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”

Views: 196

Comment by Doug Boswell on April 18, 2011 at 11:52am
For employers, the term ASAP (I like to call it a "term" since it has become more that just an "acronym", but its still less than a "word") is a motivator, a tool. It is their match to light a fire under the recruiter. Perhaps they are just passing it down the line; from hiring manager to HR to you. In an employer's market, with so many ASAIGAR hiring decisions (ASAIGAR = As Soon As I'm Good And Ready), it is so nice to hear ASAP. But, as you point out Alban, it has the potential effect of sending a recruiter off on a wild goose chase, as they react instead of respond. Thanks for the reminder that we all need to stick to our proven methodologies to be sure we are able to do our jobs effectively. I was once advised by a hugely successful practitioner of our craft to never work on a job the same day you get it. Though I've not always followed that advice, remembering that conversation has always kept me from starting a search without doing all the ground work first.
Comment by Alban on April 18, 2011 at 7:17pm
You make a very good point Doug. I've not come across ASAIGAR and that's only because here in Australia the term ASAP is so commonly used. It's a shame when you see consultants spend time, energy & money working on unqualified jobs, only because a client said, ASAP !! If only they would so much as as take a step back and qualify.      
Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on April 25, 2011 at 2:42pm

This is what I do when someone says ASAP.


Ok my client I am going to stop ever search and clear my desk to just work on your job to fill is this what I am hearing. If and only if he says yes do I drop everything....


try it

Comment by Martin H.Snyder on April 25, 2011 at 3:41pm
I use ASAFP at least once a day.....


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