Your job interview starts in the lobby of your prospective employer’s building, goes the old cliché. In other words, treat everybody you meet nicely, because word of your behavior will inevitably filter back to your interviewer.
But what if that advice is wrong? What if your interview starts on your commute?
Matt Buckland, head of talent and recruiting at London-based Forward Partners, was on his way to work one recent morning when he accidentally blocked another man from exiting the subway car. The man shoved him out of the way, yelling something highly inappropriate. Sounds like a garden-variety bit of rudeness, no? Except the man later showed up at Forward Partners—ready to interview for a developer job with Buckland.
“It was totally awkward,” Buckland later told the BBC, after his tweet relating the story went viral. “So I approached it by asking him if he’d had a good commute that morning. We laughed it off and in a very British way I somehow ended up apologizing.” Although the two men patched it up, the applicant didn’t get the job.
In response to Buckland’s story, a number of recruiters and bosses have come forward on Twitter to talk about their experiences with rude people who later turned out to be interviewees. There’s a moral here: If you’re heading for a job interview, it probably pays to be on your best behavior from the moment you wake up.