This can be a touchy subject for some. On both sides of the table.
The applicant comes in and admits to having a personal problem. It could be someone whose child is doing very poorly in school and has spent more time with the disciplinarian than in the class room. Or the person is grieving at the loss of a loved one.
There are a number of possibilities here, but I think you get the idea.
So, what to do?
Do you automatically disqualify someone because they brought their problems into the job interview? It’s not very professional, right?
Well, to put it bluntly, it’s not. But let’s look at some other possibilities here.
What if this is a rare instance of the person wearing their emotions on their sleeve, and you’ve got a really great potential contributor in front of you?[Side note: My partner told me that not everyone would know what it means to “wear your emotions on your sleeve” so it means to show your emotions openly.]
Let’s go a step further and let’s speculate that this person freely discusses their personal problems, and yet, they could also be a real asset to your company.
Well, before you rule out this candidate, I’d consider listening for a bit to see if the person just needed a few minutes to get their attention freed up. They may pop out of it and you’re off to the next steps of the interview.
If your candidate is qualified in many ways, has a strong (and verifiable) résumé, and you believe is an overall good fit for your company, you may want to overlook a personal problem coming up during the interview.
Sometimes the stresses of life can become so great that a person feels compelled to share a bit of that with the person in front of them. Even in a hiring interview.
Before you claim I’m being too much of a “softie” let me offer this: to a considerable degree, I write these hiring tips to give you perspective.
The more able you are in weighing the pluses and minuses of the person in front of you, the better your hiring decisions will be.
To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.
If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.