I know a woman. She works in casting. She has a fool-proof way of selecting the right talent for her clients. She poses as the underling whose job it is to sign in the actors and models as they come in the door for their auditions.
This helps her spot the wheat from the chaff personality wise. Behavior wise, really. Her job is all about booking the right talent for her clients. Not just the best actor or model with the best look—but the best person.
The one who will show up on time, with a good attitude and a pleasant vibe. A person who won’t be a pain in the arse, in other words. Bad talent doesn’t make for great shoots. And clients tend to not be fond of casting directors who send them annoying talent.
When actors and models meet the casting director or a decision-maker, they are typically all smiles, all sunlight and rainbows and amiability. This is not always the actor or model’s demeanor when they meet the intern, the assistant or so on.
Stepping back, into a position of perceived lesser status, enables this woman to see the true person, right off the bat.
The etiquette lesson is not to pretend to be nice to everyone at the risk that the coat checker is really the CEO. But to disperse your arsenal of good cheer evenly amongst your fellow Earthlings, regardless of their rank, serial number or how much power you think they happen to possess at the moment.