Attitude is contagious and transparent most of the time. Basic human instincts have trained us to look at someone and gauge mood and approach-ability. Your patients and other customers are no different. They judge quickly about someone’s attitude.
Both individually and collectively, employees are sending thousands of messages every day about their individual approach-ability which reflects that of the entire organization. And don’t kid yourself, their verbal and non-verbal cues are loud and clear. If this is so obvious, why do we continually encounter poor service in healthcare? It may be pressure to hire and fill positions quickly, but that short-sightedness will hurt you in the long run.
We can teach skills, but we can’t teach people to care if that isn’t in their nature. Behavior-based interviewing is a great way to assess an individual, but it is not the only barometer to use during the interview process. Learn to listen with your eyes. Watch how the candidate interacts with everyone. Little things should never be overlooked. Trust your gut.
A few years ago, I was interviewing a candidate for a position in my company. Being a small company, where we work very closely and value a collaborative culture, everyone’s opinion matters. One of my top candidates arrived for her interview and was promptly greeted by our office manager with a warm hello. Without a smile, and with minimal eye contact she stated, “I have an appointment with Ms. Baird.” She was invited to take a seat, which she did, and promptly pulled out her cell phone. In the two minutes she waited, other team members passed by offering a warm greeting. She barely looked up from her phone.
On the other hand, when I opened my office door to greet her, she broke into a warm smile, stood, shook my hand and became a bubbly, talkative person. Did her brain chemistry suddenly change making her a friendly and engaging individual? I doubt it.
She continued with the interview and did a fair job with the behavior-based interview questions. Her resume was very impressive. After the interview, I asked the office manager what she thought. She immediately told me that the candidate had been dismissive toward her and others.
This candidate had given every indication that she wasn’t interested in impressing or engaging with anyone in the company other than me. That wouldn’t fly in my company so she was not offered the job.
If you really value the power of first impressions, remember that everything speaks. When interviewing, don’t ignore the little cues.