When Interviewing, First Impressions Matter; Bad Second Impressions Are Deal Breakers

Over the last three months, I have been extremely busy for someone who is out of work.

I am currently in the interview process of multiple companies across the country. I am working with a business partner on joining a small startup design firm. I am also in the process of starting my own company.

My days are busy as if I were working full-time but I am being extremely selective about where I dedicate my time and resources. This is especially true as I evaluate companies interested in potentially bringing me on board.

This selectivity is why I am writing today as I wanted to share an experience.

Two weeks ago, an agency on the west coast setup time for me to speak with four key members of their team via Skype. While Skype or video interviews are more commonplace today, they’re not for everyone. I am comfortable with them but only 3 out of the 4 interviewers seemed to be.

After two great conversations, the third member of the team entered the room. This person didn’t look at the camera. They didn’t introduce themselves to me. They immediately started asking very technical, very specific questions about my background.

It felt uncomfortable to not even go through the very normal, very customary Hi, How are you? I’m So-and-So, it’s nice to meet you.

After about 10 minutes of this, I asked the person to stop as I wasn’t even sure with whom I was speaking.

“I am sorry to interupt but are you So-and-So?”

“Oh, yes, I am.”

I then introduced myself and we had a slightly better conversation from there.

RED FLAG

After the interviews, I spoke to their HR and gave them my honest feedback — the team seemed great but So-and-So, in my humble opinion, didn’t appear to be very interested, didn’t introduce themselves, and seemed cold. If this person were to be my supervisor, I would not be open to coming on board.

Fast-forward to the next week where I received a call from their HR person assuring me this person has strong leadership skills, their team loves working for this person, and suggested So-and-So and I speak over the phone again. HR also told me this person agreed with my feedback.

Look.

I get it.

Anyone can be having a bad day.

This is an interview, though. This is my interview. This is my life whereby I may need to make a huge decision as a result of how this goes.

First impressions count.

That said, I agreed to the call.

Then, life happened.

My 10-month old puppy became extremely ill and, during the morning of my follow-up call with So-and-So, I was at the vet — all day, offline.

I missed their call.

Once I got back online, I wrote So-and-So personally as to what happened.

No response.

I personally wrote their HR as well. Their HR, who from Day 1 was fantastic, said they’d circle back with the team and get back to me.

Three days later, still no update or response.

As a result, I notified them I am no longer interested in working for them.

I was extremely interested in this position. I was told they were extremely interested in me.

One person on their side had me concerned the moment I met them. The concern was raised to deal-breaker status when So-and-So showed no empathy — not even a response.

What else did I need to know?