One of the worst mistakes a candidate could make is fostering the impression that the hiring official is the only person that matters when interviewing for a job.
There are few things in life as stressful and nerve-wracking as a job interview. Something about having to prove one's suitability for a job makes one go just a tiny bit crazy and how this crazy manifests itself often ends up deciding whether they land the position or not. While some turn into a bumbling bundle of nerves, the ones who think a bit too highly of themselves believe they can simply charm their way into the job by presenting their ultra-polite, extra-delightful personas to the hiring official. No matter which category they belong to, one of the worst mistakes a candidate could make is fostering the impression that the hiring official is the only person that matters.
A man recently learned this lesson the hard way when he blew his interview within five minutes of entering the building. Redditor sawta2112 took to the Life Pro Tips community earlier this week to explain how and why the candidate was dismissed even before he got into a room with the hiring manager. "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," they wrote.
"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," the Redditor continued. "Be nice to everyone in the building." sawta2112 clarified that it wasn't just a lack of eye contact that cost the candidate the job.
"He was openly rude and treated her like she was beneath him. When he thought he was talking to the decision-maker, [his] personality totally changed. Suddenly he was friendly, open, relaxed. So I don't think this was a case of social anxiety," they explained. "The position is a client-facing position where being warm, approachable, outgoing is critical." The post received a resounding "Amen" from other Reddit users who shared their own experiences with hiring and some simple yet crucial points to keep in mind when approaching an interview.
"I'll add as someone who's been on every step of the hiring ladder, even if the receptionist wasn't the hiring manager, that receptionist will still get her two cents in at the water cooler while decisions are being made. In a few fields I've worked in, it wasn't just the people in the conference room that were consulted before making an offer. Be on point at all times, every employee is a potential teammate and they're all assessing you," revealed Reddit user EchoFoxAlpha. Redditor CitizenHuman added their two cents to this point, writing: "Took a business seminar about sales, and the speaker said something like 'a receptionist is the gatekeeper to the decision-makers.' Outside of just being polite to people, receptionists can hold a lot of sway in a company."
Another Reddit user, ohiolifesucks, revealed how being polite to the receptionist had played a crucial role in them being hired. "I got hired for a job a year or so ago and my manager ended up telling me that a big thing I did well was to be nice to the receptionist I greeted. The receptionist told the manager that I was just so friendly to her. My introverted ass rode that high for months," they wrote. That's it, folks. That's the only takeaway here: Be nice to everyone.