The Art of Following Directions
Recently, I was tasked with securing an administrative assistant for a company with whom I am working. Within two hours I had received 25 resumes, and approximately 150 total. Once I sorted through the emails from bubbles@….., and the one’s with smiley faces in the subject line (btw, those were deleted without opening), I began a screening process. I selected a group of candidates and replied with an email. The job demanded email communications and an ability to closely follow instructions. I described the job thoroughly and requested they tell me why they would be a good fit for the job. Also, I instructed them to place the word ‘Interview’ in the subject line. It was disappointing that one of the best candidates failed to follow the instructions. They were highly educated, but would not fit the job because these were the type of directions that would be critical.
A month ago, I submitted a request for technical support (don’t you love those). Three days later, I received a reply that was so far off target it was laughable. After a few days, I received an email from the tech asking why I gave him such a negative review. I resent my original request, and stated, ‘Did you even read the question?’ Within twelve hours he answered the original question and apologized. I obliged by amending my review.
Finally, I just received an article I had request to be written from a site that employees individuals for blog and website content. I just shook my head in unbelief. I had requested a positive article on a subject, and was dismayed that the writer had emphasized every other alternative to the topic, with high recommendation. Again, ‘Did you read the instructions?’.
In today’s fast paced culture it is more and more difficult to find individuals that read the complete details of a request, job order, or email. But, it can be the biggest difference between being successful, or shaking your head in unbelief when your customers, clients, and potential employers look past you.
Skimming, scanning, text, and tweeting are great for personal endeavors. But, completely reading a document is more suitable in the business world.
-written by James Anderson