Why assumptions are recruitment poisonPosted over 2 years ago by Nick Boulton

How much influence do recruiters have over deals? A lot more than they think. I’ve written before about why luck is a dirty word in this business, but perhaps an even worse word is “assumption”.

It’s one thing to blame “luck” for a deal falling through. It’s another thing to “assume” it’s going to work itself out.

We’ve never seen a market like this. But with jobs coming in thick and fast and candidates sometimes entertaining 3-4 offers, some assume whoever pays the most wins. If your client’s got deep pockets, happy days, right?

If you started your recruitment career in the last two years, it wouldn’t be a bad assumption to make. But, if you haven’t had the rough with the smooth, why would you believe the old dogs who say, “It won’t last forever”?

But to use a cliché, we all know what people say about “assumptions” and “making an ass out of you and me”.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as we lurch from one chaotic market to the next, assumptions are recruitment poison.

To explain, I will use a little ‘artist’ discretion. I imagine if the recent market was a scene out of The Office, it might look like this:

March 2020 – Friday afternoon

Client [To recruiter]: Stop all recruitment, pull all jobs, tell those 12 people you have starting on Monday to not bother turning up.

Recruitment Owner : [sad face, puts down phone, and assumes the end of the world]. No one’s hiring, our clients have shut up shop. And because recruitment doesn’t work remotely, we’re all doomed.

The scene ends with recruitment owner running around the office like a headless chicken screaming, “ THE WORLDS GOING TO END ” bumping into things.

August 2021 – Friday afternoon

Recruitment Owne r: A sea of jobs! We’re saved!

[insert Wolf of Wall St partying here]

Now I know I’m no literary genius, but you get my gist. I would like to think that we weren’t quite as chaotic at Client Server, but it wasn’t far off (although my alcohol intake hit Olympic champion heights, I’m just hoping I was slightly more serene on the outside).

So, what’s the point of my Bafta worthy little skit? It shows that it doesn’t matter if you are CEO, business owner, experienced recruiter or just starting your career, you are unlikely to be successful if you make sweeping assumptions and don’t prepare yourself for every eventuality. You can think you have every base covered, every option ticked off the list, and something will bite you in the arse last minute.

To be successful in recruitment in any market, you need to follow the same process, no matter how easy or hard it may seem. We’re dealing with people, possibly the most unpredictable, irrational mammals in the world. On top of that, companies are waving huge salaries in their faces so all logic can go out the window.

Don’t assume anything. Over prepare yourself and your candidates and speak plainly to your clients, let them know exactly how it is. If you do this all the time, then you’ll still get surprised by some outcomes, but hopefully less.