Two separate situations came up this week for two of our candidates… I don’t really know how to keep this kind of thing from happening. Just being aware of it, however, might help.
The first situation came about when one of our candidates had a third interview. The hiring authority stated that they really liked the candidate, but he really didn’t ask very many inquisitive questions to show that he had done a lot of research about the company and service they provide. Upon asking the candidate about this… and the candidate is a very senior person with more than 20 years of experience…he said, “You know, the VP had been traveling all week and he barely made it into his office in time for the interview. He was frazzled, distracted, and obviously beat…I don’t think he was paying a bit of attention to what I was saying.”
A second candidate had a phone interview with the president of one of our client companies. The president was in an airport waiting to board a plane. Oh brother! The president gave feedback that the candidate seemed to be distracted and unfocused. Our candidate is very accomplished, successful and tremendously focused. It was obvious that the president was “projecting.”
It’s really hard to deal with these kinds of situations. Fortunately, the VP in the first situation agreed to interview the candidate again in a more calm, less hectic environment. The candidate is now in the final stages of the process and expecting an offer.
In the second situation, we were experienced and wise enough to encourage the President and the candidate to speak again and they’re doing that next week. Hopefully, it will go better.
Any good candidate has to get interviews when they can and none of us can dictate or predict the mood of the situation. The VP in the first situation admitted he was in no real mood to interview the candidate when he did and wasn’t surprised when he was reminded by our candidate what went on. No leader would admit to interview a finalist for a fairly important position on the phone while waiting to board a plane… but it happens.
The lesson is that if you wind up interviewing with an interviewing or hiring authority in rather difficult circumstances, be ready to be misunderstood or not heard at all. Be ready to suggest another meeting. Don’t hesitate to express the thought that the mood of the time just wasn’t right, even if you have to say that it wasn’t right for you.