Thursday, June 24, 2010

First impressions

First impressions count. It feels shallow, and often your first impression can change after you get to know a person, but often that first gut feeling you get about someone is right.

For example. I was walking to work yesterday and a woman was walking in front of me in opaque white stockings and some very hugh heeled shoes for 9am on a Thursday. She wasn't wearing anything slutty or revealing, but I instantly pegged her as a sex worker. Don't know why, but something about those tights and those shoes just screamed that at me. So, when she turned down the alleyway toward the private entrance to a gentlemen's club, I wasn't surprised. She'd just confirmed my first impression.

I was thinking about this later in the afternoon when I was conducting job interviews. We have the film festival coming up and every year I hire 6-10 extra people to work over this period. I get on average 30 resumes handed in per week, so you can imagine how difficult it is to wade through them all and pick 10 or so people to interview.

This year wasn't actually quite so difficult. A few people from previous years wanted to come back. They were all good and reliable, so it was kind of a no-brainer to take them back. They know what to do, how it works. Another two were people I know, one from another cinema I worked at, and another because she's the girlfriend of one of my existing staff. Again, an easy decision to make because I know them.

The others, were people I'd chosen from their CVs, mainly travelers because the short period of employment works for them better than for those who are looking for a permanent job. I don't want to get anyone's hopes up, you know. So when each of these people wandered into the foyer, that first impression was important. For this job, I'm not looking for people who are immaculately turned out. In fact, if someone was to turn up in a suit, I'd probably be less likely to hire them. My team is a motley crew of artists, dancers, actors, circus performers and students. I'm looking for people who will fit into that group, and anyone who wears a suit to an interview probably wouldn't fit in.

So I ended up taking the French-Canadian couple who came in glowing with enthusiasm and who I recognized as having come to see a film the night before. They just looked like they would enjoy working there and they looked like they would fit in well with the team. They were friendly, outgoing and made me laugh during the interview. More importantly, I wasn't itching to get away and do something else, I felt like I could talk to them for much longer.

Sometimes that's enough.

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