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I was lucky enough to get a phone interview for a position I am interested in. I able to schedule it during my lunch break but where do I take the call? In my car? Should I move to another part of the parking lot? People will be coming and going from their lunch break, won't it look weird since I will be sitting in my car on the phone? I live 20 minutes away so I would have to leave before my lunch break and return late if I take the call from home, which will seem odd since I usually eat my lunch at my desk.

Where should I take this call, so I will be comfortable and only focused on the interview?

  • @JoeStrazzere what do you think about the rumor point in my answer as a reason not to use your own lot? A legit concern? – Chris E Nov 9 '16 at 19:57
  • @ChristopherEstep there are lots of reasons to make a phone call privately. I really can't see people jumping to the conclusion that you're job searching. – Kat Nov 9 '16 at 22:16
  • Even worse situation is when you need a laptop/computer for the phone interview. Many companies ask you to have access to your laptop with internet connection. – Programmer Jan 2 '18 at 10:35
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Take it in the car, in a quiet place like a park in the shade so you're comfortable. Don't worry if the interviewer learns you're in the car. If they know you're employed, they'll understand. The important thing is to get somewhere quiet.

Your parking lot should be a last resort because you don't want to either start rumors or worse, have someone come up to you to talk.

I've found small parks are the best. You could also choose another parking lot. Anything but your own parking lot would be best.

  • 6
    This makes sense, make sure you have good reception wherever you decide to do it as well. – Kilisi Nov 9 '16 at 20:32
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    While perhaps a reasonable answer for the OP, or even for most Americans, as a Brit I find this post confusing and alien on many levels. You mean that it's socially normal over there for an office worker to (without explanation) literally get into their car and drive away for personal business during the course of a work day, and that such conduct wouldn't be questioned by colleagues? And... you have parks that it's possible not just to drive a car into, but to park in? Nothing in this answer makes the tiniest bit of sense when seen through the lens of the culture that I belong to. – Mark Amery May 3 '17 at 22:36
  • @MarkAmery This is America. They have drive-through cemetaries. Literally. – gerrit Jun 20 '18 at 20:55
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I went through this last year while job hunting. I was also uncomfortable doing it in the parking lot, because we get a lot of foot traffic from other employees, and its not unlikely someone would come up to the car to say Hi.

I chose to drive off the property and go to a nearby park/strip mall and find a quiet place to do the interviews when they were during my workday. I kept any relevant information I needed in the car (notebook, resume, laptop, etc.) while at work so it was super easy to run out and back.

If your current employer is cool with occasionally working from home, that may be an option on the days you have phone interviews. I would intentionally schedule 3-4 phone screens in a single day, then just work from home that day. Edit: As @anotherdave pointed out, this depends a lot on the type of work you do, and you should still absolutely put in a full workday for you current job, presumably by working a bit earlier or later than usual to compensate for the hours you spent doing interviews. It also may be tricky if you need to be able to respond to work requests quickly, so use your better judgement to decide if this is an option for you.

If leaving the office during the day, or working from home is not generally an option, you may need to work with the recruiter to fit your schedule. Generally recruiters understand that the best potential employees tend to already be employed, so they are willing to work with you to set times that work for you. I have done phone screens at both 7:30am and 8pm (my normal office hours were 9-6).

Good Luck!

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    Just as a counterpoint, while working from home is useful for taking calls, doing 3–4 in a day may be unattainable, depending on how contactable you need to be by your own office — going 'off grid' for an hour or so would be normal; being unreachable for 4 hours in a day may be suspicious, depending on the working environment/team culture. – anotherdave Nov 9 '16 at 19:57
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    @anotherdave Ah, that is a good point. I would "make up" the hours by starting earlier/working later, and my work was fairly asyncronous with the rest of my team at the time. I will clarify that a bit. – shenles Nov 9 '16 at 20:03
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Take it in your car. Eventually, you'll get used to doing it. If people say hello or good bye to you - unlikely during the lunch hour - smile and wave back at them.

Taking it in the car is probably the only sure way to ensure your privacy on the fly - You could choose an empty conference room but the walls may have ears.

Nobody is likely to raise their eyebrows about you doing your (very) personal business in your car. Your conversations with your banker, your doctor, your lawyer, your yoga teacher, your FBI handler, your spouse and in this case, your recruiter, should be off-limits to everyone in the office.

So far as others are concerned, you're having lunch at your desk unless you need to discuss private matters. They can see you go into your car, they may not pry into your privacy and ask you what's it's all about. The more normal you act, the more normal it is.

Try to do it early in the morning, shortly after work or during the lunch hour, though.

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    +1 for "The more normal you act, the more normal it is." There is absolutely nothing suspicious about taking a phone call privately. – Kat Nov 9 '16 at 22:18
  • Agreed 100%, there are a million reasons why one might have a private phone conversation that have nothing to do with interviewing for another job, I really don't think anyone is going to jump to that conclusion if they see you on the phone in your car. – Carson63000 Nov 10 '16 at 6:26

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