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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

We Don't Always Hire the Most Qualified Person - What happens when the interview room door closes

I looked up from my desk and the president of the company was standing in my door

Do you have a minute?

((((What am I gonna say? "Go away I'm busy."))))

He needed a favor.

A local official's nephew had just left the Marine Corps and was having a difficult time finding a job. It would mean a lot if we could find something. So, I did what every mid-level manager in the 1990's did - I handed the assignment off to someone in my department and went back to more pressing issues.

By the way: This story may not be going where you think it's going

A few weeks later I looked up from my desk and guess who is standing in my door? 

Didn't we have a discussion about hiring Mr A's nephew a few weeks ago? 

This was accompanied by a furrowed brow. 

Lemme check,boss 

Please do!!

Down the hall I went. 

Hey Janice!!! What ever became of  the person whose resume I gave you a few weeks back. You know, the one Jack wanted us to interview. I put a heavy emphasis on "Jack."

We're not hiring him? 

We're not? Did he fail the drug screen, background check come up sorta wonky?

Nope. He was wearing the same after shave my first husband wore and he was no good. I just saved the company a lot of heart ache. Birds of a feather..........

If you have spent any time with me at all you know it's a rare occasion that I am speechless. Count this as one of those rare occasions!!!

A few phone calls later and he was a new employee. That was 21 years ago and as far as I know he is still working for that company. Everyone he worked with had rave reviews about his attitude and performance.

In his book Blink! Malcolm Gladwell asserts that we form an opinion about someone in the first two seconds after meeting them. Once formed it's hard to shake that opinion, good or bad. In Janice's case, as soon as she got a whiff of the candidates cologne, it was game over. Too many negative memories.

This supposition has another facet though.

A few years earlier I was working at a company as as human resource director. Our manufacturing manager and vice president of operations, Joe,  instructed me that anyone who submitted a resume that said they attended XYZ University was moved to the head of the line.

Guess where he went to school? Yup, XYX University.

I could write another four paragraphs about how those interviews and subsequent hiring's went. I'll only say it is a part of my life I'd just as soon forget.

While Janice believed anyone who wore a certain brand of cologne could do no right, Joe believed anyone who went to XYZ University could do no wrong.

After all, look at him!!

We've been led to believe it's a level playing field when we walk into an interview.

Far from it.

When the door closes and the games begin, it is far from objective.

In my next few blogs I'll share some tips I learned in over twenty years of interviewing people that can help you avoid the mine field.

So stay tuned. There is more to come.

John Jurkiewicz is the owner and operator of  New Career Creations a unique approach to happiness and success in our lives through gaining satisfaction and fulfillment in our careers. He has over forty years of experience in operation management, human resource management, training and development and has owned his own business for close to 17 years. John is certified as a life coach, a career coach, and an intuitive career coach.  He and his wife Joan have been married for over 42 years