Why impatience can cost you $100k
Most mornings I go for a run along the lanes where I live. I don’t particularly like running,
but I know it’s good for me. So I’ve found ways to make it less unpleasant, I don’t expect it to be enjoyable. Usually this involves listening to some kind of recording, my preference is a drama or thriller.
Whilst on a plane this year I listened to part of a Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child. It was so exciting I had to search it out and buy the whole thing while I was away in Chicago. Now I’m working my way through the whole series while I run.
Waiting is a skill
During one of the chapters, Reacher is ambushing an unpleasant group of people who are planning to kill him. (Don’t worry; there are no plot spoilers here.)
He says: “Waiting is a skill, like anything else.” In his situation he describes how you need to think nothing, do nothing, have infinite patience and wait in a kind of trance. Then you burst into action. It made complete sense.
But it had never occurred to me that waiting was a skill. And one I really need to develop.
The most difficult part of recruitment
I always think the most difficult part of recruitment is waiting for the applicants. When you advertise sometimes you get lots of applicants, sometimes only a few. The thing to remember is you only need one. The right one.
In our process we do our best to eliminate candidates who don’t match the criteria as early as possible. We do this right from the start with the advert. This means that you get fewer candidates. However, it saves your time and it saves the time applicants who really would not have liked the job.
Of course, this makes the waiting worse. Getting lots of applicants, even if they are no good at all, somehow makes you feel better.
Sometimes it takes a while
When we’ve worked with clients who need obscure skills, sometimes it’s taken quite a while. One of our clients got just four applicants over a couple of months, but one was exactly the person they were looking for. We had another who got just one serious applicant, but again, she turned out to be the just what they wanted.
“Marry in haste, repent at leisure.”
We’ve had some clients who needed posts filling as “soon as possible”. I know they are desperate, but I also know that’s the easiest way to make a mistake.
You can always justify why you should cut corners when you are desperate. When I worked out the cost of doing that with a client just today, we realized it he agreed that he would never do it again. However, knowing him, I promised to remind him of the costs next time (between $100k and $200k over just a few short months).
Learning how to wait
So I’m working on this skill. Here are the tips I have so far – if you have any to add, please let me know.
- Be prepared for waiting and plan to wait – in other words remind yourself how long it can really take to get the results you are looking for
- Remind yourself of the cost of being hasty
- Remind yourself of the rewards you’ll get if you wait for the right person
- Distract yourself with other things (but don’t eat too much chocolate)
- Practice, practice, practice
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