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Trick test turns into a failed job interview. Job seeker is rejected before it even starts

failed job interview

A job seeker failed the interview before it even started. Learn from a cautionary tale.

When you’re job seeking, you should always keep in mind that the job interview starts long before the job interview actually starts. What do I mean? A recent Reddit post sums it up for better than most people could.

It goes like this:

“Today, a candidate blew his interview in the first 5 minutes after he entered the building. He was dismissive to the receptionist. She greeted him and he barely made eye contact. She tried to engage him in conversation. Again, no eye contact, no interest in speaking with her. What the candidate did not realize was that the ‘receptionist’ was actually the hiring manager.

“She called him back to the conference room and explained how every single person on our team is valuable and worthy of respect. Due to his interaction with the ‘receptionist,’ the hiring manager did not feel he was a good fit. Thank you for your time but the interview is over.

“Be nice to everyone in the building.”

It’s not clear if the candidate was set up deliberately to be tested or if the manager just happened to be at the front desk and didn’t get around the identifying herself. Either way, the result is the same; the candidate showed his true colours early on and they were not flattering. He, therefore, did not get the job.

Lest you think, as I did, that maybe the candidate was just nervous and unable to focus on small talk, the Reddit poster edited the post to add:

“it wasn’t just lack of eye contact. He was openly rude and treated her like she was beneath him. When he thought he was talking to the decision maker, personality totally changed. Suddenly he was friendly, open, relaxed. So I don’t think this was a case of social anxiety.

“The position is a client facing position where being warm, approachable, outgoing is critical.”

Though people should not need to be told that they are always better off being nice and friendly, this is a good cautionary tale. Be respectful and kind to everyone. You never know who knows someone. Even if the receptionist wasn’t the hiring manager, she works there. Do you not think she might relay the information if she has a negative experience with a job candidate?

This isn’t the first story of this nature we’ve heard. Others demonstrate that it’s not just the receptionist you have to worry about. In fact, you should probably consider your whole life a job interview and be on your best behaviour whenever you’re in public. One of these stories involved a man who was on public transit when another passenger rudely pushed past him and swore at him (I can’t remember the source anymore). When he arrived at work to interview job candidates, the swearing subway rider turned out to be the first candidate. Obviously the guy did not get the job.

What’s the takeaway here? It’s not just “don’t be rude when you’re going to a job interview.” It’s “don’t be rude.” Be nice to wait staff. You never know who’s at the next table – or whether that server owns a business. Be nice to transit drivers, fellow passengers, salespeople, receptionists, customer support people, and random strangers. Just be nice, not just because a hiring manager might be watching, but because it’s the right thing to do. Not missing out on the job opportunity is just a bonus.

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