First Impressions Can Impact Success in Business and at Work

First dates and first interviews are not identical – and as I have clarified in earlier posts, please don’t date candidates you interview.  (Hint:  it’s sexual harassment.)

However, there is an unmistakable commonality between first dates and first interviews: everyone is on their best behavior in both situations.  That being said:

  • Two guys – one a doctor, the other a lawyer – a few decades ago, asked me out on a first date, consecutively. The former invited me to dinner; the latter invited me to a movie. When it came time to pay, neither one had their wallet, and I ended up paying. Fool me once:  shame on you.  Fool me twice:  I swore off dating for a while.  Rude behavior on the first date doesn’t augur well for future chivalry, take my word for it.
  • Around the same time-frame, I interviewed for a job with a professional association on a Friday afternoon with their Executive Director.  My phone rang the next morning at 7 AM, waking me up.  It was the Executive Director.  “I’m torn between hiring you and promoting my intern,” she lamented.  I rubbed my eyes, and made the decision for her. “Definitely promote your intern,” I advised.  “Thank you for considering me as a candidate.”  Rude behavior in an interview cuts both ways.  What time would she call me on a Saturday once I was her employee?   5 AM?
  • Unfortunately, this has happened a few times in my career:  during the background check process, after an offer is tendered, I’ve discovered that the candidate had not completed their college degree, yet they said they had a college degree during the application process.  Misrepresenting information does not augur well for ongoing employment – leaving no choice but to rescind the offer.
  • And while unforeseen obstacles can occur, candidates arriving late to interviews will be late to work once hired, more often than not.  Chronically late.

Because on first interviews and first dates, everyone is on their best behavior.  So the behavior you observe:  good, bad or indifferent – is the best that the candidate or the interviewer will offer.  It’s all downhill from that first encounter.  And if the best behavior is bad behavior, why accept it or rationalize it?  Move on.  There’s always a better fit out there.  Have faith.

How will you pragmatically assess your first impressions to support the success of all involved this week, in business and at work?


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