“Who’s on First?”

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on June 20, 2014

Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on first?” skit is perhaps one of the funniest comedy routines ever.  If you are not familiar with “Who’s on first?”, do your self a favor and check it out on Youtube.com or one of the other online video search engines.

“Who’s on first” is subtly clever and good clean fun.  A timeless comedic gem.

However if you take the time to dissect “Who’s on first,” the comedic value lies in the miscommunication between Abbott and Costello.  Simply put, we find two people frustrated at each other for not being able to communicate clearly the names and details of a fictitious baseball team.

Miscommunication between 2 people….sounds familiar right? For Abbott and Costello it’s funny however; in real life it’s not so funny.  Especially in our working environment.

Miscommunication is aggravating and sometimes disastrous.

The majority of working Americans lead busy lives and it is easy to forget that we need to be absolutely clear when we communicate, especially in our work relationships.

Here is an example that happened to me recently in my world of professional recruitment.  As you know, Professional Recruiters do not find jobs for people, we find people for jobs.

One of my esteemed healthcare clients called a candidate that I submitted for one of their critical job openings to arrange an interview.  My client (a very busy Executive) called my candidate directly and for whatever reason, there was miscommunication with regard to the time and date they planned to meet for an interview.


I then received a phone call from my frustrated client (with whom I had submitted my candidate) that my candidate not only did not show for the job interview- but failed to even call to inform that there was a problem!

A “no show and a no call.”  A nightmare.

When I called my applicant to find out why the “no show and no call” he said that his understanding was that the interview with my client was scheduled for the next day.  He was adamant about the time and date that was agreed upon for the interview.

It would appear that there was simply an honest mistake by one of the two parties. Right?

Perhaps.  Obviously there was a total communication breakdown.

However, my client didn’t buy it and said that he was absolutely clear about when the interview was to take place and yet, my applicant said that he too was absolutely clear when the meeting was to take place.

Who is right?  Does it even matter?

What does matter is the misunderstanding.  The lack of clear concise communication.   Maybe confirmation prior to the meeting could have prevented this mishap.  Prior confirmation can be critically important to prevent potential miscommunication.

Perhaps we should incorporate a confirmation after we make an appointment or create a meeting.  Have you scheduled an appointment lately?  Why not confirm the day before with regard to the details of where and when?

It just might save you from a potential problem.  Things change and our schedules get filled quickly.

In our personal lives when we make an appointment at a doctor’s or dentist’s office in many cases we hear back from their office a day before reminding us that we have an appointment.  Confirmation.

Time is valuable for all of us.  There is simply no room for miscommunication.

So what have I personally learned from the fiasco that happened with my client?

From now on, whenever my clients arrange an interview with a candidate that I have submitted, I put it on my own calendar and I call my candidate to confirm the appointment on behalf of my client employer.

This leaves little room for a “who’s on first” scenario.

I am Bernie Reifkind, CEO and founder of Premier Search, Inc. I can be reached at 1(800) 801-1400 or email at ceo@psihealth.com.  I welcome your phone call.



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