No thanks, I'm just not that nice...

Piggybacking off of Steve's post about undermining your career I feel inspired to delve a little deeper into the topic of when enough is enough. By way of a little setup, I'm notorious for my inability to say no...

About four or five weeks ago I had a gentleman walk into the lobby in my office requesting to meet with somebody in HR or recruiting. The receptionist dialed my extension and I was promptly connected with him. He stated that he was working on a class project and needed no more than 5 minutes of my time to ask a few questions promising that he was not there peddling his resume. My gut told me I was just asking for trouble, but it was a slow day, I was at a good stopping point in my work, and I could use a short break from staring into my monitor. Sure, I'll do my good deed for the day.

We met, I answered a few questions about interview tactics, resume writing, and my view on the industry. As promised he only took 5 minutes of my time, didn't hand over a resume, and went on his merry way. I happily got back to my desk having had a little breather and finished out my day. No problem, right? Wrong.

This gentleman now thinks I am his personal career consultant. Without being rude I made it very clear that I have a job which keeps me busy and I can't be helping him re-write a resume or set meetings with him to discuss job search strategy. Generally speaking patience is one of my strong suits, but mine is starting to wear thin in this instance. That said, I (as politely as possible) have for the third time asked him to quit calling because I am not the person to help him.

This got me to thinking: when do we reach a point, professionally, when enough is enough? I try to make sure that whether the request comes from a job seeker, another department, or a peer, I do what I can within reason to accommodate. However, there comes a time when no more can be handled, or the requests have become unreasonable. How do you know you when you've been pushed too far. Further, how do you respectfully decline without damaging a relationship?

I don't think there is a perfect solution, but I suspect that successfully sidestepping such issues requires a good amount of tact and diplomacy.

Views: 72

Comment by Jake Wyant on March 9, 2009 at 2:07pm
Gino - great I am just as nice of a guy - and have been that guy that agrees to speak with the walk up that wants "to speak to the recruiter". I found this happening a lot. I even found that some of my consultants were handing out my contatc information to their nieces, nephews, cousins, etc that just got out of school looking for a job.. or ultimatly just advice.

I am nice - and I did help those folks the best I could, free of charge. Then I spoke with another recruiter about it. She was seeing this very thing happening to her - only she took advantage of it.

Catherine Byers is her name and she owns Arbez She now helps folks like this figure out how to put your best foot forward and actually work with a recruiter.

I have been able to pass her information on to a few candidates that come to me for this help. It has been refreshing to do so. And a time saver! For doing so, I know I can count on her to keep her eyes open for candidates that I will want to speak with.

You may want to find someone in your neck of the woods that does something like this.

hope this helps,

Comment by See_Jane_Recruit on March 10, 2009 at 12:55pm
Very good topic. It's always good to maintain a professional distance--I've learned that the hard way. No time for charity cases and there are plenty of other resources out there for job seekers--people who get paid to give advice to job seekers. It sounds terrible but I give as much advice as I can to someone I think I can use. Either I think I have a good chance of placing them or they might be a good connection. Otherwise, I politely tell everyone else to get lost. I use the same tactic I use with my toddler when I want him to leave someone or something alone--distract 'em with something else! Generally, I'll send an e-mail to a stalker with a website or two that offers good career advice so that they'll leave me alone. It works!


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