I was discussing the trials and tribulations of interviewing with a group of managers. They were sharing stories of their best and worst experiences. One manager said there was one time when he needed to push an interview back for a few minutes because he had to make an urgent phone call. He introduced himself to the candidate and she stood up, smiled, and shook his hand. After his phone call, he told his assistant to tell the candidate he would not be able to see her today and apologize for the inconvenience.
I thought we were going to hear that perhaps her verbal communication skills were not good, she was unprofessionally dressed or something of that nature. He told us that when she smiled he could see a piece of gum in her mouth. “What kind of person comes to an interview with gum in their mouth?” he asked.
We went round and round the room about whether or not that was a good enough excuse to eliminate a candidate, but what really had the most impact was the next experience told by another manager. He recanted a story about a candidate who showed up 45 minutes late, with no contact to the company letting them know he would be late. When the candidate finally arrived, the manager told HR that he didn’t want to interview The Candidate based on his tardiness. This manager was a stickler for promptness.
A few minutes later, the HR manager came in and told him that she really felt he should meet this candidate. She told him that the experience he had on his way to the interview was truly unavoidable and there was absolutely no way for him to get in touch with the company.
The manager peered out his door and saw the young gentleman in what looked like a brand new suit sitting there, a little disheveled and obviously distressed. He felt bad and decided to give in and meet with him. The HR Manager said she would give him a few minutes to collect himself and then send him in for the interview.
The manager lit up as he started talking about this guy. He was so personable and passionate about his life, his work and his desire to really make something of himself. The manager could not help but hire him right there on the spot. They worked together for several years until the manager actually left the company. They kept in touch as The Candidate progressed in his career, all the while looking to this manager when he needed guidance or a sounding board. Recently, the manager said he got an email from The Candidate that said he too had moved on from the original company into the big job he had always hoped for. He told the manager that he could have never accomplished what he did if the manager had not given him a chance on that very first day. “Boy, did that feel good,” he said.
How many times to we make a snap judgment? Do we sometimes take a quick look at a situation and move on too quickly? I wonder what the first manager missed out on because of a piece of gum.
Thoughts…….. Contact me at abbe@TECResourceCenter.com
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