I’ve always wondered how easy it is for lawyers to defend guilty clients. They are bound by law not to defraud the court or offer false evidence but making a case which could potentially get someone off for say, ‘murder’  has always made me wonder; does their profession compromise their personal morals? How do they deal with people they probably don’t like?

I’ve been in the recruitment industry for a while now and I tend to trust my gut feelings when I meet people for the first time. I can generally always find good qualities in people no matter their age or background and I believe common ground can always be found with a stranger. So, what should you do when you meet someone who makes you so angry you have to use all of those Customer Service 101 skills not to say what you really think?

I recently conducted a telephone interview with someone in a different state. Having already built some rapport it, started well; this person appeared to have many professional qualities which on paper could make him the perfect candidate. But I’m not going to lie, the more we talked the more I realised he reeked of arrogance. It wasn’t just the words he used, but the way he used them; this guy had attitude. He didn’t say anything to personally offend me but for want of a better term he just rubbed me up the wrong way. This isn’t the first time in my career I’ve stumbled upon this, but generally potential candidates trying to sell themselves will do what they can to form a relationship which will be mutually beneficial.

So the question I’m putting out there is; can you truly represent a candidate in the best light if you dislike them?

If we’re talking about morals then it boils down to our obligations as Recruitment Consultants. I make commitments to my clients to ensure I properly vet a candidate and only represent someone who will add value to their business. I’ve committed to my employer that I will treat all people with the highest standards of service. So, where does this leave me and Mr Attitude? Here are some strategies you should use when professionally dealing with someone you dislike:

1. Understand the Situation

Think about specific situations when you’ve been really irritated by someone to clarify your thinking. For example, someone who makes sarcastic remarks at a meeting may be having a bad day; however, persistent negativity could be an issue.

Then look at the behaviour itself. Would he or she’s attitude affect their ability to do their job? Could it affect the current team’s cohesiveness?

2. Analyse Why

Start by thinking about why you don’t like this person. What did he or she do, specifically, that irritates you? It’s possible that the negative or annoying behaviour reminds you of a specific trait that you have yourself and that you don’t like.

Alternatively, perhaps this person reminds you of someone you disliked in the past. Or maybe he or she has a very different personality from yours, or an approach to communication that clashes with yours.

3. Try to Connect

This person might have several character traits that you dislike. But, chances are, he or she also has many positive attributes. What are they? What behaviours or personality traits do you like or relate to?

Part of connecting with others means suspending judgment and not jumping to conclusions. There could be valid reasons why this person is acting in an unhelpful way – for instance, he or she might have too much on, or may have health or family problems. Consider this before you judge other people’s behaviour.

Abigail Elwell – Senior Consultant

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