I once interviewed a Project Manager, referred to me by a trusted friend. On paper she seemed to be the ideal candidate.

During our first interview she appeared to have a similar work ethic to me, the same sense of humour and seemed to genuinely understand what The Partnership was all about. By the end, I was really happy, except for one thing. She kept referring to how unprofessional everyone on her current assignment was and how she was on another level to them. I put this down to trying to impress, a little too much.

During her second interview, to which I invited two of my colleagues, she kept on saying just how great she was at her job and how everyone else on the team was useless, especially the managers. The other contractors were okay, but not as good as her. She told us how her phone was always ringing with agencies offering her work and gave us the impression that she was doing me a favour by just being there.

After the interview I compared notes with my colleagues, “She’s not suitable for Bayard, she is really arrogant.”

Needless to say I didn’t take the solicitation any further. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I wasn’t sure if we had assessed the situation correctly. Is there really a problem with arrogant and opinionated people, especially in difficult environments? She had, after all been working in a tough, macho environment in The City for over 10 years.

So then I begin to wonder if I have been too judgemental. I have to protect the reputation of The Partnership and I also have to do what is right for the client and for the contractor.

My interpretation is that a confident person knows or believes that they can come up with a solution to a problem. They will not be discouraged by setbacks and seemingly impossible problems to solve and they are able to inspire others to succeed. Confident people do not fear failure and this is, in part, what The Partnership is looking for.

However, an arrogant person believes that they have the answer. The difference is that they are unlikely to listen to other people’s opinions, and may even show contempt towards others who differ from their view.

Ultimately, our attitude is a coping mechanism. I believe that my candidate was probably a little insecure and was over compensating, trying too hard to impress.

After re-considering, I feel that perhaps I could have been wrong. Perhaps she only needed me to encourage her to relax and not to try so hard to impress. Maybe I gave her the impression that I was arrogant and she was reflecting it back?

After all what did Buavard say?

“Without humour, we’d all be what we’re laughing at. Without arrogance, we’d be humiliated to admit we already are.”