Things Often Aren’t What They Seem

by - m on 08/06/2010

How would you grade a candidate who texted on her mobile phone during an interview? Read on.

I often conduct mock interview sessions with clients and students to test their interviewing skills in as close to a real-life situation as possible. 

During one of these sessions a student candidate pulled out her iPhone and started texting during the interview. During various times during the meeting, she would grab her iPhone, text something, and then join the conversation. She asked thoughtful follow-up questions and otherwise was attentive. Other than the iPhone incident, she was an outstanding candidate.
During the follow-up meeting I asked why she thought it was a good idea to use her cell phone to text someone during the interview. She looked shocked. She had no idea what I was talking about. Then she got it. “I wasn’t texting,” she said. “I was following your advice.” (It was my turn to look confused). She smiled. “I was using my iPhone to type each question, take a moment to think about it, and to take notes.” 
She also reasoned that she was demonstrating her ability to use current technology and was even being “green” – using renewable resources rather than paper that could wind up in a landfill. Her notes could also be emailed to her computer for later reference. 
We both learned something.
I learned (yet again) that things aren’t always what they seem. The candidate learned that it’s a good policy to ask if it’s okay to take notes using her mobile device and to explain why she preferred to use it.
– T.D. Boss

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