The other day, a consultant set aside everything she was working on because a client dared to use a 4 letter word on her. She even had the audacity to tell me “This is the best thing to happen on my desk today”
The 4 letter word being ‘asap’ (well it’s not really a ‘word’ in the true sense but you get my point)
So what exactly is asap?
A quick Wikipedia search came up with a hard rock band, a television series in the Philippines and even a Canadian aircraft manufacturer called Aircraft Sales and Parts. It also came up with the obvious ‘as soon as possible’ However this consultant did not hear ‘as soon as possible’. Instead she imagined the client say, “I need this job filled right now. I need you to push aside everything on your desk and focus only on filling this job for me. I need you to not question what or how long asap means. I need you to go against everything you’ve been trained on. I need you not to ask me for a specific date when I said ‘asap’. Or else I’ll give the job to another recruiter. Or else I’ll never do business with you again. Or else I’ll …..blah blah blah ”
Clients will always use the term asap, it’s not their fault, it’s in their DNA and that’s the way they emphasise how fast they want a role filled. It’s our mistake for thinking otherwise. Reality is it’s upto us to get a specific start date and check the ramifications of this role not starting on schedule. It’s important to understand the effect this vacancy has on the existing team and (if practical & possible) get a temp fill in until then. Most important, it’s for us to qualify the job’s importance and what precedence it takes in our list of priorities.
This consultant rushed into the process with a half baked assignment and ended up making a complete hash of it. Whilst noting a job order, a start date is crucial and fundamental, yet she got blinded by asap - that horrendous 4 letter word !
“What specific date do you have in mind to get someone on board” followed by a couple more qualifying questions would have got her on track. And occasionally, when we come across, “I need someone to start yesterday” (sound familiar?) “Well then client, perhaps you should have called me the day before yesterday”