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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Learning by Listening

By Patrick Donston

Store Owner, Absolutely Fish

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I wanted to describe conducting a job interview as being analogous to something in life. After I thought about it, I don't think it's like any social interaction at all. It's not like meeting a new acquaintance, a first date or any other business meeting. A job interview is a sales pitch by the candidate to persuade you into banking on them. It is the conductor's skill of evaluation and listening that determines the efficiency of the interview. My final determination after any interview is simply: "Will this person be passionate enough to train and play my game."

I've never had a perfect interview. I usually always spot a flaw in every candidate. So what, they probably find flaws in me as well--I know I have enough of them. Where's the passion? What motivates them? What do I think they want in life? Through my indirect questioning, that is what I'm really interested in.

In my last blog, I talked about an interview in which the candidate's cell phone went off three times during the interview. After the third time, I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "Why don't you do us both a favor and pull the phone out and shut it down." I thought this would be a good time to go over our cell phone policy, as well as a lesson on workplace decorum.

"Have you ever been somewhere, such as a church, wedding, lecture or an event, when a cell phone rang out? If you chuckled, you did so because you knew it was wrong and inappropriate. Technology is a great thing, but there is a time and place for it. Start learning the proper etiquette of cell phone use and it will serve you well in your future and career. Here, as in most workplaces or schools, it isn't acceptable. No one here texts or uses them on their shift. In fact, most phones are shut down as they enter the building. Something you should have done, especially before an interview. We hope by abiding to this rule, you will grasp the proper etiquette of the workplace."

The problem with some younger people is that they just don't know it's wrong. They lack good mentors and have never been taught or put into a structured situation. They need someone to enforce proper rules and regulations. We've taken our fair share of cell phones away from abusers. If everyone on board follows the rules, it's much easier for newbies to grasp the concept.

The important thing to realize is that every interview can tell us something. Do not react emotionally; we must learn not to assign emotional reactions to others, but rather learn something about them. They are different people with different needs; they come from a different past and are seeking different goals. If I want to know something about myself and my needs, then I must listen and learn from my interview.

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