Never chew gum…or anything else…
during an interview
Imagine yourself as an Engineering
Manager for a Fortune 100 corporation. You are about to walk
into your office, where you expect to find waiting, a good
prospect for the project engineering position you are trying
to fill. The Recruiting firm, which you
have been working with, has informed you of the superb
project management skills of this individual and of the high
level of professionalism that he will undoubtedly bring to
your Company. You are excited about the possibilities and
look forward to meeting this person, having promised your VP
that you would personally take care of the hiring for this
As you enter your office, the front two legs of the guest
chair in front of your desk hit the floor with a loud thump!
The individual in the chair glances back for a brief moment
then stands up to greet you. His bottom lip is bulging and
the piercing aroma of wintergreen fills the air. Before he
can shake your hand, he quickly places his Styrofoam “spit
cup” on the edge of your desk and in the rush of things,
knocks the half-full cup over. Its contents slowly
stream down the front of your desk. Guess what happens
next…..That’s right… Interview over! Although
this candidate looked well qualified “on paper”, as
evidenced by his resume, the hiring Manager, gave the
disrespectful, unprofessional candidate a failing grade on
“judgment”, which of course cost him the job!
Believe it or not, this actually happened! The moral
here is that when you are interviewing, you are not only
representing yourself, having invested your own time in
travel and preparation, but also the reputation of others.
In this case, it was the reputation of the Recruiter
who was trying to open a door of opportunity for a
Taking a less-than-professional approach to a face to
face interview is a direct insult to any hiring manager.
The manager has scheduled his own time and the time
of his staff for your interview. Don’t
take chances on foolish mistakes. There will be a time to
relax and “be yourself” after the interview. During
the interview stay focused on presenting yourself as the
professional that you aspire to be and the professional
others expect you to be. A skilled Recruiter
will help prepare you for success. All you have to do is listen
and remain coach-able. Follow
the seasoned advice of your Recruiting Professional.
Your goal should always be to
get the job offer. To ensure
success, your total behavior must reflect integrity.
Your personal judgment calls, good or bad,
will be evaluated during the interview. The
hiring authority will expect to see similar behavior when
you are actually on the job site. So
do your best. Consider this: Until you
actually get the job offer, you may not even realize the
true potential of the opportunity. So for
now, “chew on this little lesson” and leave your gum and
anything else at home.