Interview behavior and follow-up counts

These examples from employers of poor job interviews and follow-ups are important reminders for those entering the workforce.

Texting on phone

Through my work with Michigan State University Extension, I focus on teaching career exploration and workforce preparation. I have the opportunity to program and interact with young people, adult staff and volunteers working with young people, along with community, school and business partners. Many times I teach about the importance of first impressions and interview tips. Recently, a couple of employers shared the following experiences with me.

An employer and his boss were interviewing recent college graduates for potential positions with their company. During the interview, the candidate made minimal eye contact. Additionally, the candidate was texting with one hand and was focused on his cell phone; not the job interview. At first, these business representatives were shocked. Eventually, they chose to stop the interview and they tactfully let the candidate know how inappropriate this behavior was and that the interview was over.

However devoted we are to our technology, there are times to use it and times not to use devices such as a cell phone. In the U.S., business and industry still value face to face communication and the in-person interview experience has expectations. This includes making eye contact, no cell phone use as part of the interview and being available for follow-up conversation.

When it comes to using a phone, MSU Career Services Network indicates you “don’t take a cell phone call or page when with another person—it’s rude. This is especially true during an interview, site visit or other professional event. In fact, be prepared to silence your phone and put it away. Texting, checking your phone for email and otherwise being constantly distracted by your phone is likely to make you seem uninterested. It’s not going to make a good impression.”

In my example, this individual also made little to no eye contact with the interviewers. This is not how you have a positive and engaged interview experience.

Another employer shared a bit of their frustration when trying to follow up with a job candidate whose voicemail was full, preventing a potential job offer from being made. Keep your voicemail accessible and cleaned out. A potential employer will not look favorably upon you if they have to put in extra effort to track you down for follow-up or to make a job offer. Think about the message you convey and the impression you leave on a potential employer.

MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

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