Give someone your undivided attention. It’s not old-fashioned to stop multi-tasking for a minute. Manners are what makes us civilised; and they also appear to be in decline.
Just last week I was talking with an Operations Manager friend of mine, who was hiring. He told me he couldn’t count the number of people striding into his office for an interview sipping coffee.
“If they’re going for a cool and nonchalant look, they’re failing” he said, before adding that his favourite line is “Oh did you bring one for me too?” –a line that at least caused several candidates to look a little sheepish. What the heck are these people doing? This is an interview. It’s not a chat over coffee if the other person doesn’t have a coffee. It is not a café. It is an office.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg according to search consultants who regularly cite the mobile phone as being the extra unwanted person in the room at interviews. Buzzing, beeping and at times answered by the candidate, the mobile phone is known for getting more attention than anyone else present.
Just recently, an executive search consultant revealed that a candidate for a Chief Financial Officer role, slouched in the door of this global organisation unshaven and wearing a tracksuit. This vision of motivational and professional splendour was made all the more complete with the addition of “pillow hair”. The consultant gave a sterling piece of advice to this would-be senior-level candidate: “Go home. Think about the way you are presenting yourself and we’ll forget this interview ever happened. If you’re still interested in the role in a week, give me a call”.
What the heck was he thinking?
Jobseekers. Heed this advice. Manners count. A lot.
- Decision-makers don’t want to listen to your private telephone calls; they want your undivided attention at interview. You will survive without constant communication updates for an hour.
- Decision-makers don’t want to see you slurp coffee and throw your empty cup into their wastepaper basket. It’s distracting and it’s rude. You will not die of thirst without a drink for an hour.
- Decision-makers want to think that you considered a meeting as an exciting opportunity and that you dress up for important occasions. Not that you’ve remembered you had to take a detour on your morning jog.
Brush up your manners and look at yourself critically. Ask yourself. “What the heck have I been doing?”