HR & Management

Why you should stay professional no matter how rude a potential candidate may be

5 min read

13 February 2015

With the recent concerns around a skills shortage, it's no wonder that recruitment has been a headache for firms. And despite firms being more confident about the economy, the hiring process is still time-consuming and often eats into valuable business time. But although you may not be involved in a hefty battle for being rude, your reputation will still be on the line.

Word of mouth can be a wonderful thing when you’ve got positive comments on your side. However, despite how busy you are or how belligerent a candidate may be, how you handle prospective employees says a lot about your business, and any rudeness will undoubtedly turn into Twitter or media fodder. Either way, if it gets out that you let your frustrations out on someone, whether they’re in your employ or not, a little chip will be made in your reputation.

This was the case when James Allen, a former serviceman, recently went for an interview at window manufacturer Right Price PVCu. Despite his claims that it went well, he failed to impress director Sarah Haseler

“James was so unbelievably rude, inappropriate and insulting, towards me personally and also the company,” she said. “I actually thought it was a joke. I was waiting for the hidden camera crew to jump out and say ‘ha, got ya’.

“I was genuinely shocked, hurt and angered by his behaviour and attitude, and the things he said. We have worked very hard to build this family business up and when someone is insulting the business it does feel like they are hurting a member of your family.

She added: “He was derogatory, belittling and offensive and I felt extremely uncomfortable the entire time he was there. When he left I politely said ‘Thanks, I’ll give you a ring to let you know’. That evening, a few hours later on the same day he came in, he sent an email, which was also rude, insulting and harassing.

“James had therefore rejected the self-employed role in this email, so he was not looking for feedback. He said he was not interested.”

When he heard nothing back from her, Allen emailed her, stating: “Just a quick email to say that you promised to phone me today. You did not. I rang your mobile but you did not answer. I sent a text you did not answer. When you promise something you carry through with it.”

Of course, with the way that Haseler describes it, it’s not hard to see why she wasn’t planning on hiring him for the job. However, it was her response that seems to have made the bigger impression.

“Nobody’s ever given me a personal attack on the way I look – I was wearing a shirt and tie and wasn’t wearing jeans or anything,” Allen said. “I’m a confident person normally but she has brought into question my face and my age. It’s knocked my confidence. Just because I’m a man and I’m 48 doesn’t mean that I can’t get upset.”

Interested in the email? Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

“Sincere apologies for not replying to you today, as it happens I actually have a job, and other things to do with my day other than reply to you, when I already had the misfortune of wasting 30 very long minutes of my life speaking to; not only the most inappropriate person for this job role, but probably for any job role you will spend the next few years applying for, only to get rejected as soon as they meet you. You are without doubt one of the most irritating, rude, obnoxious and arrogant people I have had the misfortune to meet and your email just solidifies this.

“Also, for an old, aesthetically challenged guy with no teeth you have an unbelievable amount of confidence! So you say, you didn’t notice the word ‘professional’ on our website… believe me, if I had have been anything other than professional I would have told what I was actually thinking, which was ‘this guy is an absolute d**k, get the f*** out’. But no, alas, I stayed ‘professional’. I only wish I’d have seen your CV beforehand, to save us both the time as I would have probably noticed your main job role as ‘professional p****.”

That was probably a no-no. Whatever professionalism was intended was now ripped away in one fell swoop and the story has been spread across the internet.

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