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BN Hot Topic: “You smell nice” – Was this “Compliment” to a Recruiter Appropriate or Not?



This has been trending on Twitter NG for about a day. One female user wrote:

“I interviewed a guy for a job yesterday and when he was leaving he said to me: “you smell nice” and I told him that’s very rude of him, he left looking stupid. A lot of men don’t have manners!!! If telling someone after an interview is what you would say, good for you…”

This has been generating lots of comments. Some say it’s not rude, but inappropriate, adding that it’d still be inappropriate if genders were reversed.

Others say maybe it’d have been better if they were same sex.

Another group believes it’d have been better if she responded by saying “Thank you” and then going on to tell him that his comments were inappropriate.

What do you guys think?


  1. Fleur

    March 12, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    I think it just sounds local & tactless. it’s not insolent. He could have said ” may I ask What perfume you are wearing?” I’d even add ” I’d love to get it for my mother.”

  2. Fleur

    March 12, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    if the recruiter is this mad, what was her reason for the perfume if not to get noticed? the only other reason is to mask body odor. Perfumes are designed to have the effect of pheromones. Pheromones are for Attraction.

    • foodie

      March 12, 2019 at 4:12 pm

      This is such a stupid comment. so if someone is attractive,smells good and puts effort in their appearance, it is just because they want to be noticed by others, and such when they get inappropriate responses, it’s acceptable because they were looking for it. if it is said that you are foolish now, you will start shouting. Please stop using assuming others think the same as you

  3. Nana

    March 12, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    Of course his comment was inappropriate, unprofessional, and just plain wrong. A job interview is a professional interaction. Keep it that way and avoid making personal comments that can easily slide into sexist territory. If the interviewer were male, I’m pretty sure the interviewee wouldn’t have complimented him – even if he looked good and smelled amazing. In the first place, when you compliment someone who is interviewing you, the person will either think you’re making a pass at them or sucking up to them. Either way, it’s not a good look for you. So why you don’t you respect yourself and comport yourself in a strictly professional manner?

    I’m glad this conversation is taking place because we have extremely poor professional etiquette in Nigeria. It’s alarming. I’ve read comments elsewhere saying the interviewer was proud, she should be grateful that a man complimented her. Let’s be clear: nobody owes you anything. The high level of male entitlement all around is sickening. You are not entitled to a woman’s smile, affection or attention. If you compliment a woman, she has the right to reject you and your compliment. She has the right to feel however she wants to feel, and if your attention and your compliment make her uncomfortable or angry, just back away. You have no right to police her reaction. Don’t be that guy. Fleur’s comments above are just a small example of the dearth of common sense and critical thinking in this country. You smell nice indeed.

    • mz_danielz

      March 12, 2019 at 7:37 pm

      So if it was a male complimenting a male, it won’t have been rude?

      The guy might just have been tactless, nervous or trying too hard to make a good impression.

      A response like ‘Thanks a lot. I’ll take that as a compliment. It’s not a very appropriate thing to say in professional settings. I trust you’ll take this feedback for next time’ might have been better. She gives him the benefit of doubt while correcting him to ensure he doesn’t do it again.

      She is representing her company at that interview and can’t be taking pride in making people look stupid because the guy might genuinely not know what his crime is.

  4. Peter

    March 12, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    A very harmless compliment given in at a wrong time in a wrong setting. The interviewee was most likely trying to score points during the interview.
    I think she over reacted in her response to him, checking him like that. Would he really be deliberately trying to be rude or make a pass at her. But again, Na naija we dey. Word like professional and etiquette are not in our dictionary.

    If he had said that to her at a social gathering, will she have the same response? Again you never know, she might just be as well angry too.


  5. Ajala & Foodie

    March 12, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Still scratching my head at why this is viral? Inappropriate or rude? So a random person pays you said compliment on the street and you say “thank you”. What I am getting here is so because it is an interview it becomes inappropriate to compliment an individual? Nigerians carry too much nonsense and create issue out of them. This is ridiculous and retarded. Or maybe I need to understand the Nigerian corporate culture a little better. I speak as someone who has interviewed quite a few people. I don’t get how it is rude, inappropriate or whatever. From what I have observed from different HR personnel Twitter posts from Nigeria that go viral. Many of these people act like “their interviews” should equal calls with the gods. It is called power tripping. It is one of the many reasons we remain stagnant as a nation. Give any one small power and talk to them becomes rude and inappropriate including paying a compliment. Then again, I am no HR expert.

    • whocares

      March 13, 2019 at 1:35 pm

      I think if you consider this outside of this context to society at large. Women go through a lot of casual disrespect and sexism at work. It’s just what it is, from inappropriate comments about your cloth, hair, etc. so let’s have that as the background and as a fact because it happens, we cannot deny that.
      Now in this context he went for a job interview, he has never met the woman before, knows nothing about her. It is nice to compliment yes, but there are a wide range of professional compliment you can give to someone you just met especially in a formal setting. I don’t know how many high powered meeting you have gone to where you don’t know the other side from adam, you never break the ice with “you smell nice”especially to the opposite sex. If on day 2 of the meeting you say that then yes, ok, you have at least had a day of working together and understand each other to a degree.
      Personally, I don’t think its rude, i would not stress too much about it if a person said it to me but i would think it is definitely weird and inappropriate especially if i am interviewing you for a job.
      But what i find interesting about this is, if we say its inappropriate, if the woman did not like it, are we fighting for the man’s right to say inappropriate things and for the woman to smile and accept it? People respond to things differently, a woman has said she did not like an expression which is on the fact of it not entirely alright in the circumstances they were in so why is it difficult to accept that the way things seem to be is the way they are and not villify the woman? what exactly are people doing when they accuse her of overreacting? are we attempting to erase her experience, or demand that she act and respond in a particular way? if so, you begin to see why this is a problem in the wider context? i think the statement might pass as sexist. I dont believe for a minute he would have said that to a male interviewer.
      In fact, considering the nigerian culture and how sexism is sooo casual and rampant, you would think the rules concerning professionalism would be more stringent to protect women. I cannot tell you how many nigerian clients i have who think its ok to refer to me as “sweetheart”, or whatever nonsense. As a rule of thumb everywhere i believe it is the rule to keep it strictly professional until you become colleagues or establish a more broader work relationship because you just don’t know how a person might react to things.

    • Nana

      March 13, 2019 at 3:42 pm

      @whocares Very well said.

  6. Manny

    March 15, 2019 at 5:02 am

    I would just say thank you and register the candidate in my mind as trying to curry favor by being ingratiating. It’s inappropriate but not rude


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