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Don’t Judge a Book By The Cover

I shook him by the hand, but something didn’t feel right.

As a recruiter, I am used to listening to my gut feelings, but on this occasion, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I have changed some of the details in this story to protect the individual’s identity, but it was one of the biggest eye-opening interviews that I have ever conducted.

Shrek

I was in my first year of recruitment. At that time, interviews were still as nerve wracking for me as they were for the candidates, and I was admittedly a little green. Nonetheless, I prided myself on my intuition (gained from my previous career in industry) and had made a decent start in the profession.

Then, one day, Steve (name amended) walked into the room. He must have been the largest guy that I have ever met. He avoided my eyes as he walked in, and, with a sweaty handshake, he slumped in the chair, muttering something about the traffic under his breath. He couldn’t have seemed less interested to be there if he tried.

However, he had a perfect CV, so I set about trying to get some sense out of him. Any reply that I did get was delivered in a monotonous voice, and he kept looking at his watch. Something wasn’t right, but I continued the interview for the next hour, getting increasingly frustrated by the lack of communication.

I did the worst thing possible. I made the assumption that he didn’t have the right personality for the company that I was recruiting for. I didn’t think to dig further into the circumstances of his mood, and I switched off, discounting him from any of my possible searches. I judged him based on minimal evidence, but with absolute certainty.

If it hadn’t been for his email the next day apologizing and telling me about his serious personal problems that day, I would have been none the wiser.

Job interview candidates

I felt like an idiot. Why didn’t I care enough to dig that little bit deeper under the surface? It was obvious that something wasn’t quite right, but why did I judge him without understanding the bigger picture?

We do this all the time – making snap judgments based on someone’s appearance, gender, nationality, religion, etc. The media fuels this suspicion, which all too easily can turn to hatred. Walking down the street, every Muslim is a terrorist, every youth in a hoodie is a drug dealer. There are so many people, who don’t get their fair chance in life because they are a victim of these unfair prejudices.

If Shrek walked into my interview room, I’d like to think that I would hear him out. Not sure what sort of an Engineer he would make, but you never know unless you dig a little deeper….

Written by Lee Narraway and Edited by Paul Drury

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712
Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/
Website: www.procorerec.com/

2 thoughts on “So Have You Met Shrek?

  1. Lee, I enjoyed this immensely and would have happily shared it. However, your reference to Muslims and gang members is political and not the case with all people, whether in the UK or else where in the world. I’d also like to know more about “Steve’s” problem; although, I understand you can’t go into great detail in fear of revealing the gentleman’s character. I know the message of your story is to warn recruiters, HR, and hiring managers against relying on first impressions. Your writing is very good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lee Narraway says:

      HI Bob, thank you for getting in touch with me and offering your constructive comments.
      Withe regard to the comment about Muslims, it certainly was not aimed at any political angle and is not my personal view. It was based some generic, subjective comments which are clearly wrong. I used this to make the point that it is wrong to generalise. Its the same with comment about the young and hoodies. I would be happy to remove the comments if you see fit.

      With regard to ‘Steve’ he had some news about his personal relationship which was significant and had influenced his mood that day.

      Yes the article is a general warning to all really about the rush to judge others. I guess we can all be guilty of it at some point in our life but I feel its a valuable life lesson.

      Thank you for the kind comments about the article, its very much appreciated.

      Lee

      Like

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