Yes, Once in a Blue Moon Helpful Feedback Will Be Given

During the last century (okay, it was the mid-1990’s so it was only ¼ of a century ago), I was interviewing for the lead North American investor relations executive role for an energy company based in Australia.  I was living in Connecticut at the time, and the job was to be in New York City.

I was very excited about this opportunity as one of the requirements would have been to travel to Sydney twice a year for meetings at their headquarters.

Nice perk, huh?

Two weeks after the first round of interviews, I received a call from the executive recruiting firm indicating they had decided not to move forward with my candidacy.

There you go, balloon popped and/or bubble burst.

As I often do in circumstances where I receive an answer of no, I asked if there was any critical feedback she could share with me as to why they made that determination.

To my surprise and without hesitation, she replied, “Steve, they thought you were disruptive.”

“Disruptive?” I asked in utter amazement. “Can you explain further?”

“Yes, absolutely,” was her quick reply.

She was apparently skilled for situations like this as she started out with the positive.

“Steve, you were terrific when asked if you could do A, B and C.  Not only did you say yes, but you gave excellent examples to demonstrate your point.”

“But,” she added, “when the interviewing executive was about to ask another question, you interrupted by saying that, oh, by the way, I can do D, E and F, again giving examples to support your claim.”

Come to find out, I did that more than once, and it was their opinion that if I did that during an interview then I would most likely do that time and time again during subsequent executive meetings.

There were not looking for someone with that annoying soft skill.

The moral of the story – answer only the questions that you asked and leave it go at that.

I was extremely proud that I had, in my mind, 37 impressive skills that I wanted them to know about and I was determined to tell them about as many as I could.

But they were only interested in 12 of them.

Herein at that time was where one of my mantras became obvious – listen and respond, don’t tell.

I’m sure I would have had the opportunity to demonstrate my capabilities in performing the other 25 skill sets that I knew I could do well but they weren’t interested in during the interview phase, but I didn’t have the chance.

That was a lesson I learned over 25 years ago and I still practice it today – and it still serves me very well in relationship building, an important part of my business development endeavors.

What a beautiful blue moon!

Author: Steve Eschbach

Share This Post On