A couple of weeks ago in a team meeting I presented a great opportunity to earn some additional cash. I set a challenge. A challenge that mirrored the recruitment process, albeit tenuously, so in essence a challenge that on the face of it the team should have been able to do. Here’s what it was: They were tasked to go into Leeds city centre, only a 2 minute walk from the office, and buy a pair of white running trainers, size 10, that I could use for both road running and cross country running. The guidance on price was between £50-80. There was no guidance on brand, colours, where to source them from, if i was prepared to pay slightly more for the perfect trainer or anything else for that matter. Just a pair of size 10 white running trainers. They were allowed to go during work hours and the person that brought back a pair of trainers that I liked, that fit me well and that were in my price banding was to receive £1000. The only caveats were:

  1. That they submit the receipt to me and that they could not return them, basically they would not get their investment back.
  2. They couldn’t ask me for further information, or more accurately I wasn’t prepared to give them more information

To summarise, they had a job description of the trainer, they had the approximate fit, and they had my financial expectation.

Guess what the response was?

It came as no surprise to me that the team weren’t up for investing their own money on what essentially was a pot luck hunt for something for which they didn’t have enough information to make their selection. Why would they? This was a search for a non-descript piece of hay in a haystack.

The madness of the situation is that every day, this is what happens in recruitment, and without thought from either clients or consultants ‘lottery’ recruitment is taking place. In my years in recruitment I honestly could not count the number of times that I have received a spec or brief from a client that is as bereft of information as my white trainer brief.

Anyone that has been involved in recruiting knows that there is a level of subjectivity. There is no getting away from it, if an algorithm or equation could be developed to remove this then the developer would be a very rich person.  But there is also a huge heap of objective aspects to recruitment that can be asseessed to help the process. Recruitment is a process like any other, and when information does not flow between stakeholders in the process it damages the whole process.

The moral of the story, if you are a hiring a firm and you have taken the time to engage a recruiter, then take the time to give them the right information to be able to succeed. If you don’t you won’t get the commitment you need to get a result, and for certain it will waste more of your valuable time further down the process.