Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley
Being too judgmental during a job interview could most certainly be a negative for potential hires. Judgments rendered too quickly happen most often because they are based on preconceived notions.
Think about a friend unloading their most pressing problem on you. Your friend will be more comfortable sharing his or her concerns if you are a non-judgmental, non-threatening great listener. This means they talk and you listen.
In its purest form, you allow people to talk through their problems and discover their own solutions without recommending yours. When they cannot solve their problems by talking through them, make recommendations when they ask your opinion, or when you need to refocus them to the task at hand.
When you appear judgmental during an interview, it is difficult to create a positive impression of someone who will be able to get along with staff and management. You may be perceived as having an opinion on everything when no one, especially management, is interested in your opinion on anything.
You must ask yourself “Why should I be so judgmental?” if you think you are. How does being judgmental help the person on the receiving end of your judgment? How does being judgmental make you a better, more competent, more understanding person?
Do you need to be judgmental because you are seeking approval? Do you need to be judgmental because you want to show you are superior? Do you need to be judgmental because you secretly (in your subconscious mind) need to beat yourself up? Do you need to be judgmental to draw attention to yourself because you feel inadequate in some way?
If you are constantly checking yourself because you think you may be judgmental or have been told you are judgmental, it is possible that you may be spending too much time on yourself and not enough time on others.
The idea is to take the focus off of yourself and put it on others so they do not get the idea that you are more self-centered than other-centered. You will still have more time later to share your immediate opinions and judgments. Be genuinely more interested in others than you are in your own judgments and pronouncements.
If you are interviewing for an in-house promotion and the issue of your being judgmental comes up because they have found some instance when you may have been judgmental in the past (like it is in your personnel record), use this response:
“I admit there have been times in the past when I have been judgmental, and I take responsibility for my action and have learned from it. I am happy to report that because of my personal growth since then, I am more understanding, patient, effective and appreciative in my relationships now.”
When I can think of one good reason for a potential hire to be judgmental during an interview, I will let you know. Until then, give it a rest if you tend to be judgmental.