ASK HR: Your disrespectful reaction might have cost you that job

Thursday September 14 2017

The hiring manager accused me of having a high

The hiring manager accused me of having a high opinion of myself. Before he could say anything else, I stood to leave. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MWIKALI MUTHIANI
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Q. Recently, I went for a company secretary interview that left me stupefied. The hiring manager admitted that I had the qualifications they were looking for and that they would be glad to have me on board. I requested to know the benefits they offer, as well as the company’s strengths, but instead of outlining these, he accused me of having a high opinion of myself. Before he could say anything else, I stood to leave.

I think his reaction was rude and uncalled for. Am I right?

My advice has always been that it is wise to have as much intelligence about a potential employer as you can, to be sure you are making the right career move. Most important is how you go about getting that information.

In the case you describe, your question about salary and benefits is valid, given that the hiring manager has confirmed they would be happy to have you on board; negotiating a salary is standard practice at such a stage. It is strange that the hiring manager responded the way he did, and in my view, this could be a reflection of a controlling person or work environment, where nonconformity to opinions is discouraged.

The second part of your question is around strengths of the company. This is a free call for employer branding, and a smart hiring manager should light up and proudly tell you why joining them would be the best career decision you will have ever made. From his reaction, is it that this person feels you are not worthy of such information or that there is nothing to tell? Be the judge.

But you won’t get off so easily. Walking out of an interview in a huff is equally rude and unprofessional. I wonder whether your attitude throughout the process may have invited the kind of responses you received.

Ask your questions politely and with good reason. If stating your salary expectations, they should be backed up by an explanation about your worth. If asking about a company’s strengths, you must have some good things to say to start off the conversation, otherwise if it were such a bad place, you wouldn’t be there. Lastly, do not burn your bridges; that hiring manager may be the door to your dream employer.

That said, there can only be one leader in an interview, and that is certainly not the candidate.