In the post a few days ago, we discussed what to do with your cell phone. Namely, that it should be both on silent (not vibrate) and off completely. However, in some rare cases you may need to take a call during the interview. Perhaps you have a sick relative or a family member is having a baby. Whatever the reason, there are going to be some rare, rare cases that you need to have your cell phone on and with you during the job interview.
What to Say
Before the interview begins, you need to explain the situation to the interviewer. Right after you introduce yourself, let the interviewer know the situation:
“Before we begin, I just wanted to let you know that I may need to answer a phone call during the interview. A good friend of mine is very sick, and I am her emergency contact should something go wrong at the hospital. I’d like to apologize in advance for any inconvenience.”
Your reason needs to be something like the one above. You also need to make sure that you do not give away personal information, for example “My wife is having a baby.” This type of personal information can play a role in your ability to get hired. If your wife is having a baby, say “a family member is having a child and she is 2 days late for her due date. I may need to drive her to the hospital if she goes into labor.”
What to Do
Your cell phone either needs to be on vibrate, or you need to turn every single ringtone for every one of your contacts off except for the one person that you are waiting for. Most phones allow you to set a ringtone of “silent” and then personalize ringtones for contacts. You do not want to check your phone because it is vibrating or ringing, only to find that it is not the person you are waiting for.
If the person calls, you first say to the interviewer “I am so sorry, I need to get this, it is the friend in the hospital” and only answer if they give you the nod. Then make sure you speak as briefly as possible, and you if you need to leave, apologize to the interviewer and ask to reschedule.
What to Expect
This is going to affect your ability to get the job. There is no way around it. If you are lucky, they may give you another chance, but do not expect it. Even the best excuses are still excuses. You should have rescheduled if there was a risk of you getting a phone call.
The advice above will help minimize the damage, but it will not negate it completely. If you present yourself as a great employee throughout the rest of the interview, you may still have a chance, but expect that the phone call has hurt your chances.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Warn the interviewer ahead of time.
- Turn the cell phone on vibrate or give only the one contact a ringtone.
- Expect it to hurt your chances.