Recruiter, Is Your Perception Reality?

by | Jul 27, 2022

What if your perception is wrong?

Writing this in a cooler temperature, it’s hard to believe that the UK and most of Europe was sweltering just one week ago.

Just one week ago it was 38°C (100°F) at 3pm here in London. But my Springer Spaniel didn’t understand that. He wanted to go to the park. He was desperate.

It was 3pm!



As we were walking back from the park, a woman called out to me from the middle of the road. In fact, she went out of her way to stop me and share her perception of what she saw.

‘Don’t you know that dogs can burn their paws in 38°C heat? You’re so selfish!’

I replied, ‘He wanted a poo.’

Accusingly she replied, ‘You’re so selfish!’ as she judgementally stormed off.



As an Australian, I know a lot about hot weather. I have memories of burning my legs on vinyl seats as a kid! I know the sun can heat things, including pavements, to the point where you can fry an egg on them. But just by looking at me you can’t tell that I am an Australian. Until we speak, nor can you know that I am someone who truly understands.

Before we left, I contemplated keeping Banjo here in our slightly-cooler home but he was in distress. Think about the last time you needed a toilet urgently and couldn’t get to one. Now consider explaining to a dog, ‘Sorry, you will have to wait. It’s 38°C!’

In a predicament, I chose to take him out briefly. Just long enough for him to do his business. As much as possible we avoided the hot pavement, stayed in the shade, and walked on the grass. About 10 minutes later, we turned to head home. I was relieved to get us out of the heat, and the smoke coming from the Wennington, Slade Green & Dartford fires. 😢

Ironically, I’d just said to Banjo, ‘Right, which is the safest way back?’ when I was met with the unfounded accusations, because what she failed to see was:

  • the concern I had for him as I raced us across hot pavements and so on.
  • my cap – would someone who invested in a cap for charity, that states ‘Make Humanity Great Again‘, let their dog fry? 🙄
  • my avoiding the ever present glass that can cut his paws at any temperature. 😡


Sticks & stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me!

Bollocks. People calling you things that are unwarranted (which really only serves to show you how they see themselves) riles and names can certainly hurt.

People making judgements, without knowing the full facts, is all too common. And ultimately we have no control over what other people think about us, and trying to please everyone is pointless… so why am I going on about this?

Because my mind keeps making a correlation between how I seemed and the truth, and the job we do as recruiters.



Day in, day out, we make snap decisions based on someone’s ability to write a CV or LinkedIn profile.

And what if that perception is wrong? What aren’t we seeing? What don’t we know?

Day in, day out, we make snap decisions based on the information we gained in the intake strategy session. (See Chapter 5 – Edition 2 is out next week! 🥳)

And what if our perception of the role is wrong? What if what we thinking the hiring manager wants, isn’t what they want at all?


Dig deeper

I know you’re time poor. I know you’ve too many roles. I know [insert your reason].

But you will have far more success if you either stopped or reduced taking things at face value and dug deeper. More open questions. More willingness to be vulnerable. More asking the questions that feel stupid, which lead to more understanding. More being the curious toddler who asks until they understand.

Dig, dig, dig.

Question your reactions. Question your thinking. Question your perception.

Don’t be like the person who called me selfish. Be the person who looks for evidence that their perception is reality.


P.S. Launching in August, I’ll be leading The Collective, a coaching & mentoring space for human-centric recruiters. It’s for those who want a safe place amongst peers to improve their hiring manager relationships & candidate experience.


Originally posted on LinkedIn in the Recruitment Isn’t Broken newsletter. For more, be sure to subscribe below, grab Edition 2 of The Robot-Proof Recruiter, check out The Collective, and listen to The Hiring-Partner Perspective.


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