Be careful what you say.....and send a confirming email

Misinterpretation in communications is nothing new and lets be frank it will continue in perpetuity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get better at avoiding it.

Recently I had an issue with a client company involving two hiring managers and the HR manager. They had two positions that my candidate might fit (both managers thought from my phone presentation that he may not be completely on target), and so I presented him to both managers, and of course, copied HR on both. Now while I’m certainly guilty of being zealous in my efforts to get my candidate hired at their company, I attempted to be completely above board as I made all three managers aware of the dual presentation and let them know that they would be able to choose which position (if either) the candidate best fit.

As you might imagine it didn’t pan out so well. I now have two managers that want to hire him (good for the candidate) and three managers who are upset with me since I didn’t continue to reiterate the status of dual pursuit throughout the process, and consequently everyone developed workplace amnesia (i.e. they forgot) since the conversation was three weeks old and hadn’t arisen again (again my fault).

So the big take away for me here, and should be for you if you want to avoid just this type of issue, is to do these five things.

  • Repeat information throughout the process to make sure everyone got it right
  • Seek or check frequently for clarification of information throughout the process
  • Make sure any instructions/processes are direct and explicit
  • Resolve all problems as they arise throughout the process
  • Send a confirming email to cover all your bases (AKA CYA)

So here is to hoping that this quick list will help you avoid the path I just went down. If not, then check out this article about workplace communications.

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