A woman arrived at a store, hoping to land herself a job. As she waited for her interview, she noticed an employee on the floor, stocking shelves, and she started to make small talk. Little did she know, that brief conversation would quickly determine whether she got the job.
John Moore had posted a job opening for a corporate executive assistant (EA) role, paying $90,000-$115,000 a year, but as he waited to interview a candidate, he learned his stores was having a rough day. They had received a truck with 473 boxes on it after three people had called off for their shift. So, he headed out of his office to see how he could help his staff on the floor.
In the meantime, Lauren, his first candidate for the lucrative EA position had arrived for an interview. She asked for John, but before getting an answer, her attention drifted to a man stocking shelves. She overheard the employee talking, and it made her laugh. The cashier who was assisting Lauren was immediately confused and had to ask what was so funny. Lauren pointed to the staff member she had overheard talking and told the cashier that the guy “talks so country,” pointing at the man who, according to her, talked “funny.”
Then, Lauren decided she would try to make small talk with the man she had just rudely laughed at while she waited for her interview for the prestigious position. “Hey, are you having fun stocking those shelves?” she asked, as the funny-talking country guy practically laid on the floor, placing products on the bottom shelf. He reassured her that he was having a great time.
The cashier, who had been speaking with Lauren, obviously wasn’t, however, as she put her face in her palm, embarrassed by the interviewee’s condescending behavior. Lauren then asked the man what his position is at the store, and he simply smiled and replied that he was a cashier. This was the point where she’d make her biggest mistake and soon realize she should have done her research on what kind of man John Moore is.
Making an already bad situation worse, Lauren quipped, “Yea, you would NEVER SEE ME ON THE FLOOR doing that.” At this point, the cashier she originally approached tried to rescue Lauren from her own humiliation. Trying to save Lauren from her own demise, she quickly spoke up and said, “Lauren, meet John Moore, the President of Store Operations.”
When John learned that a large shipment had arrived after three employees had called off, he immediately began helping his crew unload the truck. He was indeed the man on the floor putting away the merchandise, who Lauren has so rudely chastised for doing work she obviously viewed as low-level and beneath her. Unlike other corporate presidents, John doesn’t wear a suit. “I dress like my team,” he explained.
“My pants and shirt were dirty from lifting boxes and stocking, but I was getting the job done,” John added, speaking of the moment the candidate for the EA role had walked in and asked for him. Of course, the revelation that the man she immediately began to laugh at the moment she heard him talk was the same man with which she was supposed to be interviewing left Lauren red-faced.
She quickly tried to apologize, but the damage was already done. “Needless to say, she literally just talked herself out of a $100,000 job,” John said, before bestowing some wisdom on others. “My point? Leaders, we are called to serve our people and teams regardless of our titles. Guess what? There will be times we get really dirty doing it as well! Also, don’t you ever think you are too HIGH to get LOW when necessary!”
“Lastly, when going on an interview, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!” John advised. “You NEVER know who you are talking to! If you want to know why I think everyone is important (regardless of who they are), it’s because 15 years ago, I was homeless, sleeping in shelters, on a park bench, and nobody thought I was important.”
In this case, it’s probably a good thing Lauren decided to open her mouth and show her true colors. She doesn’t sound like the kind of team member a man like John Moore is looking for. He knows that no matter how high you rise, you should stay humble and remember where you came from. The only asset Lauren could possibly provide she already gave in the store that day when she reminded everyone that you should never judge a book by its cover.