Career Resources

Career Resources

The Hidden Way Your Cell Phone Ruins Your Interviews

Posted March 19, 2015 & filed under Interviewing, Job Search

The Hidden Way Your Cell Phone Ruins Your Interviews

It’s show time for your interview. Just like at the movies, it’s natural to silence your cell phone. Simple enough, but phones ringing and even candidates answering calls are still among the most common interview mistakes that hiring managers see.

Deactivate your alarms and power down your phone before you enter the building. That fix is simple enough. Yet that isn’t the only way your cell phone is ruining your interview. Your career sabotage happened the night before and who knows how many nights prior.

Sleep, Interrupted

Cell phones are eroding your sleep cycle. Our brains are hardwired for daytime functionality. Since the dawn of humankind, we’ve risen with the sun and slumbered shortly after its light source dipped beyond the horizon.

Our circadian rhythms, the systemic biological process that regulates essential hormones in our bodies, depend upon a clear distinction between light and darkness. LED lighting in cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions (the blue and green light waves specifically) scorch that delicate chronological balance and take a toll on your body.

Studies have identified circadian disruption as a health hazard. In this case, when artificial blue and green light sources trick certain cells in your retinas which then tricks your brain into thinking its daytime, a diverse array of physical ailments and medical conditions increase.

Instances of diabetes and certain cancers skyrocket in nocturnal screen users as they disrupt circadian rhythms. Depression and altered moods afflict people in the short and long term. And that’s what is hurting your job interview.

Is Your Sleep Cycle Out of Whack?

How often do you flip through your emails in bed? Read the next chapter in an eBook? Catch up on your latest show? Send one last text? Chances are incredibly high that your circadian sleep cycle is suffering.

You’re not alone. 95% of Americans regularly stare into LED screens shortly before bed. Compound the effects over countless nights, weeks, and months, and your body, brain, and mood can be lagging far behind their full potential. That means perceptible differences in your mood during your next interview.

Regain a Positive Mood for the Interview

For your body to start a healthy sleep schedule, it needs to be removed from an LED light source (or even a fluorescent one) at least an hour before bed. Specifically, you need to avoid any blue and green spectrum colors to convince your brain to start the process of making rejuvenating melatonin.

Ideally, all of your devices are turned off long before you get a good night’s rest. That’s at least for a few days prior to your interview.

If you can’t bear to go without light, make sure you at least diminish your exposure to blue and green lights sources.

  • Eat a healthy dinner by candlelight or read a physical book by lamplight.
  • Health blogger Mark Sisson recommends installing F.lux (a free app) onto your devices to decrease blue light emission at night.
  • Use red-tinted glasses or a red filter to cancel the blue and green light from your devices.

Do any or all of these things and you give your body the chance to replenish the biochemical and physiological processes that make it work best. You’ll feel more refreshed and more optimistic. That translates into higher performance in your interview (and on the job in general).

Think about it: at a time when employers are watching your every move and evaluating your every response, is it really worth throwing all that away over an extra hour at night with your cell phone? Probably not.

by James Walsh

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