Education Career Services

January 22, 2009

Prologue to an Interview: Represent 24/7

mirror-reflection-in-sphereBeing an owner of a career management company catering to retail, corporate (specializing in RIF), and academic institutions, I’ve seen and heard just about everything revolving around interviewing…leading me to this particular segment of our blog.


I used the term “Represent 24/7” in the title because it is a concept many do not seem to understand.  Heck, perhaps we simply have never been told…after today, ignorance can never be your excuse.


We are not just who we are behind closed interview doors.  Quite the contrary, from the moment we walk outside (or get on the phone) perceptions and judgments are being made, even without our knowledge.  One of the strangest interview incidents happened to me and a candidate late last year.  Let me explain:


I had a job opening for an experienced technical writer and invited several candidates to come in for a formal chat.  All were equally qualified so much depended upon character and them intangibles such as ability to work in a group setting and get along with others.  The day for interviewing appeared and “David” was scheduled to come in at 2:00 pm on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon.  My day was running a tad late and I was unable to run out for a timely lunch so I called and placed an order for pick up. So far, so easy.


I got to the restaurant at 1:25 pm and saw a line of 3 patrons.  As a separate cashier was waiting for me in the pick up area (no line of patrons), I went directly to purchase. About this time a gentleman (nicely attired) made several comments about my rudeness and how I should have waited in line like everyone else.  I simply ignored the situation but not until I got a good look at the person verbalizing what he felt was unfair. 


After lunch, I waited patiently for my next interview, he appeared on time and on paper was a strong candidate.  I walked to greet my candidate and was surprised to see it was the very person who made disparaging remarks to me moments before while I paid for lunch.  David was quite embarrassed but did not make mention to the incident—he was hoping I did not notice or my age would cause sudden and selective amnesia…it did not.


Did David come back for another interview? Was he hired? Or did his initial interview become his last interview?  What do you think?


One never knows who’s in line, in the elevator, in the parking garage, or driving down the street.  Think before making a scene and the consequences and potential players involved before diminishing what may happen.


“Represent 24/7” and know who you are is determined by those viewing your behavior, active as well as passive. 


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