As a manager in recruitment there will certainly be times when you have to deal with difficult situations and people.  For example:

• Dealing with poor individual or team performance

• Managing unhappy client or candidate situations

• Handling peer to peer and team in-fighting

• Recruitment consultants not doing what they have promised you they would

Not many of us like facing conflict but dealing with these situations can really help us develop and grow as managers and leaders. Rather than brush the problem under the table, it’s best to deal with the situation as soon as possible.

Here are some key tips for dealing with these difficult situations:



“Your team does a lot of work – but they could do better. “ 

Privacy Policy Consent*


Tip 1: Establish your Facts First

When difficult situations arise, it can be easy to jump in quickly with “problem solving” mode.  While there may some times when fast action is absolutely necessary, for most situations, your first step towards successful solution is to establish facts.  Take a step back and remember that facts as opposed to hearsay or opinion are best.

Tip 2: Look for the Root Cause

People do not come to work to do a bad job or to be difficult.  You need to get to the bottom of what’s causing the difficulties. Chose to find out what the underlying cause is first before reacting.  When you allow a person space to explain what’s really happening for them, then you can help them to change much more effectively.

Tip 3: Actively Listen

Actively listening to what is being said is key, because in moments of conflict emotions normally are running high.  Resist the
temptation to jump in before you have properly listened to the different points of view.

Tip 4: Avoid Pre-Judgement

If we are honest, there are times when we form some judgments immediately.  While these can be right at the end of the
day, don’t let pre-judgement get in the way of establishing the real issues.



“Your team does a lot of work – but they could do better. “ 

Privacy Policy Consent*


Tip 5: Change your mind

If you go into a conversation thinking that someone is difficult, you will find yourself on the defensive, which is likely to ratchet
up the tension between you in a particularly unhelpful manner.  Re frame your thinking, maybe they are not difficult; maybe they are just different from you.

Tip 6: Act Professionally

The challenge for you is to remain professional at all times. A good test of this is to ask yourself how you would like to be treated if you were not the recruitment  manager or leader but an aggrieved party.

Tip 7: Aim for Win-Win

While it’s not always possible to find a win-win solution, there is the option to find an alternative that works better for both parties that doesn’t result in one party feeling that they have lost while another has won.  This might require some careful negotiation around what would constitute a good outcome, both parties actively listening to each other and agreeing an alternative solution that normally neither had originally thought of.

Tip 8: Find Out What they Need from You

When faced with a difficult colleague, we have a better chance of getting them to understand us by focusing on what they need from us.  It can be tempting to think: ‘Why should  I change when they are the problem?’ But the truth is that they’re your problem and if you want it fixed, the most effective way is to take responsibility for the change yourself … Often, the answer is to change something about yourself first.”

Tip 9: Remember the “One size DOESN’T Fit All” Approach

Each situation and person is different. While there might be some common ground with people, remember that it’s unlikely that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to difficult situations will work. Adapt your approach depending on the situation and the person.

There you go – 8 tips that I hope help you in tricky situations.

Remember handling difficult situations is part and parcel of managing and leading in recruitment.  It can also be a powerful
tool for getting to know your team and individuals that can get you great respect and buy in from them when handled professionally.

Resource Box:  For free resources to help you to get more from your calls and interviews click here.

I hope you found this article useful.  If you want to learn how to set up your business, so that it stops under-performance once and for all, then join my free webinar: 

The 5 Secrets Our Clients Use to Build 7 & 8 Figure Recruitment Businesses


“Your team does a lot of work – but they could do better. “ 

Privacy Policy Consent*