How to Stop Lobbing Candidates Over the Wall

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Mar 14, 2017

I’ve worked with hiring managers across several sectors now and I’ve seen, Hire great talent, quickly become a constant theme. It’s all about speed to hire with a steady eye on candidate quality, right?

Still, there are times when recruiting teams can deliver value by slowing the hiring process down.

Recruiting first for a global RPO firm and now for a tech startup, my objective has always been to partner closely with my hiring managers. I want to understand exactly what they’re looking for in a candidate before I start sourcing. Lobbing candidates over the wall is something to be avoided, but sometimes it still happens. Corporate strategy adjusts direction, hiring managers change, and large contracts are won, which require an immediate ramp up of staff. When I start getting mixed or negative feedback on candidates presented, I realize that somewhere along the way we’ve come out of alignment in terms of the ideal candidate for the role. That’s when a timeout in the hiring process makes sense.

In these situations, certain tactics help bring clarity to the hiring process so I can ensure candidates in the next slate I present are on the mark:

  • Schedule another scoping discussion. I’ve been fortunate that most hiring managers see the value in a kickoff meeting to discuss the open position and their wants and needs in a new team member. One time, we had that scoping discussion when an organization decided to expand its team, but then the hiring manager changed. Companies with tech products move fast, and we lost some clarity about the position. I scheduled another scoping discussion and brought several resumes with me for the hiring manager to review. After looking them over, he was able to be more descriptive about the skills and qualifications he felt would be essential.
  • Convene a hiring team meeting. Another time, feedback from the first round of interviews made it clear there was misalignment within the hiring team. I realized there was a disconnect between managers and team members in their understanding of the role responsibilities. As a result, each group evaluated the first slate of candidates from very different perspectives. Our recruiting team stepped up as a convener and sounding board, bringing the team together to talk through the role again in light of recent changes within the company. We pushed collaboration along to reclarify the team’s objectives for this hire.
  • Ramp up communication. I’ve learned the advantages of frequent communication, especially in situations where misalignment has occurred. Increase communication as you bring the process back on track. I make a point to hold more frequent check-in conversations, and spend more time clarifying when hiring team members’ feedback feels vague. I continue to reiterate expectations, and keep the lines of communication open.

Stay True to Your Process

When hiring is running smoothly, these tactics are still valuable. I’ve had hiring managers ask to skip the scoping discussion because we’ve built a solid track record together, and they trust I understand their needs. While that’s true, I always push gently for that small investment of time up front. When the hiring leader and TA team can start off in alignment, it always moves the process along faster and ensures we’re bringing in the most qualified talent for the job.

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