Thursday, November 8, 2007

Career Advice: How you act in an interview

A few months ago I interviewed a gentleman for a sales position I was working on. I interview all of my candidates in person before I send them along to my clients. There is a very good reason for this. To make sure I'm representing them in their true light, and to make sure there aren't any personality problems I need to be aware of.

Case in point. This gentleman who has been selling in the wine industry for the last 15 years is very qualified for many sales positions. And I'm sure he would interview very well with many male hiring managers. He might not do so well with female interviewers. Why? The entire time I was interviewing him he was staring at my chest. I asked my husband if my outfit was too revealing, and he said "Possibly, in a black burka sort of way." Having worn a conservative, long sleeved black sweater that day, I didn't think I was calling attention to my anatomy.

While interviewing he brought up that he has a very active social life and that he has been divorced for the last three years. While these things come up in interviews, I felt the conversation was moving into personal waters.

While trying to direct his attention back to my face, let alone my eyes, I started to realize that if he's trying to find his next job, he might need to work on his interpersonal skills a little. Feeling like I needed a shower after the leering looks, I am now questioning what type of sales position would be best for him. Probably one dealing with male winemakers and male general managers.

So when you are interviewing, keep your demeanor professional and think about how you come off to the interviewer. We're paying attention, and may limit the opportunities we present based on how our interview went.