Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Third Agreement

Agreement 3:
Don’t make assumptions - Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

This is the third of Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements. The first one is “Be impeccable with you word, speak with integrity”. Number two is “Don’t take anything personally”.
And now we have number three: “Don’t make assumptions”.

What is making an assumption? According to the dictionary the act of assuming means “to take as granted or true”. So let’s not assume that Ruiz’s third agreement is applicable in all cases. I think there are three kinds of assumptions: good, bad and uncertain. Good assumptions are based on what is true or at least very likely to be true. It’s ok to make good assumptions. Good assumptions keep life moving along. I assume that flying from Dallas to Los Angeles is faster than walking. I don’t need to ask a lot of questions or test that theory. I take it as granted or true. Flying from Dallas to Houston is also faster than walking. I take it as granted or true. On the other hand, flying from Dallas to Houston may NOT be faster than driving from Dallas to Houston. That assumption would be uncertain. Assuming that I could personally fly a plane anywhere would be a bad assumption.

Headhunters must always be wary of making assumptions. That’s why the best headhunters ask a lot of questions. Some of the worst assumptions a headhunter can make with a candidate include:
· Assuming that the candidate’s resume is totally accurate (we talked about that with Agreement 1).
· Assuming that when the candidate says they would never accept a counter offer they really mean it.
· Assuming that when a candidate says they are wide open on relocation that means they would really move anywhere.
· Assuming that a candidate’s compensation requirements are set in stone.
· Assuming that the candidate is telling the truth.

And headhunters need to be equally careful with assumptions about clients (employers).
· Assume that employers will ONLY consider candidates who meet the job requirements.
· Assume that employers will EVEN consider candidates who meet the job requirements.
· Assume that employers will actually pay your fee. (Get it in writing).
· Assume that the compensation for the position is set in stone.
· Assume that the client is telling the truth.

So we ask questions, a lot of questions. And we observe behavior. And we learn from past experiences. You should do likewise. DO NOT:
· Assume that headhunters find jobs for people. (We do not, we find people to fill jobs for our clients).
· Assume that if you respond to enough job board postings you will find a job. (The vast majority of professional positions are filled via networking and personal referrals.)
· Assume that your headhunter knows what you want. (We are not mind readers. If we fail to ask the questions, you should not fail to give us the answers.)
· Assume that headhunters will keep working with uncooperative clients or candidates just on the off chance they might make a placement someday. (Time is money and headhunters will invest their time working with people who value the service and respond accordingly.)

Assuming that you are still reading this, I assume that you will be back next week for the Fourth Agreement. (Probably an uncertain assumption at best).

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