Q: I recently made a decision during the interviewing process that obviously killed my chances of being hired. I arrived for my job interview 10 minutes early and checked in. I was told that the managers were in a meeting. I waited 15 minutes and reminded the receptionist that I was still there. She apologized and said they would be with me shortly. I waited another 15 minutes, then went to the receptionist, thanked her for her time and left. I have experienced many different managers in my career - those who are constantly running around with their hair on fire usually cannot manage themselves, never mind others. What do you think? - Greg
J.T.: I think you made a sound decision for yourself.
Dale: Sound decision? Sound? The sound I'm hearing is a whoopee cushion.
J.T.: Hold on. I could put 10 people through the same experience, and odds are each one would handle it differently. It comes down to how you interpret what is happening. Your interpretation, Greg, was that the manager was incompetent. Others might feel that the incident was not a deal-breaker. In my own case, I would have stayed just to see for myself what the manager was like.
Dale: The fact is, Greg might have missed a great opportunity simply because he was inflexible. Personally, I believe in being on time - "if you're not early, you're late." However, many people I admire have rubber watches. I've been in organizations where appointment times were mere approximations. So think of this, Greg: What if you had gone through the interview, and been very impressed by the people and the opportunity, and later discovered that the biggest negative was that meetings never start on time?
J.T.: Still, Greg did what was right for him. I'm not sure he would have been able to respect the manager.
Dale: Exactly ... and that's the problem. It's true that being late for an interview might mean that management disrespects employees or is inept. Still, you go through the interview, get the job offer, then make a decision. If Greg were to come along with me as I've interviewed great bosses, he would see that many of them are eccentric, and that sometimes their irreverence for bureaucracy makes them seem disorganized. Which was it in this case? Greg will never know.