Recruitment Suicide – A Dummy’s Guide

Expert AdviceLooking for a quick way to make the job harder? Perhaps you may be looking for the things you need to avoid to be successful, either way this quick guide to recruitment suicide should help. Assumptions, as many of us know, are the curse of success. Never assume anything is what we are told. Although we all know this (am I making an assumption there?!?) there are still suicidal assumptions we can make as recruiters. My dirty dozen are:

  1. Assume that all candidates are what they claim. How many times have you decided that a candidate is “perfect” because they told you they were? Yes, interviewing them helps but what else could we do? What about references? From personal experience I know how painful it can be to lose a placement due to references. That only happened once! Never again did I represent a candidate without fully vetting them. Within this assumption there are many mini-assumptions (small assumptions you can make in between assumptions without losing your appetite for the big ones!) such as assuming that the referee they gave you was their manager previously, that it is their CV history, that the reasons they gave you for leaving were true, that they did really earn that salary, that they don’t have a criminal record (honestly).
  2. Assume that your best clients will always use you. Trust me now, it is the ones we take for granted that are most likely to let us down. Look after clients the same way you did when you were courting them to become your customer! Many recruiters take their clients for granted because they think the client will always remember them when they are recruiting. Perhaps someone else is becoming more memorable? Like a competitor.
  3. Assuming that your best candidate will take the job. How do you know? Seriously, how do you know? What will you do if they don’t? Good consultants work closely with their candidates to reduce the chances of this happening. Reduce the chances OK? Nothing in this life is guaranteed. Have a back up in mind. Get more than one candidate an interview so the interviewer has a back up .
  4. Assume that your client is using you exclusively. Do I need to point out that exclusive means no other methods to recruit. Just because they may not be using another recruiter doesn’t mean that they don’t have their whole internal recruitment team working it does it? Cover it properly and make sure you know exactly what they are doing to fill the requirement.
  5. Assume that your candidate needs you. Taking candidates for granted is such a common place error that some may not consider this to be an assumption but more a modus operandum! How do you know your candidate is “secretly” looking at other opportunities. You know those surprise offers that sometimes arise? Guess what – it wasn’t a surprise to the candidate. I doubt they looked in their inbox and found a job offer suddenly appear. You didn’t know because you didn’t ask or you didn’t have a relationship.
  6. Assume as the economy picks up you will get more jobs. Sitting back and waiting for the recovery will not create success. As the economy grows and jobs arise you will miss out if you are not maximising your business development activity now.
  7. Assuming your job control skills are up to scratch. When was the last time you looked at your ratios? Again, plenty of mini assumptions: Assuming the candidate will take the job, the client will make the right offer, that the candidate will resign successfully, that the candidate will stay etc etc….Plenty to keep even a professional master assumer busy.
  8. Assuming you know what you client is looking for. Too many a seasoned recruiter thinks that their market knowledge allows them to assume they know what their client is looking for when they are recruiting. Taking in the brief without any questions; “So I guess you want someone with at least 3 years experience? And a good degree? Perhaps also with a background in something hard to find? Yeah, I thought so..”
  9. Assuming if you work hard enough it will happen. Sorry – I know there are many out there who believe this is true. Hard work is really important but the energy needs to be focussed on the right activities at the right time. Plan effectively – write a business plan to give you focus on the right things and review it regularly.
  10. Assuming that the first 3 candidates you find are the best 3! – Do I really need to say any more on this one??
  11. Assuming all clients want to interview the same number of candidates. Different strokes for different folks. Some clients want to interview a couple of people, others 3, some 5 and others “as many as possible”. Ask them how many they would like to interview for first interview, then ask them what they are basing it upon and manage accordingly!
  12. Assuming all the candidates you want are on a job board. Yes, there are lots of candidates on the job boards though there are candidates who use all sorts of different methods to find a job, that’s without us even talking about the “passive” candidates that have found so much favour with the web 2.0 community.


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2 Responses

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  1. I enjoy reading your article, I have similar experiences.
    I think that’s great idea to share experience in tough business like recruitment.

    Suzanne Caning 23 February 2010 at 12:37 pm Permalink
  2. Thanks for the feedback Suzanne!

    RecruitmentDad 23 February 2010 at 7:53 pm Permalink

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