It is a decision before every conversation. Each time is an opportunity to add or subtract from someone else’s day. Rather powerful when you think about it.

Now, let us take this a step further. The interview process. You have done everything right thus far:

• Identified the problem you are solving with the hire
• Thought about the tangible and intangibles needed to address this issue
• Partnered with an exceptional search firm
• Mapped out a consistent and thorough process

Due to this superior strategy, you were able to attract a star—someone who was perfect for the role. I used perfect intentionally. This is because, towards the end of this perfect process, you lost your unicorn.

After gleaning feedback from the person turning down your offer, you realize that one of the individuals on your interview team is why they are passing.

The Drain.

Sometimes, people are naturally this way. Complainer types who are glass-half-empty people by nature. Sometimes, it is the “I’m too busy” type. The ones that think everyone else has empty calendars. Or maybe the “I am having a rough day” type of person who cannot compartmentalize the fact that Ohio State lost to Michigan. Lastly, the “I have never been trained how to interview” type that has never thought to read a book, ask a question, or watch a video because they go with their gut.

Some are caustic because they have been passed over, did not like their review, their friend was let go, or hate their current project.

What they all have in common is one thing –

They do not realize that their one 45-minute meeting is why someone is not coming to work here.

We have been here several times as the search partner. Trust me when I say that the individual will hear the loop of that lousy interview in their head louder than all your positive interactions. Whether it is hours, travel, culture, compensation, reporting structure, or technology, that earworm will be the wedge that divides you from your hire.

There are a few things you can do. First, absolutely get feedback from EVERYONE who interviews at your company. How was their experience from the second they walked through the door until now? This should include follow-up, timeliness, communication, respect, transparency, mutuality, and professionalism.

Was the interviewer checking their email or phone during the meeting? Did they make eye contact? Did they know who they were meeting and for what role? There is nothing worse than when the Drain asks, “Why are you here?”

Second, notice patterns. Things always seem to go well until they meet Kevin/Karen. Once is a fluke; twice is a trend. If this is the situation and Kevin/Karen absolutely must meet this person, then make sure you sit in on the meeting.

Third, there are numerous training programs available. Interview styles that anyone can follow. Even the Drain.

Please know that the worst interviewers typically think they are the best. It seems odd, yet here we are.

In this market, in any market, truthfully, it is incumbent on your entire interview team to contribute positively to have a successful outcome. It all comes down to a mindset that is answered by one simple question –

Fountain or Drain?