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Act Professionally ... Your Reputation is Important

The staff augmentation world is, at first blush, a simple business. Clients need qualified resources for a period of time and we agencies find and supply those resources. Easy ... right?

Perhaps if we were dealing with a commodity item like pens or even computers it might be a relatively simple transaction, however even then, the complexities of supply chains, approval processes, payment terms and oh yeah, competition can tend to complicate a transaction. In the staffing business there is the added complexity that our "product" is people, and that adds a whole new dimension of complexity to the situation. We won't even mention skills shortages, demographic pressures and offshore competition!

Every now and then someone reacts in what, to me looks like an irrational manner. There have been a few such incidents over the years and I did blog about one person who decided that our newsletter was spam and instead of asking to be deleted from distribution decided to be abusive.

Last week was another case of a "strange" reaction to a situation.

In response to a client need we contacted a contractor, submitted them for the job and were quietly confident that we had a good chance at the business. The client process slowed, as often happens in this business and the contractor decided, for some reason, that we must be "playing games". Our explanation that the client's "rush order" had suddenly lost its "rush" status seemed to him like a ruse ... so he decided that we were liars.

We had one of our lead recruiters follow up with him and he was met with sarcasm and a blatant charge that we were lying to him. He subsequently asked to be removed from the opportunity, removed from our systems and never contacted again. Apparently this "type of situation" had happened to him before with Eagle. A call from our VP in Eastern Canada has not been returned.

I always try to put myself in the shoes of "the other guy" ... yes, he could well feel that we had exaggerated the urgency of this need. He might well have had a poor experience in the past. Why would he not engage in a reasonable conversation about his concerns? Why would he leap to the conclusion that we are all liars and cheats? Why would he not put himself in our shoes and "seek to understand"? I can understand frustration when a situation changes, but that is life ... it is usually pretty easy to tell if someone is being straight with you. It does however take dialogue!

The bottom line is that Eagle will always try to do the right thing, sometimes it just isn't enough. However people who act in the above manner just reinforce the fact that we were lucky they did not end up at our client! I wonder if they gave any thought to the impression they leave us with, or whether they care? This is a relatively small industry and we all survive based upon our reputation, if they treat us badly then likely they will treat others badly. It doesn't take long for that to "get around".

No matter what your role you need to always act in a professional and courteous manner. It takes a long time to build a good reputation and it can be seriously "dented" so easily!