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Don’t Be That Guy – Rude To The Secretary Guy

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Originally posted 2015-07-01 09:47:12. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

“If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.” – Martin Blank, Grosse Pointe Blank.

(editorial note: yes, another Don’t Be That Guy…yes, another guest poster…pretty soon we’re going to have to start handing out contributor user id’s and email addresses around here…)

My grandfather told me to judge people by how they treat Secretaries, Cashiers, and Lawn Maintenance people and not by how they treat their supervisors.  We all know the Rude to the Secretary Guy.  He is the guy that treats service people like medieval serfs.  Conversely, Rude to the Secretary Guy normally turns out to be the sycophant when he is dealing with his boss.

My grandfather told me to limit my involvement with these people as much as possible.  As in most things, he turned out to be right…

glengarry-glen-ross2I am a recruiter, and I have been successfully placing both Information Technology and Engineering professionals for more than fifteen years.  I am pretty good at my job.  I am NOT good at my job because I can throw around a bunch of buzz-words.  Nor am I good at my job because I understand the details of Object Oriented design.  I listen to developers who love the Microsoft development tools and those that hate them; I don’t have an opinion because I am not a developer.  What I am is a person very, very experienced in evaluating employability.

I flatter myself to think that over the years, I have become a very good Judge of Employability.  Some people would call it Judge of Character, and I suppose it is to an extent but judgment of employability is a little more specific.

I have learned that the best indicator of a candidates viability as an employee is their behavior during the recruitment process.  There are a lot of red flags that will give me pause about working with a candidate (and there are green flags, too) but nothing, and I mean NOTHING will get the plug pulled on a candidate faster than Rude-to-the-Secretary behavior.  When a candidate is clearly resentful about my involvement in the process, disparages the field of recruiting in general, I simply pull the plug.  I have no reason to place a candidate at my client who is going to damage my relationship.

It is not hard to identify this guy – he will most definitely show his colors fairly early in the process.  The trick is to have the conviction to simply not work with him.  This is hard because he is USUALLY pretty well qualified from a technical point of view.  I have gone against my better judgment in the past and hired this guy and it has always come back to haunt me, usually in the form an angry client wanting to know why I would pollute their pool with such an arrogant jerk.

  • Rude to the Secretary Guy doesn’t see me as a partner in the search process; he sees me as a rickshaw driver.  And if I am not moving fast enough for him, he will happily tell me how he can find another rickshaw driver immediately.
  • He is openly disrespectful to recruiters and their involvement in the process
  • He doesn’t feel the need to discuss his career goals with me.  I wouldn’t understand them anyway.
  • He won’t return calls or emails from me, but he will DEFINITELY make sure that he grabs a business card from my client and contacts them directly.

Rude to the Secretary guy has confused the word ‘humility’ with ‘servility’.  Humility is a Latin word.  It comes from the adjective ‘humilis’ which is translated as ‘of the Earth’ or ‘grounded’

Here is an interesting fact:  Every single time that I have pulled a candidate from consideration, I tell my client why.  And every single time they are ecstatic about it!  Nobody wants to bring a jackass onto their team and they genuinely appreciate that fact that I will walk away from a great skill set because the personality doesn’t match.

Until next time…

Make sure you check out our other Don’t Be That Guy entries…

2 Comments
  1. David O'DOnnell says

    Good article Dave.

  2. Mary S says

    Love this, especially the comment about mistaking humility for servility – I see this all the time and I’m lucky to work for a boss who recognizes it too. Thanks Dave for illustrating this guy so well.

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