The biggest obstacles that managers have to overcome when they are interviewing.

HurdlesTalking from personal experience as a Recruiter, very few hiring managers fully appreciate what it takes to find, recruit, and hire top people. This results in hiring managers forgetting their important role in the recruitment process and when things go bad, they complain it’s the recruiter’s fault. As a partner to our hiring managers, there are is a couple of things we as Recruiters can do to ensure that the partnership is successful. The first being, to counsel and educate our hiring managers on the importance of their engagement in the recruiting process. Secondly, remind them that recruiting is a process, and educate them on their role within the process; and thirdly, ensure that they understand that they have a shared accountability in collaborating with us to recruit and retain this talent.

There are a couple of common blunders that hiring managers make that can actually work against recruiting the perfect candidate.

  1. The first is that many managers feels intimidated by people who are stronger than themselves and is therefore are unable or unwilling to attract and hire what could be the perfect candidate. The truth is that best people want to work for leaders who can help them grow and develop. This problem can be minimize by openly discussing the issue, and then ensuring their candidates meet some of the manager’s best current and former team members.
  2. It is a mistake to assume that all “brilliant hires” can fit into the same mould. The second common mistake is to give too much credence to the “four A seduction factors”, people who are assertive, affable, attractive, and articulate. Other factor that needs to be considered include, the job fit, the cultural fit, and the fit with the manager’s style. Yet none of these factors predict on-the-job performance. Managers rarely consider their personality or management style when selecting team members. For the new hire, the manager’s style represents more of the company culture than any other factor. Managerial fit is the one factor rarely considered during the interview, yet it’s one of the prime contributors to underperformance
  3. Know what you are looking for and expecting from a new hire from the start. Since great people want to know what they’ll be working on and what is expected of them before taking the job. Hiring managers who don’t define the job ahead of time won’t be seeing or hiring any great people.
  4. Another common mistake is to overvalue technical brilliance. Experience sometimes speaks louder than qualifications in that getting stuff done on time and on budget, with limited direction and limited resources, is often far more important than being technically smart. Look at all of your “brilliant” hires to see if there is a tendency to hire people who over think, but under deliver. So often we have a tendency to hire people who have the qualifications, but lack motivation or need too much direction.
  5. There are different types of managers and conservative managers often demand a specific set of skills and experience before even considering a candidate. In the “real” world skills don’t predict performance. The best people accomplish more with less and that’s why they’re the best. The easiest way to rectify the blunder is to define the work by using performance-based job descriptions, rather than traditional skills-infested job descriptions. If you know anyone who was disheartened by the work they had been assigned when first hired, you’ve experienced the problem first hand.

As the experts in recruiting we are here to guide our hiring managers to understand our processes and systems and to remind them that their role is critical because at the end of the day we don’t own staffing – they do.

I leave you with these words from Russell E Palmer:

We need to stress that personal integrity is as important as executive skill in business dealings….Setting an example from the top has a ripple effect throughout a business school or a corporation.

Photo credit: AdamKR cc