The Only Reason to Check Your Phone in an Interview

I was at dinner with friends the other night, and realized that as soon as we sat down, everyone took out their smartphones. We hadn’t even looked at the menu, and everyone was intent on checking in on Facebook or FourSquare, or looking at their email, or sending a text message.

Sad. Looking at our phones has become so commonplace that we don’t even realize that it’s rude.

But, if you are looking for a job, learn to control the urge to pull your phone out. A reporter recently asked Nexxt whether it was ever okay to pull out your smartphone in an interview. My response? There is only one reason to look at your phone, and that is if you have been asked to schedule another meeting and you want to check your calendar. Any other reason and the interviewer will think that you aren’t interested, whether that is true or not.

But, it’s not only during interviews that you need to combat the urge. Every time you go out, you could be rubbing shoulders with the person who could help you get your next job. But you’ll never know if you are busy Tweeting about your drink.


  1. The wife is near due date and can have the baby any day. That’s the only reason, besides the one mentioned above, that I can think of. I’m a labor coach. If mama just has information, I have her text. If it is an immediate need, call me. It would depend on the length of the interview and the travel distance, whether I would silence my phone or not. But I would explain before the interview.
    “My wife is due any day and showing early labor symptoms before I left home. I hope you don’t mind if I leave my phone on in case she needs me right away?” Well… Something like that, but only say it if it’s true!

  2. Ha — great answer! Agreed, that would be another very valid reason. Although it does start to overlap with some other considerations. For instance, if this is a first interview, how many personal details do you want to share?

  3. I have been in an interview before where I needed to look up a phone number on my phone and needed to get out my phone, also. The interviewer was just fine with this, and I did get the job, also.

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