Denigration of the Opposition – a Slippery Slope…

02 May 2019


We’ve all been there. Talking to a candidate or a client, it’s easy to fall into the trap of denigrating the opposition, thus opening a can of worms. It never seems like an issue at the time, but it can come back to bite you.

It’s an easy tactic; the company I want you to work for are brilliant, they treat their staff very well and have never had a complaint from any employee, ever etc. The company I want you to leave are rubbish, I’ve heard on the grape-vine that people are leaving in their droves, the products are rubbish and the management teams are awful to their staff. Sounds familiar?

There are better ways than simply resorting to belittling the opposition – if anything we should be praising them. Asking open questions. Finding out information.

Admittedly, sometimes it is the person on the other end of the line who starts the madness. This is due to a bad experience they would have had at some point in time when either working for or against a company.

We don’t need to join in; we need to use our sales nous in order to highlight the benefits of working for our client, thus drawing attention away from the disparagement which we see unfolding before our eyes. Negativity breeds negativity.

Further to all of this, it is illegal to openly denigrate a direct competitor, whether you believe what you’re saying is true or not.

Overall, I believe it is very important we try to remember when having these conversations, that base level insults are not going to make a candidate leave their current position. Let us instead use all the brilliant tools at our disposal!

Friendliness, positivity, persuasiveness, open questions and above all, a good understanding of the business who we are representing.

I’ve not been long in recruitment, but I have worked in sales for many years – denigration will only get you so far!