Advice From A Pro: What Every Hiring Manager Should Be Told

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Oct 2, 2014
This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.

The time that good candidates are on the market is shorter than it’s ever been.

The number of good candidates that are on the market is fewer than it’s been in 10 years.

The money you paid two years ago or even one year ago won’t get the kind of candidate you really want.

Candidates are not as prone to fill out online applications as they used to be.

Candidates won’t talk to your 22-year-old corporate recruiter whose job it is to screen them.

Candidates are not going to go to your  tracking portal to apply for your job.

Talk to the Candidate

Candidates don’t want to talk to anyone but the hiring authority. Why? Because the other people who are trying to hire this candidate are having their managers talk with them directly. The candidate you like is being considered by at least three other organizations; he or she has many choices.

If you tell a candidate that you’re going to get back to them by a certain time, best do it. A few years ago good candidates had to put up with  being treated poorly. Not anymore. They have too many choices now. Your competition is courting them heavily.

A lowball offer is likely to be rejected.

Say Goodbye to Team Meetings

“We want you to meet the team just so you can get a feel for our company,” has a different translation for top talent. The REAL TRUTH is: “So they can possibly eliminate you as competition.” This request will be ignored or outright refused by candidates. The majority of the time they are employed and are getting so many “real” interviews, they don’t need or take the time for team meetings.

Candidates are more likely to receive counteroffers than they ever have in the past.

Candidates may not have an updated resume. In this market, they may not need one. Please don’t recite the mantra, “Well if they’re serious about looking for a job they’ll have a new resume.” Their “seriousness” simply depends on if the opportunity you have allows them to better themselves.

Assume that if you’re going to make a candidate an offer, so are two other organizations.

Candidates won’t tolerate the “nine person interviewing process that we have to have in order to be careful and be sure we hire the right person.” They don’t have to put up with this anymore. Your competition is interviewing them no more than three times and making them an offer —  and doing it quickly!

Candidates don’t have to consider “temp-to-perm” types of opportunities. There are so many companies willing to hire them permanently from the get-go. While you’re trying to be “careful” by hiring them “temp-to-perm,” your competitor is making a long term commitment, with benefits that start immediately.

Sell Your Job

Give candidates real good reasons why they ought to be going to work for you. The idea that “anyone would be lucky to work here” just doesn’t fly anymore.

Treat every candidate as though they were being ‘recruited’; happy with their job;with a number of suitors and choices.

Your interviewing cycle needs to be short. Anything beyond 10 working days is a risk. Your competition is moving faster than that.

Tell your HR recruiting department to respectfully get out of the way. Their protective compliance activities are costing you candidates. They really don’t think about how hard it is to find these folks, they don’t have quotas. No one in their department complains about having to do the work of two people while you are trying to fill a vacancy. They’re trying to protect their job by telling you they are helping you.

Also, talk to the candidate directly. If candidates have to go through your H.R./recruiter/admin./office manager/screener, etc., they don’t feel loved and will be more likely to go to work for hiring managers who establish a personal rapport with them.

Please stop saying to candidates that, “Hiring is one of the most important things I do…,” then act like hiring them is not a high priority by not returning their calls, keeping in touch with them, postponing a decision, keeping them in the dark, going silent, etc.

No Purple Squirrels

Stop looking for Mr. or Ms. Perfect — the purple squirrel who doesn’t really exist or, if they do, they are happily employed and making more money than you can afford. It will take you months to come to the conclusion that you’re not going to find this perfect person and you’d best try to hire the best athlete you can find — the person who has been a winner at most everything they’ve ever done but, just not in the exact area you are searching.  In the time it takes to find Mr. or Ms. Perfect, you can hire one of these best athletes and train them.

Try to avoid writing a wish list of requirements that reflect your fear of hiring the wrong person. We got one of these lists the other day and it had 32 items on it. The vice president who sent it to us laughed, saying that he’s not sure why he wrote all this stuff down and that even he didn’t have all of these requirements. He didn’t know of anyone who did.

Image: SOMMAI /
This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.
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