Could your phone cost you a job?


Some things are just irresistible. Our smartphone is one of them.

Most of us are drawn to our screens like moths to a flame.  Studies show we don’t even realize how often our eyes rove to to look at our all powerful rectangle.

Glancing at our phones is the new normal.  That’s why it shocks many to learn just one little look can hurt the chance at getting a job, a promotion, or even a business card from a potential contact.

Seriously?  Yes.

Resist temptation at all costs!  

According to behaviourists, when we look at our phones during a face-to-face, the person across from us will likely feel phubbed, even if they don’t show it.  Phubbing is the popular term for disregarding someone’s presence in favour of a phone

The research concludes just one look at your screen is all it takes to make a person feel they’re not all that important. Obviously, that’s not the ideal message to convey when you hope to win someone over.

And no one gets away with phubbing without consequences.  Surveys show employees consider managers who phub them to be less trustworthy and less fair. Employees report they’re much less inclined to talk openly to these managers, and they feel less loyalty and pride in their organization overall.

Is everyone becoming just a little too sensitive?

Those who don’t believe in the science can try a little test for themselves.  Ask yourself how you feel when chatting to someone at a party who quickly scans the room as you speak

When that happens, intuitively we know what brain studies confirm:  When someone’s eye wander, their mind is wandering too.  And we can’t help but feel disrespected.

The science shows people experience that same negative feeling when we glance at our phones while in an interaction with them.

Another reason to hide your phone:  New research shows we don’t think as well when our phone is in sight.

A newly released large study shows the mere presence of our smartphone reduces our ability to think and problem-solve to our best potential.

People scored less well on tasks when they could see their phones, even when their phones were face down and powered off.  They scored at the same level as people who are sleep impaired.

When the phones were off and completely out of sight, either in a bag or out of the room, people’s scores increased.

Why do phones affect us so much?

The scientists suggest that we can’t entirely blank out things that are important to us if we can see them, even when we’re working on tasks.

It appears having a phone in sight is like keeping an ear out for someone who will call our name.  At some deep level, that distracts us.

Calling up the interviewer’s perspective:  

At The Bagg Group, we know our clients — hiring managers at the best companies in the GTA — consider it a red flag if you check your phone while interviewing.

Here are their four top reasons 

  1. It’s disrespectful.  (see phubbing above)
  2. It comes off as fidgety: In an interview especially, looking at your phone suggests you can’t stay focused.
  3. It begs the question, “Are you listening?”  Interviewers feel you aren’t paying attention.
  4. It shows a lack of willpower. This is harsh, but bosses and interviewers say they worry that those who look at their phone at inappropriate times are addicted to it, and won’t be as productive.

Tips from your expert recruiters at The Bagg Group

 1.  Turn off your phone, and keep it in your bag or briefcase during interviews.

High-income earners, as well as older professionals, are found to be especially turned off when someone checks text messages or emails during meetings of any kind.

2.  Even when among millennials, don’t get cozy with your phone. 

While people under 40 say they feel it is not a problem if they look at their smartphones during informal meetings or exchanges– they say they don’t like it when people do it while they are talking.

Not surprisingly, no one of any age enjoys being phubbed.

If you do need to check your phone, be open about it

Recruiters at Bagg Pro, Bagg Technology Resources, Bagg @ Your Service, Bagg Managed Resources and Turn Key Staffing Solutions are exceptionally skilled at active listening. That’s how we place the right candidate in the right jobs. It’s why we win best in our field for most satisfied clients and candidates. Check our job board here.

But like everyone, there are times when interviews or meetings take place just when we need to hear back on time-sensitive issues. When that happens, we have to bring our smartphone into a meeting –and glance at our email. But we don’t do it furtively.

We believe in open, transparent communications. If you must check your smartphone for legitimate reasons, tell people ahead of time. This way they’re prepared, not phubbed.

Want to know if you are a phubber? Take the test used by researchers. A “yes” to any one of the questions confirms you are.

  1. You check your phone while you dine with others.
  2. You keep your cell phone in sight when spending time with others.
  3. You hold your cell phone in your hand when you’re with other people.
  4. You pull out your phone when it rings or beeps — even if you’re in the middle of a   conversation.
  5. You glance at your phone while in mid-conversation.
  6. You check your phone for messages from other friends while you’re in the presence of the friends you are with.
  7. You use your phone while speaking to friends.
  8. You’ve used your cell on a date.

Some habits die hard, and phubbing is likely one of those. But experts say if you stop yourself, you’ll notice improvements at home, at work, even while dining.

One study shows that 97% of people claim their food tasted worst when phubbed during a meal!  Now that’s incentive to take a break from your smartphone.

Gene Hayden, author of The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done (Random House), is a career coach and writer-in-residence for The Bagg Group.


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