While I know that people in the HR/Recruiting world tend to get cited a lot for “conduct unbecoming” out there in today’s job market, however fairly or unfairly, let’s also not forget that it’s a two-way street and that job hunters, as well, need to make sure they maintain a high level of politeness, professionalism, and decorum!

As a case in point, prompting this post, an HR Manager I know recently wrote me to share the story below, involving a job seeker who didn’t make the most professional impression on her:

“Matt: I know you always love ‘you gotta hear this one’ stories about the job market, so let me share this one that just happened to me!

I had been looking for a senior executive assistant a few months ago.  A former coworker referred a candidate who was still employed but looking to leave.  Glowing reviews of this person’s performance, and I put a lot of stock in my former coworker’s opinions.  He’s a straight shooter and doesn’t recommend just anyone.

After several days of trying to set a time for an initial phone screen (she would not offer any times during the work day, ultimately I asked her if she could perhaps consider going out to her car) we finally spoke.  She turned me down flat after hearing the salary, which was fine.  A couple of months later, long after we’d filled the position, she called back in a panic wanting to know if the job was still open because she’d been laid off.  Message to me: I don’t want your job, I just want to be paid.

Flash forward to yesterday morning…on my voicemail is a message from this woman, stating she’d found a new job (great!) and had been there a couple of weeks.  She made some comment about having to adjust to her new responsibilities (from LinkedIn it looks like it’s not as high of a level as she had before) so I was anticipating being asked if I had any admin jobs open.  I was wrong!

She went on to ask me about using our facility as a venue for her daughter’s upcoming wedding, and specifically, were there any “friend-of-a-friend” discounts available that I could offer her, especially since she’d talked with me previously and knew one of our founders.

I’m happy to help people connect and find the resources they need, but I was surprised to be asked for the insider’s deal on catering and special events.  By someone I’d only spoken with twice, one time being when she turned ME down!  Good grief!”

What do you think folks?  Is such behavior acceptable in today’s professional arena?  While obviously this person may have felt she “didn’t have anything to lose” by asking for a discount, I definitely think it displays a lack of emotional intelligence on her part — and a failure to realize that polite behavior is almost always the best bet, since often even the smallest interactions can have larger consequences down the road.  Word gets around, especially in a small town like Seattle, and you never know when “alienating” somebody might come back around to haunt you!

So ultimately, while this is far from the most shocking story I’ve ever heard about people “behaving badly” out there on the job-hunting circuit, these types of subtly negative interactions tend to take place far more often — and are a reminder to all of us to mind our manners and be vigilant about never burning a bridge!