A recent discussion on LinkedIn about interviews and gum chewing has me curious to find out what your thoughts are on gum chewing in an interview.
Here’s the scenario:
Imagine your hiring for a position at your location. The candidate who is coming in to interview shows promise. After introductions and a welcoming hello, you both sit down. Suddenly, you notice the candidate is chewing gum. What would you do? Would you still consider the candidate for the position?
My thoughts… People are far, far too quick to formulate the wrong impression. I find it a bit ignorant not to hire someone based on this alone. I’ve personally witnessed candidates who make “mistakes” during the interview, go on to be top performing employees. If the candidate has the ability to do the role and be a good “fit” then a simple conversation is too easy. in most gum chewing cases, it was probably last minute forgetfulness due to being nervous for an interview.
Interviews are a time that we must measure people against others and make decisions based on what we know. It can be hard for people to see past small, easily corrected behaviors. I would encourage anyone who makes hiring decisions to be open minded, empathetic and honest. We are all just human after all. We make mistakes. We live. We learn. This world would be a terribly boring place if we were all perfect.
Chewing gum is not considered appropriate professional behavior for an interview. I say why not. If it’s not distracting or taking away from the conversation. Don’t let what is dictate what has to be. Question the status quo. Advocate change. Otherwise, we would still be living in caves, or supporting injustices such as slavery.
How would you handle a candidate chewing gum? Would you still hire them? Have you ever chewed gum at an interview or workplace?