Being Nice in the Workplace
No one wants to have a Case of the Mondays on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, but nothing is perfect. We are all pulled in multiple directions each day. The resulting stress makes us short-tempered, distracted, and often knocks us off our game a bit. This is why it’s important to be nice in the workplace. Yes, I know I sound like a 1st grade teacher, but it’s important and I’m going to explain why. Nice gets things done more efficiently. Nice makes for a better working environment and superior relationships. Nice makes everything just a little bit better. Consider this: Do you feel better about yourself after treating someone poorly? I’m guessing not. There’s a reason—it’s not good for you, or for your reputation.
As an Interviewing Candidate
Sometimes, within the first 10 minutes of the conversation the recruiter has with a candidate, they know whether or not this person should move forward in process. Most of the time, it’s a back and forth in the recruiter’s mind for a little while as the conversation goes forward, but that first 10 minutes are a vital time. In those 10 minutes, the recruiter or interviewer is assessing whether or not you’re a cultural fit as well as a technical fit. This is all in how you present yourself and the assessment continues throughout the interview conversation. Name dropping, egomania, and snotty attitudes will get you knocked out in the first round most times. And, it’s not going to get you on the top of their list when another opportunity arises.
I had one candidate who was unemployed for over a year who was very “what’s in it for me?” before we even started the interview. Once the interview got started, they were evasive about their career moves and borderline rude. Now I know why this candidate has been unemployed for over a year. Had they handled themselves differently, they could’ve found someone who’d be willing to either push their case with the hiring manager or keep them in mind for the future.
Another candidate was not a direct fit for a position for which they were interviewing. Throughout the conversation, it became clear to both of us that this wouldn’t work out. They remained upbeat and talked eagerly and with passion about their past projects and employers. This is someone I personally would love to work with later. If I feel like this about a candidate, I want to help them. I want to see them succeed in their search. I ended up guiding them to some local networking events and connecting with them on LinkedIn in case other opportunities come up in the future. I’d be proud to recommend this person to a contact because he was nice in the workplace, kinda.
As a Hiring Manager
Hiring managers are under incredible pressure. They’re being asked why their position isn’t filled (remember everyone has a boss!) while they’re looking for ways to make up for the hole in their team. It’s not an enviable situation at all. And, we all know that when we’re stressed out, it’s easy to slip and become less than cheery. It’s human nature and we all understand it; but understanding and accepting are two different concepts. It’s also human nature to feel a little slighted when someone becomes difficult to work with—on either side.
Keeping open communication and making sure that you know where you stand in your process go a long way toward easing your mind. As a hiring manager, be involved in the process and have some fun with it. Take an active role in networking to find the right person for your team. After all, it’s likely that the person you hire will be less than 2 degrees of separation away! I worked with one high-level hiring manager who is so passionate about recruiting that their positions are filled quickly and with high-quality candidates. They’ve said that they really enjoy winning top talent for their team and play an active role in persuading passive candidates to join them. Who wouldn’t want to work for someone with such passion and energy? As a recruiter, it’s extremely exciting and is a great example of being nice in the workplace!
At the end of the day, know that your recruiter wants to fill your position with the best possible person. No recruiter wants to let a requisition sit open indefinitely. Collaboration always results in the best possible hires—and it’s a far more enjoyable experience.
The People that Make the Magic Happen
There are so many people that are internal to the process- Recruiting Coordinators and specialists of different varieties. Each one is important—there are no small jobs, not a one. I can promise you that having good relationships with the people in these administrative and support/specialist roles will benefit you in the long run. These are the people who keep the machine running. Without them, nothing is getting done. Appreciate your specialists—you’ll reap the benefits in terms of getting heads-ups when you really need them, being first notified when a procedure changes, and getting your interviews scheduled quickly. Let’s be honest: no one wants to call a crankypants and tell them that their interview needs to be moved to the following week. But, if someone is good-natured, it’s not a daunting task to call and talk with them about how schedules need to adjust.
Keep in mind that no person will do everything correctly 100% of the time. Sure, it can be frustrating and can make your own work more difficult. I do assure you that if you’ve been unkind about others’ mistakes, they will be unkind about yours in turn. Follow the Golden Rule. Treat others as you’d like to be treated. Don’t go above others’ heads, don’t copy 4 other people on an email to point out someone’s mistake. This is all part of being nice in the workplace. Communicate well and kindly and see how much easier things become.
In short, treat people as you’d want to be treated and you’ll have a far easier time getting your goals achieved. No one can do all jobs and no one knows everything—we need each other. Showing the people you work closely with gains their respect. Being a respectful person gains you respect. Say a sincere thank-you; recognize someone’s hard work (and copy their boss on the email!); show someone that you value their input and time. Everyone likes a sincere thought expressed in their favor! You never do know when someone is having a rough day. And, be assured that when your day is rough, they’re going to do the same for you.