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How to disagree without being defensive

Q: “Somer, I disagree with the recruiter’s assessment. They’re only looking at my title. I’ve done this job before, and my company didn’t even have that title. When I explain this I’m coming off as defensive, and I’m not getting introduced to the hiring manager. What do I do?”

A: There’s not much you can do about what’s already happened. Also, you may have been dealing with a recruiter who is checking boxes versus actually understanding what you do. Unfortunately not much you can do about that either.

Next time, be proactive versus reactive. Bring it up before they do.

Answer “big to small”. Help the recruiter understand your company, where you fit in, and then get into what you do.

When you’re asked the question that you feel will turn into combat, start here instead:

“We’re divided into 5 lines of business (name them). I run these two, which account for 70% revenue of the company. I directly have (name responsibilities) and have matrix influence over Y and Z, though I’ve had Y directly in the past.” Then tie this up with a one minute answer to their exact question.

If you start "small to big" you're more likely to end up in checkbox territory. Take control of your story by painting the full picture from the start.


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