Human behaviour is a funny thing and often in my seat of a recruiter you can watch pattern from a distance, some funny, some just down right frustrating. One such behaviour that has raised its ugly head of late is the overconfidence monster. On no less than 3 occasions in the past couple of weeks, seemingly strong Candidate’s have blown their chances simply because their ego’s are out of whack or they have forgotten who is interviewing who. Maybe it is just ignoring what decent human behaviour & respect looks like?
The worst (or best) example was for a GM level position I was recruiting for. I had presented a strong short list, three very good Candidates. One was a stand out. This particular Candidate worked for one of my client’s biggest competitors in the exact position we were recruiting. Understandably, the client was eager to meet the said Superstar. One would think a no brainer.
The Candidate arrived early and was shown the board room to wait. A good start. Unfortunately, that’s where it finished. My client entered the room and was greeted by the said Superstar sitting at the head of the table. Cheeky I know, but not a hanging offense. Superstar already has his jacket off, thrown over the back of the chair and is actually facing away from the door leaning back on the chair, like an insolent school kid. How’s that for first impressions? Realising his mistake, Superstar apparently turned slower than the Titanic and genuinely appears annoyed that he had to stand to greet my client. The old Shakespearean saying is already ringing loudly in my clients ears…‘The game is over – all is lost‘, before a word is spoken! Through courtesy and because of the Candidates perceived pedigree my client persists.
Alas the rest of the interview follows the same path. Superstar sits through most of the interview with 1 arm over the back of the chair legs spread whilst shit canning the company and their reputation.
The funniest thing is that after the interview, the Superstar feels as though he has nailed the interview, and is astounded when he is not invited back for a second round.
Fortunately for me, my client who is a good guy, (BTW was annoyed at having his time wasted) was recounting the story with a genuine belly laugh at the absurdity of the interview; how a seemingly well educated, respected and seasoned executive behaved.
The positive out of the situation is that a less experienced Candidate with an amazing attitude got the nod and now has an opportunity to work with an upcoming business that he will flourish in.
Is it just me or is this behaviour common in the work place or at an interview? I love for you to share how you have encountered someone’s aspirations or egos that were out of balance with reality.