Back in the mid-seventies when I was a young man interviewing for a sales manager position at a fax machine company (brand new technology then) that I don’t recall because, after all, that was long ago, I was mystified as to why I failed to get the job. For any driven young person who thinks highly of himself or herself, that’s not an unusual point of view.
Here’s what happened. I had an interview in the morning with a recruiter from the company who was very positive and selected me to meet his Vice President Sales who was going to be in town at the Hyatt Regency Hotel that evening. I arrived at 7:30PM and I ended up spending several hours with them drinking wine, talking about all sorts of stuff, and having a grand time. I was a “shoe in” for the job, I thought.
A couple of days later I was rejected for the position and was haunted by their decision for about 15 years. Then it came to me. I didn’t get that sales management position because I was too young. Not chronologically, but in terms of maturity. I wasn’t mature enough to realize that my behavior that night was inappropriate for a sales management candidate.
I still wonder what might have happened if I had the maturity at that time to request a diet coke rather than a glass of wine and stayed for a half hour chat with the Vice President, thanked them both for the opportunity to be a candidate for the job, and then bid them a good evening. Would I have received a job offer?
© 2012 Steven M. Stroum