I’m Interviewing at a Company Where Someone I Didn’t Get Along With Works | NoBSJobSearchAdvice.com

Listen to the full episode here:

How do I handle this?

Read Full Transcript

I received the question from someone that I thought was very useful. It describes a situation where a person (I'm not going to identify gender) was interviewing with the firm and had already met the president, but then discovered that someone that they fought with regularly, was employed at the firm in a senior sales role. And they handle it?

I'm sorry that this has occurred. Disagreements, sometimes political, sometimes in the course of selling, people butt heads with one another. That is sufficiently difficult for you indicates how vehement the differences were. Let me divide the scenarios into 2. One is big company environment. A few thousand people. This is a lead salesperson. I don't know the role that you're interviewing for. But, given that your writing, I will assume that is also a sales role, perhaps where you might even interact with this person regularly.

At a major corporation, I might let things roll. I might not really address the issue head-on. Again, I'm operating with a limited amount of information so I don't know whether this actually will be someone that you interact with daily or not. If you would interact with them daily. My advice might be more like the next piece of advice I would give. If this is with a big company, I might not call this person because (let me just pick the name of the bank and use it as an example). You are interviewing at Capital One-- there are tens of thousands of people who work for it. What is the likelihood that the president of this firm is going to contact the salesperson in that organization for permission to hire you? Pretty damn small.

So, in the monster firms I wouldn't bother unless you know for fact that this person would be interacting with you. If that were the case, the advice I would give would be also represents smaller companies. In smaller companies and in large firms where you would interact with the person, I would call this person up immediately.

"Hi! I just met with so-and-so. I know we had our differences for years. The fact is I am a different person than I was then. I've learned some things. I'm sure you are different person than you were then. I just wanted you to know that I'm interviewing with your company. I hope you can see that I am different that I was then."

This person may stand in your way. This person may say, "Yeah. It was a tough time then..." Whatever it is, they may say something more appealing in conciliatory, Just as you have said to them. I just believe it's better off to confront his head on with the person that you have the issue with. That's because if you believe they are going to be contacted, then you might as well get it done with so that in this way, if it is going to happen (or as a former colleague of mine once said, "You either blow it in or you blow it out."), It's either going to happen or it isn't. There is no gray here. This persons other than standing your way or they aren't.

If they aren't, great! If they are, get it done with by saying to this person, "I'm a different person than I was then; I hope you can put the past behind us. My goal is not to be rude. I just want to make a living. I hope you can put the past behind you." Then, let it go. That's because obviously there's enough history there that your concern, which suggests that there was a serious problem.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1200 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Connect with me on LinkedIn. Then message me to schedule an initial complimentary session.

If you have questions for me, call me through the Magnifi app for iOS (video) or PrestoExperts.com (phone)

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

Connect with me on LinkedInLike me on Facebook.

Join and attend my classes on Skillshare. Become a premium member and get 2 months free.

Join Career Angles on Facebook and receive support, ideas and advice in your current career and job.


You can order a copy of “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle on Amazon and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.” If you are starting your search, order, “Get Ready for the Job Jungle.” 

Don’t forget to give the show 5 stars and a good review in iTunes

If you want to know how to win more interviews, order “Winning Interviews.” You’ll learn how to win phone interviews, in-person interviews, the best question to ask on any interview and more.

Would you like to talk through a salary negotiation or potential negotiation you’re involved with? Order and schedule time with me.

Do you have questions or would like advice about networking or any aspect of your search. Order and schedule time with me.

Would you like me to critique your resume. Order a critique from me

Jeff’s Kindle book, “You Can Fix Stupid: No BS Hiring Advice,” is available on Amazon.

About the author

Leave a Comment, Thought, Opinion. Speak like you're speaking with someone you love.

%d bloggers like this: