Monday, May 23, 2011

Go over the top to leave a lasting impression … You have one and only one chance so be large!

"You never get a second chance to make a first impression. – Most interesting – no one can be credited with this quote – it perhaps originated on Madison Avenue as an ad slogan. Others do credit Oscar Wilde. Whatever – it is so true!

I had the opportunity to meet Matthew Parent, the Managing Director of the Vanderbilt Grace Hotel in Newport, RI. The hotel has undergone a complete makeover and take my word, it is beautiful with impeccable service, in-town location, wonderful amenities and a great place to escape to for a few days or a week. You will think you are in the lap of luxury. We were there as my wife, who is a magazine publisher, was doing a review of the hotel and I had to go along to “work and help out”. Check it out: and add to your summer plans for a nice escape.

My purpose in talking to Matthew was to understand how he got this job at this beautiful hotel after having left the hospitality business for 18 years (landing in the securities industry) and at the time, undergoing a series of personal challenges. Matthew told me a most unique story about his interview preparation and meeting with the CEO of the hotel group.

The Vanderbilt Grace is an old, historic property dating to the Vanderbilt family and a bit of their checkered past. The mansion was built for one of Vanderbilt’s mistresses – she never lived there. The building had even more history and Matthew had read a book about it some time ago. Knowing that he would be interviewing with the CEO, he knew he needed to make a memorable impression and seal the deal – the job he dreamed of.

Through networking (again – see how important this is), Matthew got the interview but knew his networking contact could only get him there – he needed to take control, be on his a-game and convince the CEO (as well as others) that he was the right person for this prestigious post.

Matthew was schedule for an interview with the CEO – the real decision maker. At the conclusion of his interview, after demonstrating his command of the history of the property, he reached into his briefcase and took out an old and tattered copy of a book about the Vanderbilt’s and the property. He presented it to the CEO. “I think this book will be of more value o you now”, he stated. He sealed the deal; made the commanding impression.

And Matthew proved one more thing – you can achieve whatever you set your dreams on achieving if you preserve and try just a bit harder than the “other guy”. He demonstrated how preparation was the key to winning. He went over the top. He demonstrated interest – deep interest. He assumed others would not go to the length he did, and he was right.

Engaged in a search? Define yourself, make a memorable impression, dare to different and go over the top. Never take any interview or contact for granted – believe they know nothing about you, and “sell” yourself into a new job, career or your own business. Take Matthew’s example to heart. You can do it.

And thank you for reading this. - Dan

No comments:

Post a Comment