Can you feel me?

Much has been written about the science of finding a job.

This is a good thing as unemployment is certainly higher than the posted numbers and we need every edge we can get.

And yet, you'd better be pay attention to art as well as science.

The other day I had lunch with a friend who'd just come out of interviews.

The company was supposed to be hip and digital and I imagine if that matters to you it might have been enough. But my friend is savvy – as I like to think I am – and looking for more than surface.

She goes for feeling. As in…


  • The vibe in the office was strange. People came and went through the reception area without talking to each other. They weren't as much busy as self-absorbed. This can be kind of affecting in a 10 year-old: its a little annoying in an adult. Pretension is the cousin of self-aborbsion.
  • There was a low energy. The buzz you feel when not much is happening because this isn't the nerve center. In your career you may get opportunitites to work at distant appendages of the firm: take them at your own risk. My friend and I would much rather be at the heart of the matter.


  • For reasons never explained the receptionist initially told my friend the party she was to interview with was not in the office. Conufusion reigned for a few moments as various emails were sent (in a digital company? why not pick up your iPhone? Siri will help you) until a few minutes later, aha!, the person was indeed available. (Just not now.)
  • Again, without explanation the interview started 15 minutes late. Inexcusable. Candidates are told repeatedly to be ten minutes early – never late – to an interview. So I have no sympaty for any firm hip or not that can't meet the schedule it developled. Poor practice all the way round.


  • Finally no one in the interview team could explain the strategy of the business itself much less the HR team. That's a watchout. That means you either don't know the strategy or you don't have one. Not sure which is worse – actually not knowing is worse becuase B can be solved for. You wanna get talent? You gotta know your strategy. And interate it.
  • The last act of contrition was the inability to share the HR vision. You must have one. Or HR becomes simply a tactical execution-based organization which, in case you had not noticed, is often outsourced. What's your vision, how do you add value, what's the next big thing.

In a nutshell my friend wasn't feeling it. We've all been on that interview where things just don't quite hang together. Her experience illustrates why.

Beware of taking a job in spite of poor first impressions. Although it might work my years of dealing with people leaving roles prematurely (before investment has been fully realized) or being asked to leave early has shown that very often the seeds of destruction were sewn at first blush.

You know when things feel right – with jobs, clothes, lovers and life – and when they don't. Pay attention to those feelings.

They're occuring for a reason.



One thought on “Feelings

  1. Couldn’t agree more.
    Strangely enough, my first company hired me even though I was late for all three rounds (first time – directed to the wrong place, second time – masses, literally masses of snow, third time – well, it had become a running joke between us). Gave me an extra incentive never to be late during the job though.

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