They talk on the phone all day long and never suspect that it may be affecting their image. In fact, the younger a person is the more likely they will be carrying a cell phone all day long. But what effect does this have on their image? And should bankers, lawyers, accountants and artists carry a cell phone with them and talk on it when in public? Does it affect their image?
To answer these questions, we polled 12 executives who were the owners of companies or in a management position. They had a median age of 52 and were able to decide on the fate of people they might hire. In other words, they’re the kind of people whose opinion matters when it comes to your next place of employment. They told us that in their opinion cell phone face is something to be avoided at all costs.
Forty percent of the managers said a cell phone was a distraction. Fifty-two percent said that a cell phone was a sign of an unfocused mind. And 80 percent said they would be less likely to hire someone who had a visible cell phone with them during an interview.
One of the managers referred to what he called “cell phone face.” It’s that ever-present look you get when you carry a cell phone with you all the time and bury your face in it even when in public. “It reflects a distasteful fluorescent glow up onto the person’s skin, making them look green and sick.” he added. “It also makes them look disinterested in what is going on around them.”
Another executive told us that if a person comes into an interview with a cell phone in his or her hand, he stops the interview right then and there and tells them to either shut it and put it away or consider the interview ended.
CELL PHONE FACE
The problem with cell phone face is that most young people don’t know they suffer from this condition. In other words, they show up at events with their cell phone blazing, and a sickly green glow reflecting up onto their face. “It’s like they’re in a horror movie, or sick,” said one female executive in a law office. “I don’t think they know it, but they look like they’re in another world. It’s certainly not an inviting image.”
As image consultants, we realize that people want to stay in touch and that young people, especially, feel a need to be on their cell phones 24/7. However, it’s our responsibility to report that in many cases the very cell phone which they think is keeping them in touch is actually destroying their chances for advancing their careers.
“I don’t hire people who arrive at an interview with a cell phone in their hand,” says a senior-level manager at a New York restaurant. “I have found that they may be more focused on talking and chatting with their friends than on doing their job. That, to me, is a real turn-off, and I have never hired a person like that.”
CANCER AND CELL PHONES
Another problem with constant cell phone use is the real possibility that the microwaves it emits will cause cancer. In the photo at the head of this article you can see a girl who carried her cell phone in her bra. She did this for 12 years and then noticed a lump, which grew bigger. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. Naturally she was devastated, and she thought she might die. She elected to have a mastectomy, surgical removal of her left breast. Her name is Tiffany Frantz and she is brave enough to warn others that there is a real danger here.
For those unsure about the risks, we recommend the book Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age: An Insider’s Alarming Discoveries about Cancer and Genetic Damage by Dr. George Carlo and Martin Schram.
Our final point, as image consultants, is that carrying a cell phone does not make you look cute or connected. Our research demonstrates that it makes you look untrustworthy and distracted, and it impedes your chances for success with decision-makers.