Diplomacy Tips for Dealing With Clients and Candidates

Prepared by : Mark Rowbottom, President of ROW

Don’t be critical… i.e.

A) “You bombed the interview.”

B) “This resume sucks.”

C) “Your company pays very slowly.”

This approach is a sure way to get any individual to personalize the comment and react defensively.

Try responding to each one in this way:

A) with “They have identified another candidate that is more qualified”.

This may be true or not. Outside recruiters are not always told the truth. The idea is to help “save face” and keep the candidates self-worth healthy. We all do poorly at various things, and it is likely we already know it. This is not the time to discuss the lost opportunity. If you are able to get another interview for the same candidate you can diplomatically review how and why it did not go well (soften your words). Then offer supportive suggestions, and build your candidates respect and trust in you!

B)  The resume very well may suck, and you can share this with a colleague in your office- not the person that provided the resume. In this scenario you need to do some diplomatic evaluation.

  1. Does the resume suck because it is actually a reflection of a lousy candidate with poor written skills?
  2. Ask if they had help putting it together (some resume services suck! !)
  3. If the resume was better would you want to represent them? If no, then you should just keep your thoughts to yourself shut your pie-hole, and move on.

Some of the key components in being Diplomatic come from deep thinking. Always keep focused on what you want out of the relationship, and if it is attainable. If you can offer support and suggestions to improve the individual’s chances of achieving their goals- DO IT! ! !

If you choose to walk away, do it gracefully with dignity and respect for you both.

C)  Diplomacy comes from within you- do you really think you can change a Fortune 500 companies AP process? Well, it is not likely to happen. There are diplomatic solutions to this specific concern (soften a problem to a “concern”).

“Hey Hiring Manager- I really like working with you and appreciate your attention to the process as well as follow up skills. Unfortunately, (and this has nothing to do with you) your company does not pay in a timely fashion. As recruiters, we look at how quickly companies pay when evaluating working with them. I am not saying we will not work on the position for you, but I wanted you to know this situation will impact our firm’s efforts. Do you think there is any chance of improvement by resolving this situation?

Could we receive a set retainer with an upfront payment to cover our expenses?” Our recruiters will not be paid until a check is in house and any guarantee has expired, another reason clients should not request guarantees past 30 days.

13 final tips on general Diplomacy in the work place

  1. Call people out on bad behavior, in person and alone
  2. Try to determine why something is unacceptable (again one on one)
    • “l am wondering why you would say that?”
    • “That kind of surprised me and I was wondering what were you thinking when you did that?
  3. Be specific in the nature and why it was inappropriate, offensive and wrong
  4. Don’t be emotional
  5. Try waiting 24 hours (if you can) before you responding to offenses that may be personal. This will allow you to settle and become more objective
  6. Don’t send angry e-mails or texts- they do not resolve anything. A nasty e-mail or text is a permanent record, likely to be re-read enflaming conflict.
  7. Avoid spreading negativity. Don’t talk behind others backs, including via e-mail.
  8. Responding in the heat of the moment harms working relationships and damages morale, often permanently.
  9. Work through chain of command. Consult with your manager first if you are having difficulties— don’t go over his head, avoid talking to others who have a relationship with your manager.
  10. Approach negotiations honestly from a win/win perspective.
  11. Problem-solve rather than spar, take the gloves and headgear off.
  12. Be tolerant of opposing points of view, and show some empathy to the situation.
  13. Use positive body language, and look them in the eye.

Diplomatic professionals are the individuals who can come out of necessary and frank conversations with their reputation intact.