When I hear managers discuss their low talent employees who don’t perform the first thing that comes to my mind is why haven’t they been fired? The second thing I think is maybe the expectations are not properly being set.

Expectation setting is key in any role. Whether you manage a Fortune 500 Company or a Yogurt store, setting and managing expectations is one of the most important aspects of people management. Without expectations people will run wild. With expectations you set guidelines that allow people to operate within to be successful.

Consider these simple rules for expectation setting:


If you are consistent in your expectations with all your employees then everyone on staff will begin to get in line. You must be consistent not only with the expectations that you set but you also must show consistency with the disciplinary actions that follow breaking or not achieving those expectations. The bar you set for Sue must be the same for her peer Jim. Without consistent expectations the staff will begin to think they have their own set of rules and that what applies to their peer does not apply to them. In an inconsistent world of expectations the manager then is forced to enforce the expectations differently.

Keep in mind that every employee is different and there is no model for the universal staff. However he expectation of success, not the individual goals, can be consistent. Think about each sales person, they may have different goals, but your expectation is that they will each make their goals tailored for them.

If you allow Sue to achieve her goal at 80% then you must allow Jim to skate by at the same rate. The expectation is consistent.


Expectations have to be realistic and achievable. If your expectation is the staff works 40 hours per week then great. If your expectation is they all work 80 hours then you are setting an unachievable and unrealistic expectation. You just find the balance between achievable and realistic with your staff.

Unrealistic expectations set the bar at a level that your staff will automatically not strive for because it’s unreachable. If we are asked to run a mile in less than 5 minutes we won’t even attempt it, if it’s less than 12 minutes we know we can probably achieve that goal and we will make an attempt.

In closing, your level of expectations that you set will determine the respect level your staff has for you. If you are fair, realistic and consistent then your staff will in return work at a pace that will achieve your goals. Without these rules, you can consider your companies goals unrealistic and therefore unattainable by the people you need to get you there.

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Your Speaking Skills May Be Holding You Back

While I sit here and listen to a group of extremely intelligent men speak on economic growth, I can’t help but be bored to death with their lack of any ability to hold my attention. The first speaker threw in some jokes to keep our attention but his delivery and tone just wasn’t enough to captivate us. The second speaker steamrolled through each slide as if he was on a time limit before a bomb dropped. I literally have no clue what he said or what his speech was about. And currently the guy at the podium has cleared his throat in the mic fifteen or so times leaving everyone to roll their eyes. Not to mention he has asked for technology assistance twice as he said out loud, “I’m not sure what I’m doing with this (computer).”

Needless to say, it leads to the thought of how important your public speaking skills are, and it’s possible they may be holding you back.

It’s perfectly normal to feel nerves when walking up to the podium to address a large group of people and it’s normal to feel nervous in front of a small group of peers in your office. Both are situations in which you have to captivate the audience and speak words that will engage, motivate and excite the audience. The reason that comedians have someone else go out and warm up the crowd before they start is because they want all the blank stares and awkward notions to exit the room before they walk out and address the crowd.

You don’t always have the ability to rely on someone to warm up your crowd, so improving your speaking skills on your own should become a priority.

It’s possible that your inability to captivate or hold an audience is holding you back from promotion within the company. It was announced yesterday that Marisa Mayer fired her newly hired “Ad-Guru” and it is not a coincidence that today a video surfaced of his ill-fated presentation several months ago which included his poor content and inability to captivate the crowd. This was a man that was given a $60 million compensation package and essentially lost his job after 15 months due to a combination of clearly his poor production but also due to the fact that he couldn’t captivate a crowd.

What gets lost in the shuffle is we are asked to captivate people every minute of the day. You don’t have to stand in front of a room of five hundred people to prove you have great public speaking skills. Your skills can be tested in a meeting of six or in the hallway with a peer. Stop for a second and think of the person in your office with the weakest public speaking skills. Chances are this is the same person who struggled to look you in the eye and stutters his or her way through a brief conversation.

I promise you that person will not be promoted the next time a promotion opportunity exists.

Captivating an audience is bigger than just being able to write and produce good content. You need to focus on your appearance first. The fourth speaker that just took the stage is the best dressed and his voice is carrying better than anyone, and we are actually listening to this gentleman. He was animated and stepped back from the podium and gave us a reason to not only listen but to watch as well.

Of course, your content needs to give people a reason to watch and listen. Consider using pictures that captivate instead of boring charts and figures. Use text that is different than the norm and animations that give people a reason to look for the next slide. Your content will be half of the reason that people pay attention and if it bores you to put together, it will bore your audience to watch.

Your public speaking skills could be holding you back from success and more importantly a promotion within your company. Consider finding a conference or seminar that you can attend to grow your skills and comfort level. Without a strong communication and speaking ability, your promotion will be given to your peer, who can address a crowd, and a small group of people.

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Are you Reacting or Creating?

With the rush of a 60 hour work week and the constant connection of our phones it is easy to become a pinball in the game of work.  When we turn the lights off at the end of the day it can feel as though we’ve accomplished nothing.  We often feel like firefighters running around the office to spray every fire that comes up and never take the time to stop and create opportunities for ourselves or our staff.

You have to stop and ask yourself what your contributions have made to the office over the past several months? Are you spending time moving from project to project without taking the time to create opportunities for the company?  Have you recently created a new sales opportunity for your staff or a way to save money for the company?

Think about your day and how much reaction time you spend vs. creation time.  If you’ve become the office pinball then dedicate time each week to brainstorming new ideas to produce revenue.  Otherwise you can be replaced by another pinball in the office the next day.

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What Does Your Desk Say About You?

Your attitude, your clothing, your smile or a lack thereof, the time you roll into the office.  All of these are pieces of what make up the person that you are perceived to be at the office.  While none of them can define who you truly are, they are elements that people pull from when describing you.  How many times have you heard someone say, “John’s a great guy but he is a sloppy dresser!”  While the perception may be that John is great, someone will always remember his sloppiness in his apparel when thinking about his image.

The same goes for the way you keep your desk organized.  It is typically true that the desk that someone keeps defines the way they handle themselves in or out of the office.  Rarely do you find that someone who keeps a super messy desk is a detail oriented individual.  It’s often quite the opposite.  If you can barely see the top of your desk then you may have people around the office talking about you!

Keeping a clean desk doesn’t always mean you are a superstar in your job, but it does give off the perception that you are a buttoned up employee or for lack of a better term, it might make it easier to think that you have your shit together.  Imagine a candidate for a job walking into your office and you are trying to recruit them.  If your office smells like your lunch, the decorations are outdated, and your desk is full of scattered papers, what kind of an impression will that give to this future employee?

I’ll never forget the way I felt after interviewing at a particular company years ago.  The lobby was disgusting, the drapes looked like they hadn’t been dry cleaned in decades, it was dark, the sales floor was gross, the carpet needed to be replaced, and the office and desk of my future boss was a mess.  It gave me such the wrong impression of the place as a company I would be proud to call my job.  Do you think you’ve ever lost a candidate because they thought your desk was a mess and it was a reflection of you? It may sound like the extreme but chances are somewhere along the line someone has been turned off by your space.

A messy desk says a lot about you.  A messy office says even more.  If you don’t have the ability to clean or tidy up your work space then maybe you don’t have the ability to steward the biggest project of the year.  It has zero to do with reality and everything to do with perception, and last time I checked, perception is reality!

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The Fifty Percent Rule

If you’ve ever caught yourself saying that you have too many meetings then it’s time to introduce the fifty percent rule.  Let me explain.

I’m a firm believer that nobody should have more than fifty percent of their week booked with back to back meetings.  If you were to take a standard forty hour work week, assuming you actually work only forty hours, and calculate the amount of hours you spend in meetings, it shouldn’t exceed twenty hours.  If so, then you have too many meetings.

If you are spending more than twenty hours a week in meetings then here is what that looks like:

  • Half of your day is dedicated to sitting in a room with your peers or someone from another organization discussing a business plan or a project. How much fun does that sound?
  • This leaves you with less than four hours a day to answer email, follow up on a project status, return calls, or close the loop on a particular project you may be working on.  Your work week is now down to twenty hours but you are still expected to produce a minimum of forty hours worth of material.
  • You constantly push off other projects that need to be done because you are always trying to stay up on new projects that keep getting pushed onto your plate.
  • You will eventually be forced to say No to opportunities that may make sense for both you and your company because you’re too far behind on all the meetings and deadlines that need to be accomplished.
  • You run from one conference room to the next with no end in sight!

I realize that there are weeks where you may end up spending fifty percent of your work week in a meeting.  This is naturally going to happen pending your position and title.  I simply think it is a fail tactic though if you continually spend more than fifty percent of your time closed up in a conference room.

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Step Away From The Desk

I once had a boss who I could never find.  He was always out of his office, away from his desk and somewhere in the building.  I used to get so frustrated at the idea of not being able to locate him, but today I appreciate his management style more than ever.  His style was one that allowed him to be out among the staff as one of the people.  When I wanted to get in touch with him he always emailed me back and was fast to respond, but sitting at his desk was not something he enjoyed.

He told me that the best advice he ever received was to “manage by walking around.”  Today this sounds a little cliche, we’ve heard a lot of so-called management experts discuss this topic and stress the importance of being out of your office and on the office floor.  The truth if this style of management is probably one of the most effective for a number of reasons.

1. Everyone plays on the same playing field

In your office, you are the boss.  Out on the office floor, you are among peers.  Please don’t mistake the notion that you only have power in your office but there is an intimidation factor that plays into someone coming into your office, closing the door and sitting across from your desk.  This setting isn’t normal for the employee and they have officially entered into your domain.  It’s a home field advantage for the boss, and a road game for the employee.  Being out with your staff gives them the perception that you want to help.

2. You give off the vibe that you care

When you walk into an employee’s cubicle, you put off the notion that you want to be on the same page as them.  Chances are the question, “what’s going on” while asked in their cubicle will lead to a problem solving situation in which you can assist.  If you ask how the weekend was, and then parlay that into, “hey I need you to take care of something for us” then the task is going to be met with more gratitude than it would if it was discussed in your office in a formal setting.  Being on the floor shows you care because you have now stepped out of familiar territory to converse with employees.

3. You take a pulse on the organization

Consider your office a bomb shelter.  Now consider the office floor the place in the city where you are most likely to get shot.  Doesn’t feel so comfortable, right?  While this might be a strong and very false connection between the two,  the office floor is the place where you can take the pulse and learn what exactly is happening on a day to day basis.  It is the place where you can learn about the weekend activities that everyone took part in but it is also the place where you can learn about the failures that are taking place by other employees.  You will also learn the scale for office morale and exactly how happy your staff is with recent changes.

Leaving your office to walk the floor and spend time with your staff is an invaluable skill that believe it or not, several managers know nothing about.  If you make it a habit to walk the floor just once a day, I promise you will learn more about your staff in the first week than you’ve learned in the previous months.

In closing, I once had a manager who never left their office.  We always wondered what they were doing in there.  They were eventually let go.  Turn out, they weren’t doing anything.

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The 40 Hour Work Week Doesn’t Exist

As I sat on my fourteenth plane in three weeks I started to wonder what my week would look like if I truly only worked 40 hours.  I thought about my day last that started at 3:45am when my alarm went off to catch a 5:45am flight and head across the country.  I start to think about my time spent over the weekend for company events, one in which I volunteered happily for and another in which I went to support my staff.  None the less, it was a combined 13 hours of additional work for the company.  Client parties, client dinner, and engagements all on behalf of the company that runs deep into the evening.  If I cut my week off at 40 hours then there are weeks where I wouldn’t make it to Wednesday afternoon.

I want to preface this by stating I am absolutely not complaining.  I have a wonderful job, I work in a great environment surrounded by great people, I’m treated well and in turn I work these wild weeks all because of these listed reasons.  If I had a poor job that didn’t pay well then I would absolutely never think about spending this much time outside the walls of 8am to 5pm with people whom I disliked.  This is not the case.  I volunteer for such events over the weekend not only to show support for my staff but because I enjoy those who surround me.

I couldn’t imagine being one of the millions of people who hate their job but are required to spend this outside work time, this personal family time, at the office or engaged in company related activities.

The point of all this is that the 40 Hour Work Week Doesn’t Exist these days.  In a world where technology is supposed to improve our lives and make communication easier it has only allowed us to stay more connected to the office thus expanding our work week.  Travel time, meetings after 5pm, client dinners, etc. these are all events on behalf of the company that you are spending time at in addition to be connected to the office and your peers 24/7.

If you know anyone who works a standard 40 hour work week and makes over six figures then tell that person to hold on to their job for their dear life, those positions don’t exist.

In addition to this notion that the standard work week has passed us by, companies have to think differently about the way they view their employees.  Clocking in at 8am and departing at 5pm is an old way of thinking and if your organization expects you to be in your cubicle at a specific time each day then they are stuck in a previous decade.  Your company needs to understand the amount of hours you dedicate outside of the clock ticking between 8a and 5p.

I am happy to work these wild weeks, get on a plane when asked, and go the extra distance for my company.  However, I do it because they recognize the effort and work that I put back into them.  Challenge your company to recognize the effort you put forth if they don’t already, odds are if they haven’t by now, they never will.

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The Traditional Reference Process Is Broken

Once upon a time a manager, we’ll call her Katie, found the perfect candidate for her job opening, we’ll call her Sarah.  After a few weeks of spending time with Sarah, Katie was excited to make an offer and hire Sarah to start immediately.  Before the final paperwork was signed, Katie asked Sarah for a list of her top three references so she could confirm all the great things she was feeling about her as a superstar.  Katie picked up the phone and made contact with each of these references spending 2-3 minutes on the phone with each while they went on and on about how amazing Sarah was and how she should be hired immediately.  The references confirmed everything that Katie already thought and two weeks later, Sarah started in her new job.

Katie fired Sarah six months later.

Why you ask?  Because the reference process is broken.

The traditional reference process calls for an employer to ask a candidate, in this case Sarah, for her references.  What should happen is Sarah lists her last few managers and Katie then calls to learn the truth about Sarah.  What always happens is Sarah lists her closest work friends/managers that have employed her in the past and Katie calls to learn how amazing and flawless that Sarah really is.  It is impossible to learn the truth about Sarah through this process as these “references” have been tipped off ahead of time to help their friend secure this new position.

Recently I was asked to be a reference for a former employee.  I received an email with a list of questions to answer.  I gave glowing reviews of this former employee because she was great, and I would choose to hire her again if given the chance.  However, I started thinking about how flawed the reference process truly is.  If I found this former employee to be despicable and absolutely the worst employee I’ve ever had, then there is a 100% chance that she would never have listed me.  Rarely have I been asked to be a reference for a former employee that was marginal.  In fact, I’ve never been asked to be a reference for anyone that I’ve fired and I would be shocked if that ever occurred.

I’ve written before about the worst hire that I’ve ever made and it proved once again why this reference process is broken.  I called three of the listed references and they all gave glowing reviews.  They were short conversations that ended with everyone saying I absolutely had to hire this individual.  In no way do I blame these references, they were doing the job that they were asked to do, which wasn’t to answer my questions honestly but to be a good friend to the candidate.

If you are still using the traditional reference process when hiring then you are making a mistake.  Feel free to ask for the references but use other sources to call people that the candidate has worked with in the past.  You of course want to avoid tipping anyone off that they are interviewing with you if they are still employed but you can ask questions like, “I’m looking for a candidate to fill this role, should I contact Sarah or would you recommend her?”  Make the reference think that you are simply searching for candidates rather than actually interviewing this individual.  Use LinkedIn to find peers of the candidate or former managers who may have moved on to other companies.  These individuals will give you the true story of the candidate, not the lies that the friends are being asked to tell you.


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Three Ways To Anger Your Staff

While the list can be a mile long of ways you can anger your staff, here are a few things that you may already be doing or planning on doing that will drive your staff crazy.

1. Hire Incompetent People

If you have a talented staff then the last thing they want to see if you hire a few slackers.  Hiring is without a doubt one of the hardest jobs for any manager and hiring only the best feels nearly impossible sometimes.  If you hire people that bring down the talent level then you ultimately reduce office efficiency and send the wrong message to your staff about where your company is headed.

While there is no system in place for hiring the cream of the crop at all times, you can find ways to get office buy in before hiring someone.  Form a committee of people each time you go to hire.  Ask each of them to interview and report back accurate information on how they feel about the candidate.  Remind them that they will be working with this individual and if they can’t see it as being a fit, they need to be honest and forthcoming that the person is a NO HIRE.

Your office knows exactly how long a new employee will last.  They know it long before you do as their manager.  A good office can predict within months how long someone will be on the job and you should rely on them to assist in this process. Hiring worthless employees will only reduce office morale, make you look like an out of touch manager and anger your staff for the future.

2. Not Keeping Commitments

As a manager, you are tugged in a variety of directions each day.  You have meetings upon meetings, superiors to answer to, employees to assist, and a mountain of other work to tend to.  While your calendar may get booked up weeks in advance, it is easy to cancel a meeting with a few moments notice due to a higher priority coming into line.  It is also easy to look at the calendar the day in advance and think, “do I really need to be at this meeting?”

While it is easy to cancel a meeting, you have to consider the ramifications of telling your employee that was expecting your presence that you will not be making it.  I admit, I’m guilty of this, and some employees handle it much better than others.  The key is understanding when you can and can’t keep a commitment.  If you have told someone you would attend a meeting months out, and you know it’s an important one, then I suggest you keep that meeting.

A staff wants their manager to be accountable and cancelling on them is not an accurate accountability method.  You will begin to have your credibility questioned over time if you can’t hold simple meetings and or times that you have agreed to.

3. Screw With Their Pay

Whether your staff works on commission or they are straight salaried, anytime you effect someone’s paycheck you will have hell to pay. Often this is unavoidable though as a salesman may fall short of goals one month or the team was a few points away from achieving a bonus.  These are uncomfortable conversations that effect their lives much deeper than the 8 to 5 in which you see them each day.

If  you have to make adjustments with an employee’s paycheck then make sure you have honest and open conversations the minute these changes need to happen.  Often times you will find that they are mature and understanding as to why their pay is being effected but if they open their check on Friday before you have a chance to speak with them then it becomes a PR nightmare.


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My Most Painful Interviews

Nothing wastes a managers time quite like a bad interview.  In fact, all interviews are a waste of time in my opinion until the candidate proves they have value and worth.  Prior to the interview starting you typically have a feeling in your gut that tells you if the candidate will be a waste of time or if you will love them.  Few interviews start with the manager being really excited to spend thirty to sixty minutes with a stranger they know nothing about.  If any manager tells you they love interviews then they are lying, or psychotic.  The only time a manager loves an interview is if they already know they want the candidate but then it becomes recruitment as opposed to a formal or cold interview.

Recruitment is a different story and I’ve posted before about that process.  When you reach out to someone and recruit them to work for you it becomes a totally different mindset.  Recruitment is about singling out a candidate and proving all the great reasons they should work for your company.  It becomes a sales job as opposed to a Q&A.  Good candidates who are recruited don’t need to be interviewed, they need to be sold on the fact that you are the best person for them to work for and that the company is the best for their career.

While I’ve been fortunate to interview some amazing people and hire some great candidates over the years, I’ve also had some interviews that have stuck out in my mind as being odd, painful, and left me wondering who ever hired these people in the first place.  It typically confirms my theory that the country should have a 10% unemployment rate because 10% of the country is un-employable.  However, that is another topic for another day.

Here are a few of my most painful interviews:

The Over-Excited Candidate 

While I can appreciate someone’s excitement to go to work for a well known brand or company, gushing from the minute you walk in the door to the minute you leave is not a good idea.  Just like any good relationship that starts across a bar setting on a Friday night, you want to show signs that your interested but not that you are going to move in over the weekend.

From the second I met this candidate in the lobby to about four minutes in when I decided that I would absolutely never hire this individual they spent the whole time telling me how excited they were just to be in my building.  Their excitement level was cute at first but after they continued to gush about how much time they have spent following my brand and how much their family loves it, I found myself bored of smiling and being excited for her.  Being excited about your first trip to Disneyland is great, but even after eight hours in the park its time to put the excitement aside and face that three hour line for Splash Mountain head on.

The worst part about the over-excited candidate was the fact that most of the details she had researched about my company was wrong.  She pulled some random facts and figures off the internet that were false, she quoted something that was actually for my competitor and she continually called us by the wrong tagline and name.  While I can appreciate her desire to do some research ahead of time, I was completely turned off by the fact that none of it was true.

Needless to say the over-excited candidate was in and out of the building rather quickly and while I explained to her on the way out that we didn’t have a fit for her, her joy and excitement level wasn’t to be contained as she said she would continue to be a loyal follower of our business.  Thanks over-excited candidate, hopefully you found somewhere a little less exciting to interview next.

The Head Cold & The Bluetooth

If your not a fan of a stranger’s germs then you will understand my lack of interest in this next candidate.  While I can appreciate the fact that this candidate wanted to keep her interview time and not miss out on a potential job opportunity, I can’t appreciate that she hacked up a lung while sitting across the table and proceeded to tell me that the hand I just shook was full of that little green guy from the Mucinex commercial.  In fact she was so sick that she actually got a bottle of Purell out to lather up before shaking my hand again on the way out the door.  If she had enough common sense to understand that I wouldn’t want to shake her hand due to sickness then I would have rather she call me ahead of time and tell me she was too sick to interview and we could reschedule.

In addition to the hacking of the lungs, about twenty five minutes into the interview she reached up to her right ear and finally pulled off the light blinking Bluetooth that she had proceeded to wear the entire interview.  If she was fortunate enough to be recording it then she could go back later and hear herself cough over my lack of interest in her background. I’m not sure if she was so nervous that she had forgotten to remove it or if she always walks into a room dressed as a spy for MI6.

Needless to say I was unimpressed with the Bluetooth and equally turned off by the fact that this candidate didn’t have the decency to stay home and not infect my entire office.  If she was going to appear in front of me for an interview this way then what effect would her lack of self awareness have on any future customers?  I wasn’t about to find out and in less than thirty minutes we parted ways only for me to find myself back in that conference room with a big bottle of Lysol and a gallon of hand sanitizer.

The Ratings Scale 

Working with recruiters can be very hit or miss, in fact it is probably more of a 90/10 miss to hit ratio.  I will say that I’ve hired some amazing candidates that were sent to me by a recruiter.  In fact one of my best hires started off with a recruitment agency so they are not all a waste of time, but the majority of them are.

This candidate happened to be one that was a waste of time and as the interview continued on my tolerance for her self-absorbed, lack of knowledge of my product and her continual money talk proved to me that she wasn’t going to be a fit with my staff.  When she continually talked about how amazing she was without any real proof to back it up my politically correctness meter started to drop and I became very honest.

She asked me, “How am I doing in this interview? On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best?” I said, “honestly, about a five.”  I then of course had to back it up as I was rather surprised myself that I chose to be that brutally honest with someone I had known for less than a half hour.  I was thrilled that I had chosen to not be politically correct.  But the truth was this candidate wasn’t doing anything to excite me and I figured if she was bold enough to ask then she was thick skinned enough to hear the truth, and the truth was I had no interest!

It’s safe to say the interview ended minutes, no seconds after that and I’m pretty sure we’re not LinkedIn connections at this point in time.

The Seven Minute Ramble

One of my first interviews as a manager was with an out of market candidate on the phone.  This candidate has been referred to me by someone I trusted but it had been years since they had worked in any capacity together so they wouldn’t exactly put their neck on the line for them but they did think enough about them to suggest an interview.

The phone call started out rather easy with simple introductions, and then went to hell from there.  I asked a simple question, something to the tune of, “tell me about your stint at XYZ company” and what I got was a seven minute ramble.  This guy actually talked to seven straight minutes without stopping.  Have you ever spoke for seven straight minutes without stopping?  Do you have any idea how much you have to say or how long you have to talk to go seven minutes without stopping in a conversation?

You may be asking yourself, “How did he know that he rambled for seven minutes?”  Because that is the exact length of time that it takes for me to fall asleep if I lose interest and I started snoring at about the seven minute mark! No, the truth is I happened to look at the clock but I couldn’t believe we had passed the five and six minute mark before his story was finally over.

You may also be asking, “maybe he needed seven minutes to tell this story,” but the truth is he didn’t.  It was a ramble, it was worse than a drunk best man’s toast at a wedding and it caused me to completely tune out and end the interview a few minutes later.  If he can ramble like that in an interview then he can ramble in front of my clients, thus boring the hell out of them and ultimately costing me money.  Self awareness is a trait that few people have and this guy didn’t have a lick of it.

The Beggar

There is nothing more pathetic than a grown man begging for something.  Outside of a homeless person asking for change, no adult male should ever beg.  If you cant get what you want by making a solid argument or point for it then it’s time to move on.  This candidate didn’t have any clue.

Once again it was a recruiter that sent me this gem and after a few minutes into the interview it was apparent that he wouldn’t be a fit for our company both with his background and style.  He was used to selling a product that took a “whatever it takes approach” to close a deal, and then he would move on.  I needed someone who could nurture relationships and grow accounts based on the fact that could both sell and manage a client.

The entire interview was spent with this individual answering questions as if he was on a game show.  I would ask the question and he would answer with this look in his eye as if he was unsure he would win $500 for his answer or not.  It was the same way I would imagine myself on Jeopardy, just hoping that Alex would tell me my answer was accurate!

It became apparent this wasn’t going to work.  At the end of the interview I thanked him for his time but politely said, “this isn’t going to work, and here is why.”  Then it went sideways.  The candidate actually put both his hands together and repeatedly said, “please, please give me a chance, I promise I’ll be great,” and this went on for a few more minutes.  I was so shocked and stunned that I couldn’t believe he would actually beg me.  As If somewhere along the line that had worked before and maybe this was the way he had been hired at his current company.

It wasn’t the way I was going to hire him and I stood up and ushered him out.

These are just a few of the most painful interviews I have conducted.  There are dozens more and I’ll continue to update and add as time goes on. The best interviews are sitting in my office right now and I have no recollection of their interviews other than they were great and I couldn’t wait to put an offer together and hire them!


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