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cat hair

Covered in cat hair and a lipstick-smeared resume…think that’ll get you an interview, even AFTER you’ve passed the first round of screening?

Here’s the scenario:

Customer Service Interview

About 10 years ago, when I was fairly new to recruiting, I interviewed a woman for a customer service position. This was before social media, so all I had was her resume that probably came in through a WashingtonPost ad. This candidate appeared to have good skills and a background that matched the basic qualifications we were looking for. I gave her a call and walked through the role…got an idea of what she was all about- typical phone screening call. The phone interview went well and I scheduled an on-site interview with myself and the hiring manager.

Fast forward a week and I walk downstairs to meet my candidate. I shake her hand and quickly notice that she’s covered in cat hair…blanketed in white. (sure, it’s winter and she’s wearing fleece and animal hair is a huge magnet for fleece!) We walk upstairs to my office and I ask her for her resume. She pulls it out of her jammed purse and hands it to me, wrinkled and smeared with lipstick. I look at it, grimace, and quickly walk to the printer to make a copy, hoping to have something presentable for the hiring manager.

As we begin talking, my mind is racing with what to do next. I grab the Scotch tape on my desk, and push it towards her….I urge her to use it to “clean herself up” before meeting the hiring manager. She de-hairs herself (yeah, I made up that word…) and I realize she’s not making much sense and doesn’t seem to answer questions well…not to mention, doesn’t present well.

The End….Not Happily Ever After….

I wrap up the interview, trying to be as polite as possible and send her home….completely skipping the hiring manager. I realized that even though she passed the first screening and made it to the second step, it wasn’t necessary to continue through the interview process. The candidate did not present in a professional way and was not able to demonstrate her ability to succesfully meet the job qualifications.

If you’re interviewing, come prepared and present yourself in the best, professional way. Many candidates think that if they can just get “in the door” they’re almost guaranteed a position- especially if you’re applying/interviewing for a retail/customer service position. This is not true. Every step of the process is just as important as the last.

Prepare for the interview…even if that means wrapping your interview outfit in a sealed bag…and out of reach of your precious kitty.

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