Just Show Up!

I’ve written about bad candidate behavior for years and have a very long list of things candidates should avoid when seeking higher ground/greener pastures or as they’re interviewing for a new role, but the most basic rule is to practice good interview etiquette. It’s not rocket science to most, but I understand that some may find it fairly challenging.

Bad ‘interview manners’, however, can also apply to the person on the other side of the table. In this lingering (and I do emphasize lingering, and also weak, and sputtering, and challenging) current economic climate, many employers have taken a different approach when it comes to interview etiquette. Somehow, good manners get left behind. Not good – especially when interviewing a passive candidate, who – until we called – wasn’t even looking for another job. That’s right. It’s the passive candidates who most companies fight (really) hard to get. The other option is simply to post a job on a job-board and wait for the non-passives (or unemployed) to apply. Don’t worry they will – and in droves!

As a hiring manager, missing or arriving late for a phone screen or interview with a prospective candidate is downright rude. There’s no glamorous way to put it. Unless there was an Act of God that kept you from showing up, it’s either wrong, forgetful, rude, arrogant, narcissistic dumb or in other words: inextricably inexcusable. And it is really hard to overcome. Don’t worry if that potentially talented, passive, needle-moving star never re-engages or wants to talk with you again. It’s natural for a candidate to be turned off when the hiring manager chooses to display so much disrespect and sends a message loud and clear across the bow. Message heard. Got it.

Just because there is a sea of available candidates in this weak employment market we are still experiencing does not give anyone the right to behave unprofessionally. Nope. It should also be noted that in that while you’re searching through the multitudes of talent out there, you should be striving to attract the ones who stand out as being able to really make a difference in your organization. Finding that gold-star future employee is always the goal when we conduct a search, but it won’t matter if you find them, but elect to be rude by taking a pass on a previously scheduled interview.

Before I finish, let me leave you with this: it’s a small HCIT world we live in, and once the word gets out (and it will) about you (and your organization), the previously unblemished brand equity you once had will quickly take a hit that you may find is very hard to overcome.

To quote Woody Allen, “80 percent of success is just showing up.”