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Susan M. Heathfield

Little Things Mean a Lot

By May 9, 2014

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It's the little tips and clues during job interviews that should shape your decision about the candidates you hire. The big misses are easy to spot.

Who's going to hire a product developer who has not researched the products you offer on your website - but is a perfect fit for your development needs, he says? How about that applicant who asks the name of the job and the company while filling out your job application? Or, the candidate who arrives late and rumpled for her interview? These are your easy decisions.

Have you ever made up your mind about a candidate based on the body language he exhibited in your lobby? That slouchy position, his instinctive protection of the document he is writing (with no one watching or near), and his discomfort interacting with the receptionist, tell you a lot about how he interacts with the work environment.

How about that clammy, wet, limp handshake? Or, how do you react to the candidate with dirt under her fingernails when she folds her hands across your desk. I have given too little credence to these nonverbal clues in the past. And they come back to bite me. For example, I hired the mom with the dirty fingernails; she told me she had just had a baby a week earlier and I forgave what was an obvious, normal heads up for me.

The end of the story? I passed on the low social skilled, furtive guy in the lobby. But, I hired the ten day mom. She was later fired for her inability to give attention to details that were critically important to the customer. She also could not keep numbers straight in a business development job. Despite her marvelous references, I should have paid more attention to the details. I noticed the fingernails and the somewhat unprofessional dress, but her presence, her references, and the fact that she had just given birth, clouded my judgment. No more.

The small details and the nonverbal, tiny details play a most significant role in hiring for me. I have been sorry just about every time I have failed to believe what I see. How about you?

Image Copyright Phil Date

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