As I stood drinking my coffee, gazing out of the bay windows at the sunshine streaming into the porch, listening to the subtle play of water across the pebbles of the brook in the garden and heart-warming chirruping of the birds in the trees, I found myself idly wondering whose house this was and whether the owner would mind me taking another hobnob…

Sounded like an idyllic situation right up until the last few words didn’t it? Apart from those of you who know me (and therefore know I live in a cupboard wallpapered in CVs, emerging only to drink coffee and interview) many would probably have thought that I live the high life with not a care in the world if they hadn’t viewed the whole story.

Time and again though, I see and hear of people who effectively don’t read “the last line” when either hiring new staff or deciding to take the next step in their careers. This results in recruiting the first person who comes along with a sparkly CV, or, for employees, in moving again quickly because the role they have accepted turns out to have been “missold.”

The market is picking up. Regardless of who you ask, whatever they happen to do, you’ll generally hear positivity about what’s out there. But that doesn’t mean that every job is as wonderful as it might initially be painted, and similarly the talent pool applying for these roles isn’t as incredible/voluminous as you might think, so employer and candidate alike need to pay particular attention to Rudyard Kipling when he says:

“I keep six honest serving-men:
(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Where and When
And How and Why and Who”

This tends to fly in the face of our passive English culture however. It is almost considered rude in “polite society” to push on a question, to dig deeper on one seemingly small aspect of a contract, or to enquire, you know, just in passing, why this director role is listed on the job description as reporting to the janitor…

If the agency you are working with is worth their salt, they will be able to answer your questions or source your answer. If the employer is committed to making the right hire and engaging you from the outset, they should embrace open conversation early on. And if the candidate is the right candidate, they will admit that “time off for personal and professional development” was largely spent limbo dancing in Margate.

Few people would argue that an open and honest approach is the best way to ensure that both sides in any recruitment process are fairly represented. However sometimes it takes an extra question to really satisfy a niggling doubt and guarantee that the appointment is the right one – but would you be prepared to ask it?

Brett Smitheram is Senior Consultant at Macmillan Davies, and is adamant that time in Margate was a one-off and won’t happen again.