Maybe I am aging faster than I will admit, but I have seen a trend in the professional workplace that is unsettling.
Decorum. As defined by Webster, it is “correct or proper behavior that shows respect and good manners.”
One of the things I tell hiring managers is that the initial candidate interview is as good as it will get. The candidates’ behavior, manners, etiquette, communication, etc. will never exceed their level as observed in that first interview. Therefore, the candidate’s decorum should be exemplary in that interview to the point where it is memorable.
Sadly, I simply am not seeing this exemplary decorum nearly as much as I used to 15 years ago. Perhaps as a society we are simply becoming more crass. Nonetheless, the interview should be treated as hallowed ground and respected in such a way that crassness does not permeate it.
I have noticed this change not only in the younger generation, but also the Boomer generation. I have observed aging leaders, who have become out of touch with the younger generations, find a connection (earning laughs) by being crassly provocative.
Younger generations communicate in…how shall I say…in an overly casual manner. Cursing comes to mind and I have experienced it an multiple phone interviews recently. The expletives have come out in face-to-face interviews also. I’m not talking about shockingly blue language, but still language that simply does not fit in a high-level sales position interview.
Professional salespeople need to possess an impressive level of professionalism, or decorum, when approaching prospects in today’s business world. A lack of this decorum being exhibited in the initial interview, when they are allegedly at their best, is a big red flag for me when considering whom to move to the next level in the hiring process.