The career world is not simply one where each position and each company operate independently of each other. We will see the people we work with today in other positions tomorrow. How you are perceived in those interactions makes a critical difference, even if it is only one time that we worked with a person.
I’m reminded of one interaction (just one) with a person in my company. Another person who was laid off whom I respected used me as a reference. And the person hiring was my one interaction person for the person I recommended. I didn’t even know that the hiring manager had left my Fortune 500 company.
Now this person was on the phone with me asking about the person I was acting as a reference to in order to hire. My one interaction with the hiring manager on something so not relevant to this conversation had, as you can imagine, a direct bearing on whether or not my person I was recommending was going to be hired.
Sure, the person going through the interview had to make the grade. But the person on the phone was asking for my judgment — based upon my one experience with this person.
You can easily think that blowing off a person or helping a person you know you will not see again in your company will make no difference. And then you get the phone call asking how a person you care for will do in a job and half the decision the person on the other end of the call is making is based upon the one interaction with you.
Did you blow the person off in that transaction? Or help the person? Or, at least were professional in how the situation was handled?
Unknown to you, your actions will effect not only your career, but also the career of others.
Just one interaction.