To say the job interview did not go well would be an understatement. This week Ryan Dickson arrived for his interview at Trans Iowa, a taxi and shuttle company, with the hope of landing a job. Instead, he landed in jail.
While trying to park, Dickson backed into another car. He then pulled forward, crashing into the car in front of him. From there he staggered into the building for his interview. An employee on her smoke break saw it all and called the cops.
Dickson blew a .273 on his breath test, three times the legal limit, according to the police report. At first he said he hadn’t been drinking. But later he fessed up. He told police he had been drinking until 2 o’clock that morning, when he went to the hospital because of his alcohol intake. After being released at 8 a.m., he drank a fifth of vodka and then headed to the interview, he reported. Presumably he did not get the job.
While this case is an extreme example, it’s a good reminder than you can learn a lot about a job candidate beyond what he or she says during the interview with the hiring manager. More and more, companies are making a point to solicit feedback from every employee who meets a potential new hire, including the receptionist and administrative support staff. You can learn a lot about a job seeker based on how he or she treats the receptionist. If the candidate is rude, condescending, or arrogant, it may indicate how he or she would treat co-workers and direct reports. So why not use this information and try to determine up front if the person will get along well with others and be a good fit, rather than wait and find out after the person is already on board?
According to a Wall Street Journal article, employers are placing greater emphasis of finding candidates who fit with company culture. And receptionists and admins can be a vital part to this screening, because they are more likely to see candidates’ true personalities, when they are not focused on being on their best behavior.
A Kansas doctor who conducted independent medical exams on workers’ compensation claimants was well-known for his practice of watching them walk through the parking lot from his office window. If, for example, the claimant was able to walk across the parking lot without difficulty, but displayed a profound limp during the exam, the doctor would make a note of it in his chart as an indication that the claimant was exaggerating the effect of a knee injury. The point here, obviously, is that job seekers, like medical patients, show you what they want you to see. So, to better avoid hiring mistakes, try to see a bigger picture. As Yogi Berra put it, “You can observe a lot by just watching.”