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How a Recruiter Can Set You Up For Bad Decision-Making

Take the job offer or walk away?  In this recruiting scenario, most people act like teenagers. 


Today’s job market is crazy. Just about everyone is hiring. There’s a recruiter in everyone’s direct messages.

Maybe you like your job, but you’re hearing stories about your friends getting new jobs or raises because of the current market conditions, and it makes you wonder what might be out there for you.

With more remote-work options also in play, it’s a new game with expanded geographic opportunities that weren’t available even just a year or two ago.

Recruiters know this is a great market and they have become even more active recently.  It’s easy for them to check LinkedIn profiles for Candidates and there are “Help Wanted” listings just about everywhere.

Unfortunately, the typical scenario you’re going to see when being recruited is designed to set you up for worse decision-making than that of a typical teenager.

Does that sound crazy?!?  Sadly, it’s true.

The Typical Recruiter Scenario

Here’s how it happens:

  • Someone reaches out to you via email or LinkedIn. No pressure — just a potentially interesting opportunity for you. They build rapport with a few exchanges and suggest having a Zoom meeting for “just a conversation”.
  • The “conversation” goes well and the next thing you know, you’ve had a couple of them with different members of their Team and it starts to feel more serious and specific.
  • An offer is sent to you and after all the buildup of conversations, you know you should take it seriously.  While you “weren’t even looking,” this seemed to just “fall in your lap” and now you’ve found yourself in a quandary.

Does that sound familiar? Could you see it happening to you?

Do you think the offer is going to be for more or less money than you’re currently making?!?  Of course, it’s going to be more!

Now you get to decide, “Yes!” or “No.” And that’s how you are set up to make a worse decision than that of your typical teenager.

Why is that the case?

What Would a Teenager Do In The Recruiter Scenario?!

Here’s the deal. Plenty of research has been done on Decision-Making in Business.

One famous study by Paul Nutt explored a large group of corporate decisions.  Of that group of decisions, over 70% were binary decisions … meaning it was simply a matter of, “Should we do it?” or “Shouldn’t we?”

When studying the outcomes, more than half of those decisions turned out to be bad decisions … performance slightly worse than the similarly studied group of average teenagers!

The study went on to show that by adding just one other option, the failure rate was cut by half … to about 30%.

It’s pretty simple:

  • More options lead to better options.
  • Better options lead to better decisions.
  • Better decisions lead to more successful outcomes.

So, you ask, what does this have to do with our Recruiter scenario?

The Recruiter has intentionally put you in a binary decision situation. Should you take the new job offer or stay where you are now?

Few people will put on the brakes and look for other options.  Hopefully, if that happened to you now, you’d know to do that.

Your job is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make and to allow yourself to stay in a binary mode puts you in teenager company … not ideal.

Yes, you “weren’t looking” and it just “fell in your lap” when the Recruiter led you down this path, but you don’t have to go along with it.

What Should You Do Instead In The Recruiter Scenario?

The fact is, if you were actually open to getting a new job, you would hopefully set up a much more rigorous process.

It would probably be something like this:

  • Start a search based some key criteria — job title, location, industry, size, reputation, etc.
  • Narrow the list to 10-15 potential employers and check their Glassdoor reviews
  • Submit online applications for listed positions and schedule some initial interviews
  • Narrow the list to the top 3-5 options as you go through their hiring processes before narrowing it down to the final 3 to make a decision

At the end of that process, the likelihood of making a successful decision goes up dramatically.

Unfortunately, the Recruiter doesn’t want competition for the job they’re offering you. They want you to say yes because that’s their job — recruiting new hires!

Would You Buy a Car That Way?!

Imagine if someone used a similar method to sell you a car.  They’d show up in your driveway with a car that appeared slightly nicer than yours and offer to trade.

Does anyone shop for a car like that? Maybe a teenager?!?

Manufacturing Professionals Should Use Solid Decision-Making Processes

As a Manufacturing Professional, especially a good one, you’re going to be in demand in the marketplace.

If you would be open to considering a new job, just make sure you use a solid process to make the best decision possible. You may discover that you’re already in the right spot.

But certainly, please don’t fall for the binary decision trap that Recruiters like to set for you.

Your job is simply too important of a decision.

Once you find yourself down that path, put on the brakes. If it’s made you think you might want to consider a new job, start a solid process that will give you plenty of options.

None of us can afford to make choices like a teenager … especially when it’s an important decision like your job!