Editor’s Note: Well folks…I’m back! I’m not sure if that’s a happy statement or not – cause I won’t lie to you – I was having a pretty good time being on vacation and all. But unfortunately you all know how quickly those go by :(. But I’ll tell you one thing – I’m most certainly psyched to see my blog and this amazing community again. I admit that I missed my blogosphere life way too much so in that sense – I’m definitely happy to back among you all!
As you might know, I asked a few good friends to step in for me with guest posts while I was away. And Marcus, Gini and John really outdid themselves and presented my community and I with fantastic pieces and discussion topics. I’m truly grateful to them for doing so.
If you haven’t had the chance to read their posts, I highly suggest that you do and join the conversations that are still taking place. Trust me, you won’t be sorry and there’s a lot to learn from each of these A+ peeps!
I have another kick-ass post for you today from my friend Stuart Mills aka Stu. I’m sure most of you are familiar with Stu and his wonderful and very insightful blog, Unlock The Door. But if you aren’t, shame on you! But I forgive you as long as you head over there right after you read his guest article here and share your thoughts with us.
Stuart is a personal development blogger who wants to help you improve at life. He thinks you’re awesome. You can often find him at Unlock The Door where he writes constantly to make it a better day for everyone, and you should subscribe to his content here. Oh, and you should most definitely stalk him on Twitter.
“For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearance, as though they were realities and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.”
Ever judged someone by their looks?
If the answer is “No”, then you have discovered some form of enlightenment and I applaud you for it. But I believe that most of you out there, if not all of you, will answer “Yes” to this question. We all judge by appearances, it’s human nature to. We don’t have the time to get to know someone, there’s just too much ‘rush-rush’ going on in our lives. We can’t even get our bills paid, let alone get to know someone off the street! And even if we started to learn more about someone, they may still surprise us by doing something unexpected. What alternative is there than to judge by first appearances?
Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you, because I haven’t figured that one out yet. If I do, I’ll let you know, but until then don’t keep your hopes up. In the meantime though, I want to share a story with you. This incident happened about two months ago, when I went for a preliminary job interview after receiving a phone call from an agency. They’d seen my profile online, and wanted to invite me to their location to discuss a “Customer Service and Administration” role.
Now, this sounds good, but bear in mind that I hadn’t actually applied for this role – they contacted me out of the blue. And what’s more, I’ve had bad experiences with agencies contacting me before, which never lead anywhere. My instinct was to decline, but I was also curious, and agreed to go to the interview.
Fast forward to the day, and after waiting for a few minutes having filled in a form which was the same kind as used by agencies before (another alarm bell), I and one other interviewee were ushered into the interview room. Here was yet another alarm bell – interviews should be done one candidate at a time. Why were two of us going in?
In the interview itself, I met the interviewer for the first time. To me, and I’m not too proud to admit this, he looked like a ‘city prick’, someone who’s far more interested in making money and fame than actually paying attention to the people he’s just trampled over. He seemed friendly, but in a ‘snake-oil salesman’ way. I didn’t trust him, but I reminded myself not to judge immediately, and gave him the chance to express himself.
He started with the other candidate, getting to know each other. After a while, the candidate revealed that this job wasn’t what she was expecting, and she wouldn’t be interested in a ‘sales and marketing role’ (which is what it turned out to be). The interviewer thanked her for her time, they shook hands, and she left the room. Once the door was shut, it was just me, and the city prick.
The interesting thing was, I shared all of the concerns that the other candidate had expressed. This was not the role for me, I knew this now. I decided to tell the interviewer straight away so no more time would be wasted.
Here’s what was said, to the best of my memory:
Interviewer: So Mr. Mills, it says here that you’ve got experience in the retail field?
Me: Yeah, about 4 years worth. Listen, I was listening to the other candidate just now, and I think the same applies to me I’m afraid.
Interviewer: What do you mean?
Me: I don’t think this job applies to me. I was after a Customer Services role, like her, and this isn’t it. I think we’re in the same boat here.
Interviewer: I don’t understand what has she got to do with this?
Me: She hasn’t got anything to do with it, it’s just that we were both expecting something different. We were both told that this was a Customer Services and Admin role, and it’s not. I don’t think it’s right for me.
Interviewer: Hold on, did you two know each other beforehand?
Me: No, we…
Interviewer: Is this a set-up or something?
Me: No, God no! It’s just funny that we both had similar expectations and we’ve both realised this isn’t for us.
Interviewer: I don’t see your point here.
Me: All I’m saying is that I was after a role based in an office, doing different work than what’s offered here. I don’t want to work in a Sales role like this.
Interviewer: Well let me tell you, this isn’t just a Sales role. We train people to become Sales Managers, so that they become successful, and they lead people, which is clearly not what you want. You just want to work in an office, that’s your choice.
Me: I think we both know this isn’t going to work out.
Interviewer: Well, I hope you have luck finding your office job or whatever. At this point, he walked over to the door and opened it for me. I walked up to him, shook his hand, said “Thanks for the opportunity”. I did this out of politeness, and because he wasn’t expecting it. The look on his face was priceless!
What Happened Here?
Despite lasting about five minutes, I learned two valuable lessons from that interview:
- Always trust your instincts
- First appearances may be right
My instincts told me not to go, and numerous alarm bells rang in my head throughout the morning. Yet I carried on with the interview, and nearly got into a full-blown argument. That’s never happened before, and I hope it never happens again in an interview, otherwise my career prospects will start to look a little bleak.
I also learned that your first impression of someone may indeed be right. Although the interviewer had an appearance that reeked of ‘city prick’, I tried my best not to judge him by that. Unfortunately, his arrogance removed any respect I had for him, and my first impressions turned out to be right. He also had first impressions about me, which weren’t true – I wasn’t in a secret partnership with the other candidate, and I wasn’t after an ‘office job’ for the rest of my life. Not that I’m saying I knew better than him, but if he had said that I wasn’t interested in the role straight-away, he would have been right.
All in all, I learned a few things about life from the worst interview I’ve ever had. So it was worth going in the end, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to write this post.
Now it’s your turn…
What experiences have you had with interviews?
Have they been as bad as this one?
Do you find your judgement of others turning out to be right?
Let us know!