We normally meet hundreds of people during the course of our business work, career and in connection with other fields of life. It is a well known fact that the first look of the person, the style of their clothes, the way they talk leaves a great impression on us. We obviously need time to understand people, especially the ones we do not know at all. But we on many times form our opinion based on the outer appearance and his/her demeanor in a particular moment, and because of this we make the mistake of underestimating or overestimating someone’s abilities just on the basis of our first impression of them.
A tired looking villager wearing very simple clothes with a turban on his head and old, unpolished slippers on his feet approached a bank manager and requested him to open a bank account. By his looks and his clothes, bank manager thought him to be a poor man who wished to open a bank account for his future savings. “To open a bank account, one has to deposit some money in the bank”, the bank manager told him. “How much money do you want to deposit”, asked the bank manager. The villager replied, “One”. The manager thought the villager wanted to deposit Rs 1 only for opening an account. As per the bank’s guidelines, the minimum deposit was atleast Rs 1000 to open an account. So the bank manager explained, “It is not enough and you are required to deposit a bigger amount if you want to open an account.” The simple villager said, “Okay. But i have traveled a great distance. Can i have a glass of water?” “Sure!” The bank manager said and ordered someone to fetch water.
In the meanwhile, the villager pulled out a simple mobile phone from his pocket, dialed a number and started talking to someone, “Beta, you have the wrong information. One cannot open an account with Rs 1 Lac. We would need more. I will ask the Manager how much and may be we can visit the town again next month to open the account.”
The bank manager was stunned. He had obviously formed a wrong impression of this simple villager. He quickly apologized to the villager and started the proceeding for opening the account.
As a matter of fact, this is how we too behave in most situations. If we are interviewers, we tend to be in awe of candidates who are well dressed, can speak well, and at times do not really try to drill deeper.
We assume that the candidate with this much confidence must be good. On the other hand, if the candidate is simple and nervous, we tend to infer that the person is probably not as qualified as the candidate who is smartly dressed and confident. But our judgement may be wrong. In the long run, the person who appeared confident may turn out to be overconfident and unwilling to learn, whereas the person who appeared nervous may turn out to be sincere and patient. So we need to hold back on our judgement for a while and try to dig deeper in order to find substance.
So be careful in judging people on the basis of their appearance!!