How to Know When to Park a Role in Recruitment

The recruitment industry is consistently busy if you work the market to your advantage, and with industries from IT to Clinical reporting skills gaps it’s only going to get busier. There are hundreds of clients you could be working with on thousands of jobs, so is it ever ok to park a role and focus on other things? In my opinion – when the time is right – absolutely yes! When is the time right I hear you ask? Let’s go with an age old Friends analogy for this one…

blog-image-friends-jobsThe One Where You’re Too Busy to Think

You get into work at 6am in an effort to clear your inbox before more emails start coming through at 9am, your work phone is on loud and permanently fully charged in case of emergencies, and you’re beginning to burn out.

This is one of the primary reasons to say no to an extra job on the table; the more you take on, the less likely you are to fill it. Maintain a good relationship with your clients and manage their expectations by setting realistic targets for when you’ll have updates on the jobs you’re already working on. Take in the new job and advertise it – if you are busy with roles that are more secure then leave it there, no active resourcing. If you receive applications and they look good, then by all means follow them up, but give yourself some breathing space and prioritize the jobs that are offering you a more secure payback.

The One Where You Don’t Know the Discipline

You’re working with one client and you’ve placed 3 candidates in the Clinical sector over the course of only one week (well done you!), and they offer you the chance to work on a role in a notoriously competitive sector that you know nothing about. Weigh up your chances of being able to network in super quick time in a sector you know nothing about against your chances of being able to find people for roles you know inside out with your other clients. Yes, it’s great to go the extra mile for your clients, but if that means losing out on filling a role for another client then think about which has higher long term earning potential.

The One Where You Don’t Know the Market

A similar episode to ‘The One Where You Don’t Know the Discipline’ – you have worked in the UK market for your entire career, you have recently specialised in the Oil & Gas sector in Aberdeen, and your biggest client asks you to recruit for a role in Houston, Texas. You can look at this two ways, and the timing depends on the likely outcome:

  1. Your company is growing rapidly, you’re ready to take on extra headcount and you’ve done some research into potential other markets to move in to – if this is the case then call it luck, hard work or just plain coincidence, this may be the starting point you’ve been waiting for.

  2. You are gradually getting more jobs on the board and there’s no sign of demand letting up, you’re regularly placing candidates in your sector and as much as it’s hard work, you’re enjoying where you’re at. In this case attempting to break into a completely new market from thousands of miles away is probably going to be more hassle than it’s worth, again advertise it and monitor any applications that come through.


So the cliché goes, it’s better to be the Jack of None and the Master of One! Prioritise well, focus on those priorities and deviate from your tasks only when you really need to – don’t be pulled by the excitement of working on jobs you don’t have time for, or simply don’t know.

GIF Credits: Tumblr and

Heidi Gardner

Heidi is PhD student at the University of Aberdeen. Her research focuses on the issues surrounding the recruitment of patients into clinical trials.

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