Today’s post may appear at first glance to be an assault on hiring managers, but nothing could be farther from the truth. As eager as they are to fill open positions and keep business running, hiring managers can unintentionally sabotage the hiring process. Because of their importance to the project, a ill-prepared hiring manager can have a huge impact on whether or not you can get someone into that seat quickly. Here are five things hiring managers do (nearly always unintentionally) to derail your recruiting.
1. Failure to Communicate
Most experienced hiring managers know exactly who they’re looking for, but knowing and articulating are two different things. As difficult as it can be to pin down some of the intangible qualities of a great candidate, hiring managers must do as much as they can to communicate to recruiters and human resources partners the kind of individual they’re looking for. Talk to your recruiter or HR to define compatible personalities, must-have skills, and expectations for the position. Your recruiting partners can administered personality assessments, skill tests, and deep dive interviews to narrow down your list before you waste time interviewing candidates that won’t be a good fit.
And while we’re at it, return your HR partner’s emails! We hear from HR folks all the time about hiring managers who won’t call them back or respond to their emails in a timely fashion. The biggest key to placing a candidate quickly is efficiency of communication. Seriously, it’s why it’s up here at Number One.
2. Bad Interview Skills
Just because you’re a hiring manager, doesn’t mean you are automatically an expert interviewer. Here is some advice I wish I’d had the foresight to give my clients when I first started out in recruiting.
- Be polite like your mamma taught you. It should go without saying, but sometimes it doesn’t. Remember that the candidates you’re interviewing are also interviewing you. What’s more, you might be working with these folks someday. Avoid derogatory comments about the interviewee, even if you feel justified in thinking them.
- Promote the company and the position. Sometimes hiring managers forget that interviews are one of the most vital places for you to strengthen your employer brand. The first on-site interview will set the standard for how future employees feel about your company. Don’t let the first impression go to waste!
3. Not understanding position-fit
You probably understand pretty well who you want in the position, but sometimes hiring managers neglect to find out who will work best with the team. The most successful projects involve input from multiple stakeholders including hiring managers, HR, and the candidate’s peers and teammates. By taking the time to understand how your new hire will slot into the team, you can help ensure they will be compatible with the norms and processes of your company. Spend some time speaking with the candidate’s potential coworkers and ask them if there are any must-haves or red flags they’d like you to consider. Not only will this help you find a candidate who is a good fit for your team’s dynamic, you’ll win bonus points with your employees for listening to their needs!
4. Getting greedy
Ask a hiring manager about their perfect candidate and their eyes get wild like a kid in a candy store. Unfortunately “perfect” and “achievable” are two entirely different things. One of the most significant mistakes we see hiring managers make is being too greedy and too inflexible about their ideal candidate. Most job descriptions are lists of wants, not lists of realities. Chances are, your perfect candidate doesn’t exist – or if they do, they’re on the other side of the country, making too much already, or one of a hundred possible reasons you’ll never land them.
Hiring managers will benefit greatly from relaxing on some of their must-haves and doubling down on the qualities that will actually ensure a candidate’s success in the role. Talk with your team and your recruiter about your requirements and examine them for unnecessary or unrealistic qualifications. You wouldn’t believe how many hiring managers we speak with that have conflicting job requirements. A candidate with 15 years of experience and a Master’s degree won’t accept an entry-level salary, Bob! If you find someone with 80% of what you need, congratulations, you’re luckier than most. Hire ‘em and move on.
5. Not following the process
Process? We don’t need no stinking process! That’s the vibe I get from most of the hiring managers I speak with. “We see someone we like, we hire them.” Sounds simple enough. But hold on a second. Head down the hall to talk with HR and you’ll hear a different story. Whether it’s loose or strict, your company has (or needs to have!) some kind of process for hiring a new employee. There are often company policies and even legal requirements that get shoved aside in a hiring manager’s haste to get someone in the seat quickly. All of the stakeholders in a hiring project should meet to discuss the hiring process before starting interviews. Human resources is the most often neglected, with HR partners telling us that hiring managers skip procedure when it’s inconvenient, make salary promises that are incompatible with the budget, or fail to notify candidates of employee policies and application requirements.