Every recruitment is urgent. Until you ask for a job description.

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It is a lazy Friday afternoon, you’re about to shut down your laptop and head home. Suddenly your phone rings. It is your client /hiring manager/delivery manager (choose the correct answer) calling. You don’t suspect anything, it’s Friday after all. They must be calling to wish you a great weekend.

“Quick!!! I need fifteen SAP consultants/Java developers/general ledger accountants with Japanese language!!!” (again, pick the one that applies to you most) “Ok, no problem. When are they due to start?” – you ask, still suspecting nothing. “Are you kidding?! Yesterday! And hey, the business wants to see some profiles still today, so please share them ASAP!”

Sounds familiar? Until you leave the office, several service delivery managers will give you a call or drop an e-mail (with lots of people you’ve never met on CC) saying how crucial these roles are and insisting to see some profile still tonight.

Your head is spinning, tears are running down your cheeks and you want to scream. At times like this it is very tempting to search your entire database and immediately call all candidates who match the title. You will also post the positions on job-boards, hoping someone would apply over the weekend. Don’t do that. Ever.

Your first reaction should be: “Good, share the job description and the salary grids. And with whom can I have the role-briefing call? This will take approximately fourty minutes.” And until you receive this info, you do not make a single move to start sourcing. And you need to be very specific talking to whoever requests you to start it.

I see a lot of recruiters rushing to do the search immediately after having received the requisition. I used to do that, too, back in a day. But this is a shortcut to contacting wrong candidates and – what’s even worse – presenting them to the hiring manager.

Push back and request all the job details, and do not hesitate to get back to the business as many times as required. Explain, why you would not start the search – they do not recruit and simply don’t know what is required to match their expectations with the talent they need. It will save them a lot of time looking at completely irrelevant profiles.

But first of all, you will win some time for yourself. Unless we are talking about reoccurring roles (in this case sorry – you will have to get right to the search), the business or hiring manager do not have the candidate’s profile specified. Relax, it will take them few days to figure it out.

You may think that it will be poorly received if you refuse doing the search immediately. The first time, it might be. This is why it is important to tell the manager exactly why you need all the details and how much time it will save for them. Another reason you need a really good jd is your own reputation. If you fail to match the desired candidate profile, your ability to search might be questioned.

Personally, I prefer to receive a written job description from my client and then to schedule a meeting or a call (I usually schedule 45 minutes) to go through it and clarify all my doubts.

If this is a project or a client you have no previous experience with, it is a good idea to find out more about the company culture and who the team already consists of.

All in all; next time you are requested to recruit someone “for yesterday” ask for a detailed job description. You will see how crucial it really is.

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