Archive for Monday, August 4, 2008

Assume the best during interviews

Don’t judge potential coworkers until you get the job

August 4, 2008

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Dear J.T. & Dale: I recently went on an interview at a large corporation. When I went to the restroom to freshen up, a couple of ladies were in there, and I noticed that one left without washing her hands. It was evident from passing the stall that she had (done serious business in there).

To my surprise and horror, she turned out to be my interviewer. She put out her hand to shake, but instead of shaking, I put my hands behind my back and nodded hello. She looked insulted. What should I have done? By the way, I didn't get the job. - Janice

Dale: And here I thought our topics had descended as far as they could go when we were discussing the armpit-sweat stains that someone referred to as "baloneys."

J.T.: Hmmm ... well, Janice, with the benefit of hindsight, I'm sure you could come up with some excuse for not shaking hands, such as, "I'm fending off a cold right now and wouldn't want you to get sick, too." Regardless, don't you think it would be hard to work with the woman if you got the job? It would be one of those things that would always be in your mind.

Dale: When it comes to a job interview, what your mind should be is open. Get the job and then decide. Force yourself to assume the best - in this case, perhaps the woman was simply in there adjusting her clothing, or giving herself an insulin injection or whatever.

Assume the best, get the job; then, before you accept, ask to meet some future co-workers. That will give you a chance to spend some time at the workplace to see if it's an environment where your career can thrive, or if it's a place where the only things growing are microorganisms.

Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and founder of the consulting firm jtodonnell.com. Dale Dauten's latest book is "(Great) Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire and De-Hire Their Way to Success" (John Wiley & Sons).

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