I wonder sometimes if candidates know that they're projecting a bad attitude, or coming off as arrogant, that they talk so much that no one else has a chance to say anything? I spoke with a young man today that was clearly very frustrated, and didn't hide it. I asked what was the problem and he said he was frustrated, didn't apologize, just said he was having a bad day. Why would anyone call a recruiter when they are so totally frustrated that they can't speak normally? I told him I couldn't put him in front of a client with that attitude.

I didn't even want to know what skills he had, I didn't care because he didn't care.

When I'm preparing candidates for an interview, whether it's a phone interview or a face-to-face interview, I try to stress the importance of a positive attitude. Sometimes they are unaware of things they are doing naturally, like talking loud or too low, talking too much, talking too little, or coming off as arrogant. One person told me it ain't bragging if I can do it. Maybe, but people just don't want to hear it, and they should care what that person thinks, because they decide if you get the job or not. Recently I had a candidate that passed the technical test and went for the face-to-face interview. The client agreed he had all the skills, but would not select him because of his arrogance.

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Comment by Peter Ceccarelli on February 25, 2010 at 2:00pm
You presented some good thoughts on the subject of what I call interpersonal skills. At my company we assess 100% for hard skill set/technical skills to do the job AND 100% for culture fit/interpersonal skills. A lot of companies spend 80% of their time on hard skills and 20% on soft skillls. We often take a pass on very strong hard skill sets because the social/soft skills don't fit our culture. And it's painful because most of our hires are rare breed or come from highly competitive candidate pools. It's typical that most get hired 80% on technical ability to do the job, and 20% for soft skills. But when we terminate, it's typically 80% because of soft skills. They could do the job, but it was how they were doing the job that gave reason for the termination. I don't believe enough companies train to interview for the soft skill arena because it's uncomfortable if you're not trained to do it. It's easier to ask the hard skill questions and then move on to the next question. But in the long run it costs you.

I'm also curious if you're finding the arrogance in one particular age bracket? Are they boomers? Xer's? or Y's? Just curious. I don't think we've socially developed our newest age bracket for the work place and they don't possess the manners to tackle the job interviewing process. Just my opinion, but I'm seeing that too.
Comment by Sharon Collyge on February 25, 2010 at 2:12pm
Thanks for your comments. Most of the arrogance is coming from the younger crowd. Boomers seem to know the score, but occassionally I see frustration from all groups, but generally more respectfully stated.
Comment by Peter Ceccarelli on February 25, 2010 at 3:04pm
I'm a boomer and unfortuantely, the boomers are the parents of the Y's now in the job market (I don't have kids, so I'm not pointing the finger), but Y's have had much more decision making influence on their families than any other generation before, or most likely after them, so therefore there is a sense of entitlement and self importance that is a little hard to untangle as to its true motivation. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but Boomers have indulged their children (yes this is perhaps a gross generalization, but there is some truth to it) and the competitive playing field was set up different because when Y's were young children they got an award for just showing up to the game rather than actually earning it. That tends to set up an odd assortment of perspectives when it comes to interpersonal skills and it's hard to deal with in the job market when it's mixed in with the boomers and the Xer's. I think the school of hard knocks will course correct a lot of it though!


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