By Phil Berbig
Sometimes it’s hard to know if people do unusual things because they don’t know they are doing them or because they actually think it’s okay.
Case in point; the things job seekers sometimes do when they are interviewing for that dream job…or even just that filler job to tide them over till they find that dream job.
I could probably write…well not quite a book, but a whole lot of pages describing various things that people did, said or did and said while attempting to convince me to say those three little words that we all long to hear: You are hired!
An example is the well-spoken woman who passed my phone screen test and agreed to come to my office the next morning for a face to face interview at 11:30.
Moments after she arrived that morning I walked into the front lobby of our office and was met by a bright smile, a handshake and a friendly hello. I thought, “So far we are off to a pretty good start.” I directed her through a door to a small room off to the side that was our official “Interview Room” and sat down on the opposite side of the official “Interview Table.”
I welcomed her and began to thank her for coming to meet with me to discuss the front desk position that was currently vacant. Before I could go much farther, she interrupted me as she pulled a cheeseburger, bag of fries and apple pie from her purse while announcing, “You’ve got to ignore this, 11:30 is my lunch time and I am just starved!”
I asked a couple of questions as she chewed away. Suddenly, she jumped up remembering the water bottle she left in her car. Excusing herself, she hurried out of the room and frantically ran to her vehicle retrieving the forgotten flask of Dasani. A few minutes later her smiling face joined me back in the interview room. I quickly wrapped up our conversation, thanked her and she left…thinking she impressed me.
Another time I asked a man about the “yes” checked on an application after a question regarding a felony conviction. The answer I received went pretty much like this: “Well you know what it’s like when you’re in a new city and your walking down the street and you hear someone coming up behind you so you know you start to get a little nervous so you cut him, he cuts you, a fight breaks out and the police show up?”
I had to tell him, “No, I can’t say I have ever had quite that experience.”
I was ready to move on but the gentleman was determined to convince me his story was true. He stood up and removed his shirt while asking me to examine the nasty scar running across his back. Apparently, he felt this would prove to me that his explanation was the truth and somehow (I don’t know how) the healed wound would convince me that his felony was not actually his fault.
And of course we could go on, but the thing about both of these examples is; these people actually did not have any idea they were doing something wrong. In fact I am sure they both thought their actions were totally acceptable.
When you are interviewing be cognizant of what you are doing. Sit straight and keep comfortable but remain professional at all times. Focus on the interview. Answer the questions. If you are meeting over your lunch time, eat before or after but not during. And by all means, always remember to please refrain from taking off any clothing or asking the interviewer to examine your scars. It will increase your chances of being employed.