Being polite

I once asked a manager who they hire in their service oriented firm. “I want someone who’s nice,” he said. That’s it? I wondered. The statement perplexed me, so I pressed him a bit. “Well isn’t that a little simple for hiring people?”  What he said next surprised me back then:

“No. I can teach a good person anything they need to know about my company. But I can’t teach you to be nice. By this point, either you are or you’re not. If you’re not a nice person at heart – I can’t fix what your mamma couldn’t do either.”

In a day and age when people have seemingly forgotten the basics of kindergarten, I can now understand his simple –  yet not so simple – criteria for hiring. Maybe some people think that “nice guys always finish last” but not always.

So my advice — especially for those college students who are heading out to face the terrors of the job hunt, those who are looking for internships or first jobs — in a paraphrase from the common vernacular of today: “use what your mamma gave you.” Most parents want to believe they have, if nothing else, taught their kids how to be polite. Prove to the world their beliefs aren’t unfounded.

Category: Organizational Management

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