Most of the messages in my daily e-mail mountain are rubbish: various oiks trying to get me to buy some pointless service or hire another dimwit.
My evaluation method is simple: only open messages from people whose names you recognise, starting with the chief executive, and delete the rest. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message on the voicemail.
Lately, I must have been a bit hasty with the delete key. When I played back my voicemail messages, there was one from the chief executive asking me why I hadn’t replied to his e-mail about job profiling and recruitment delays.
I soon found said e-mail in the del-eted items folder. It said: “Managers are bombarding me with e-mails saying it’s taking longer than ever to fill even the most menial position. They say one big reason is the job profiles produced by your minions. There are lots of them and it seems most are longer than the EU constitution.
“I want to know how many profiles there are, and how many pages of A4 each takes up. Treat this is urgent: priority very red.”
Several hours later, I have the answer. Rounded down to the nearest 100, we have 500 profiles, averaging four sides of A4 each. These range from two pages for post-room delivery executive, to 20 pages for very senior managerial positions.
When I e-mail this information to the chief exec, with the addendum that job profiles are key tools for hiring the best and weeding out the rest, he tells me to reduce them all – except for the very senior posts – to just one page.
“Each page equals an extra week for the recruitment process, don’t you agree HR?”
Well of course I do – I know which side my ciabatta is buttered on. That is why the job profile for HR director must remain a concise 20 pages.