story doesn’t end there:

“He contacted me after being notified that he didn't get the job, wanting very much to sit down and have a chat about what he could do in the future to better ensure his hire. I didn't think my lack of a response would necessarily strike him as rude.”

Thank you for sharing your story!

Do you have a strange workplace story? Share your experience and it could be featured in a future column!

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