Something happened today that left me a little stumped to be honest. It takes a lot and actually much more happened than just being perplexed. It’s almost comical now and yet I don’t usually take it lightly because when you hire and fire people, people’s lives are about to be affected. Today was mind boggling and perhaps I thought I had seen it all throughout my years in retail. Today proved that it wasn’t so. Never say never comes to mind and it’s still a “shaking my head” kind of moment.
We are in the middle of our busiest season already and I’m up to my ears emerged in hiring. I don’t usually ask you the typical interview questions that you can google and then ramble off to me like a robot, I want to get to know YOU. Who are you, what makes you tick, what’s your pet peeve and stuff like that. Sixty some people I’m trying to find, staking out and pursuing talent that could be a great addition to the team, sixty different personalities to cater too, to top out at a total headcount of 95 people when everything is said and done.
A group interview is scheduled today with three potential new employees, carefully selected by my assistant and me. (Despite the initial negative phone screening, my assistant gives in and invites one candidate against her gut feeling of him not being a good fit). The human element wins and we just want to give him a chance. And by all means I’m usually all for it and be the first one to extend such a chance, but I also know that your initial gut feeling is not to be ignored and proves right all too often. The first applicant (the one) arrives, shirt and tie he is professional in appearance and right away I think he means business and is dressed to impress. After all first impressions are everything and it definitely beats the person rolling in in flip flops, a bandana and a tank top a few weeks ago.
I reach out for a handshake and find myself holding this lifeless peace of meat like hand. I want to squeeze it really hard, shake it vigorously while talking with a raised voice and telling him how nice it is to meat….oh meet I mean. Two more people show up and off we go to start the group interview. He slouches down in the chair (might as well be comfortable) as I start with the introductions. It doesn’t take but a moment and he has left the interview in a mental sense and the empty shell of his body remains. Staring around he room, he has no interest in paying attention, nor does he care about what any of us have to say. I decide to direct a question towards him by addressing him with his name (Sonny). After the second time Sonny finally hears his name, turns, looks at me and says “What was the question”? I patiently repeat it, now for the third time that is. It’s a simple question and I just want to know what he does for fun. Out comes this long winded answer that goes on for five minutes (at least) and you might think that Sonny must have tons of fun. I couldn’t tell you, as his response has nothing to do with the question I asked. And frankly he is rambling on about various things of which I’m now getting lost in because I don’t know what the connection seems to be. I almost entirely forget what the heck I asked him the begin with. If I was a mindreader, I swear I can feel the brain of the other two applicants snickering and wondering from which rock this guy crawled out from.
He tells me that he applied here three times already and I asked him what happened. He has no clue and “they” just never called him back. “Surprise” is the word coming to mind and I can’t help but wonder why. Mmmmmh. He continues to stare around the room as other people talk and every once in awhile he snaps back to the current time only to interrupt everybody. He decides to step up his game and he now is becoming real sly, borderline arrogant as he nods at me and says “So, hey 😉😉😉😉😉 where are you from in Germany” “Do you like it here” “Do you make a lot of money” “How long have you been here” “How long are you working today”???? It starts to feel a bit as if “Gods gift to women” is starting to hit on me. To his dismay it was more annoying than flattering, nor was it the right place or time, but I got to give the small time gangster some props. He is going for it and has ambition, even if it wasn’t the smartest move. Come on you got to give to him. (Not really). I still let him do his thing and despite I don’t agree with his behavior, I remain respectful and it is not up to me to judge him. Perhaps Sonny thought his cockiness would land the job, but sadly you were mistaken Sonny. I was actually looking for somebody that could have fun at work instead of a pick up artist. You might have missed the question and perhaps you want to remove this skill of disrespect from your resume.
I meet with him one on one after the interview (I’m not going to embarrass him in front of the group….or alone) and he tells me again that it took him three times already applying here for work. He seems sure of himself, could it be that he thinks that he got the job???? Really….perhaps he was so absent during the interview that he never noticed that he wasn’t really scoring any points.
Again he says nobody got back to him from his previous attempts as he sits in front of me, slumped in his chair sizing me up. By now I almost want to laugh, is he even for real? I can’t anymore and he requires a different kind of help all together. He has brought me to the point of tough love and brutal honesty, the point the truth has to be unleashed in the most direct and purest form. I start by telling him that I won’t leave him hanging in mystery. I am telling him right now that we will not proceed with employment and that I don’t think this could work out. He is surprised and requires an explanation.
“You don’t really want to be here and you don’t care. You want to collect a paycheck, I need somebody that fits the team and wants to have fun. You are not paying attention to anything others have to say. Questions have to be repeated and then you still don’t answer them and tip toe around the subject. You are disrespectful, you interrupt everybody and on top of it your behavior and comments are inappropriate”.
“That’s your opinion” he says to me and he still does not get the point. I much rather would have hired him and it takes a lot to push me into the corner. Yet sometimes somebody just has to do the dirty and today it was me.
“You are right, (I say) it is my opinion, but I also know how busy it will get here and if you can’t even give somebody the respect during the interview process, (where you truly should be on your best behavior if you want the job) you will not have a good time here and you will get lost in the shuffle. I don’t want that for you Sonny so in a way I’m really doing you a favor by not hiring you. I am not here to put you down, but I imagine that you will continue your job hunt and have interviews in the near future, right? He confirms and my last words of advice are that he can take it or leave it of what I have to say, but if he takes anything away from today, then please act somewhat interested when the person that can extend a job offer is speaking to you. Geeez…..sadly Sonny managed to be one of the few I had to say NO to. Best of luck next time.