Interviewing, Onboarding and Alcohol…What Could Go Wrong?

timtolan Onboarding, Recruiting, Tim Tolan

I always get the same question from candidates who are scheduled to have dinner with the hiring manager as part of the final step of the hiring process. What do I do if the hiring manager orders a cocktail? Do I follow suit? Fair question – right? My answer is always the same. Order water, iced tea or a soft drink as that is always the safe path to getting through the event without making an idiot of yourself. Just say no.

Other recruiters I have talked to about this topic have a similar answer while others suggest ordering a Drunk_431x300 single cocktail or a glass of wine and "nursing it" throughout the entire dinner to demonstrate your ability to handle a social setting while maintaining control. I guess that works as well, provided you are not inspired by your dinner host/hiring manager when he or she is ready for another cold one and then another…. a real dilemma for some, and a simple solution for others. Some hiring managers may use this opportunity for adult libations to let you loosen up a bit so they can really get to know you, while others are innocently trying to be hospitable. In any event, I always encourage my candidates to refrain entirely and take the high road. What's your take here FOT Nation? 

Two quick alcohol related on-boarding stories from my fellow search buddies. One was a guy who accepted a position on a Friday and the company, eager to have him on-board quickly, improved the start date to the following Monday. This was, of course, time for celebration – and I mean celebration! Apparently he celebrated all weekend about his new job and was barely sober enough to make it into the office on Monday. Unfortunately for him, anyone who was five feet from him when he walked in the door could detect an odor that gave them a strong indication as to what he'd been up to all weekend. Bad plan.

Our other rocket scientist was a sales guy who joined the organization a week before the company holiday party. You know where this is going right? Yep - you guessed it! In an effort to really fit in and  "feel" part of the team – he decided to get tanked. And he apparently did a nice job! 

Both of these brilliant individuals were terminated immediately for their inability to use good judgment, plusDean wormer other charges that go with making the poor choices in their use of alcohol. These were recent stories – so it shows you how bad their judgment really was! Let's evaluate this a bit more - shall we? Bad economy plus near double digit unemployment and an overall very tough job market, and they make the brilliant decision and use (really) bad judgment with alcohol and both lose their jobs. Go figure. 

I think Dean Wormer of "Animal House" said it best: " Drunk and stupid are no way to go through life." The Dean was right!  

Tim Tolan is a partner at Sanford Rose Associates and specializes in Executive Search in Healthcare IT. He’s a closer, and you really don’t want to call him unless you’re ready to bring out the bazooka to bag some big game. When I started Fistful, I checked four references on Tim – his wife, his kids, his pastor and a client. The references were great, even if it sounded like they were reading from a sheet of paper. I just chalked that up to them being “detail oriented” in their feedback….