Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cranky Recruiter's Interview Bloopers

Yes, dear reader, this blog is all about advice for the job hunt.  As they say, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make her drink.  I may put the advice out here for consumption, but often people don't know they could use the information.  I thought I'd share some of my favorite interview bloopers to lighten your day.  Think to yourself, "Oh great, is she talking about me?" or "Would hate to be that guy!"  No one ever needs to know but you and me.

Ditch the Beer, not your Career
Blooper:  A few years ago I was interviewing a tasting room manager candidate in a public market
setting.  I arrived a bit early and waited for him.  He sent me a quick text to see if I was there, which I was. He came over and found me, bringing his freshly poured pint of beer.  To put this in context, I was sitting in the common area, not consuming anything at about 11:00 am on a weekday.  In a friendly manner I asked why he was having a beer before our interview and he said he had been really nervous and wanted to calm himself down.  Luckily that occurred during the interview--he finished the pint right about the time I was concluding the interview.  He wasn't the right person for that job, and so far, any others I have worked on.
Moral:  If you find out your interview is about to start--chuck the liquor and get over to the interviewer quicker.

Hello, My Eyes are Up Here!
Blooper:  Maybe you know this, but in an interview it is best to look the other person in the eye or thereabouts.  When you are staring at their chest, navel or anything below their chin you can get yourself in trouble.  Years ago I was interviewing a seasoned salesperson and I was wearing professional business attire.  During the entire interview, his eyes gazed below my chin, and never looked up.   He did however discuss how he was recently divorced, was looking for a nice woman, and, oh, yeah, wants a new job.  Hmm, maybe he has to brush up on his dating skills too?
Moral:  No matter what, keep your eyes on the prize--a job--not anything else.

Would you Like Hollandaise with that Wad of Gum?
Blooper:  Decades ago I was interviewing a young recruiter that I was thinking about bringing onto my team.  He was energetic, had done some high-tech recruiting in the past, and had a good sense of humor.  We had a preliminary interview in the office, and for the second interview we met for lunch.  Salutations and ordering were complete and then our meals came.  The young recruiter took his large wad of gum out and put it on his plate.  Yum, appetizing.  Shockingly I did end up hiring him--and have plenty more stories of his shenanigans after that.  
Moral:  While he shouldn't of had all that gum in his mouth for an interview, his humor, experience and personality won me out--over the huge wad of gum which seemed to be joining us for lunch. 

Sunbather with a Slight Hint of Cocoa Butter
Blooper:  For a particular hospitality position I was doing back-to-back interviews at a coffee shop, meeting experienced managers every hour.  I had gotten to my third interview of the day, and in walked a young woman with her bikini top on under her sundress.  She also had her resume with her.  She had successfully managed teams of up to 5 tasting room personnel and was in charge of the operating budget and revenues for the winery's hospitality program.  And she was wearing a swimsuit.  Now that is wine country casual!  Oh, and for bonus points she did use cocoa butter for tanning so she smelled great.  May be a bit overpowering in a tasting room setting though.
Moral:  While it may be casual in wine country, I appreciate if you wear something that you didn't throw on after sunbathing.  

Thanks, I Needed a Pick-me-up
Blooper:  Recently I was recruiting for a manager role within the engineering department at a large winery.  My candidate met me at the right time, right place and was dressed appropriately.  She brought along her resume, references and some associated documents.  We started the interview at the coffee shop and things were going great.  Right about the time we got into details about her current role her hand struck her coffee cup, hurling it, uncovered, into my lap.  She had my attention then.  She apologized profusely, handled herself very professionally in a very awkward situation and tried to remedy the situation.  While I was wiping up the foamy macchiato, I was giggling on the inside.  This is something that I always worry about doing--not getting done to me.  She ended up interviewing for the position and got the job.  I'll take care of that dry cleaning bill!
Moral:  Things happen.  Be nice and conscientious and most of the time people understand.  And you'll be memorable.  Maybe even earn yourself a new nickname.  Macchiato Mayhem!

Take Home Message:  We all goof up.  Sometimes quite publicly, sometimes in ways only a few people witness.  Handling yourself professionally and courteously will pay off in the long run.