I inadvertently took a trip down memory lane when telling a colleague how I got into recruiting and what it was like just 10 years prior. When I first got into recruiting, the country was in the midst of a comeback following the great recession and, luckily, the organization I was with was growing rapidly. To be honest, I was on the recruiting gravy train with pools of qualified candidates, a lack of competition, a low time-to-fill rate, and extremely low employee turnover.
Today is a completely different landscape that has forced talent acquisition professionals to become more strategic, while the rest of the organization is forced to overcome cultural challenges to retain and develop talent.
With all of this change, one thing has remained a constant: hiring managers.
No matter how much we talk about the candidate-driven market or record low unemployment, I still hear the same things from hiring teams that I heard 10 years ago!
Here are my top 4 “constants” that you should be prepared to discuss during your intake meetings, every time:
- There is no such thing as the “Candidate Tree”
It never ceases to amaze me when a wish list of candidate requirements comes my way, and the hiring manager has a 3-week fill goal. No problem, let me go pluck a candidate off the candidate tree–that’s how this works, right?
To help avoid unreasonable candidate profiles coupled with a tight time-to-fill goal, educate hiring teams by giving insight into your current pool of candidates. While you’re at it, also explain the sourcing strategy for that specific role. So often, hiring teams are unaware of what goes into sourcing, and it doesn’t always mean we find candidates on LinkedIn or Indeed.
- “We have a newly created role, and the RIGHT candidate will define the position…”
If you’re in an organization that is experiencing high growth or, potentially, in a transformation, new positions seem to sprout daily. I often find that new positions are created or requested from hiring teams to address the symptoms of a problem (or an opportunity) that’s not fully understood.
To help our organization become more strategic with newly created positions and WHO will fill those seats, we first start with a complete performance result description (not to be confused with job posting/ad). This includes a 2-3 sentence summary of “Why this job exists” and “Key Result Areas” (also known as KPI’s, Deliverables, etc.) this individual will affect. If teams can’t explain why the role exists along with clearly defined deliverables, the role isn’t ready to be filled.
Hiring an individual to define the role isn’t a great strategy and one that can certainly backfire.
- “We need someone with 5+ years of experience”
When conducting intake meetings, we often hear hiring teams setting years of experience requirements above all else. Years of experience don’t tell the story of a candidate, the skill set they possess, nor their aptitude.
Here is how I approach this conversation and win them over every time:
Hiring Manager: We need someone with a minimum of 5 years of experience.
Recruiter: Ok, thank you for that information. If I come across a candidate that has this specific skill set and previous experience in this role but only has 2 years’ worth of experience, is it ok if I reject them as a candidate?
Hiring Manager: Well no, I would definitely like to see that candidate. If they have the right skill set and aptitude, yes I will definitely consider them.
Recruiter: Great! I will be sure to widen my search and present the candidate that I feel best matches the role and deliverables.
Hiring Manager: You’re so amazing and always have the answers to all of our challenges!
(This has never happened)
- Death by interview
I can certainly relate to wanting to be 100% sure that we’re considering the right candidate and also wanting an inclusive decision process. However, there is a clear line between just right and too much. I’ve been in this situation when hiring for my own teams. We want to make sure we get it right, but you have to ask yourself, will one additional interview change the decision?
The process of putting candidates through 8 interviews and 2 weeks of waiting just doesn’t work anymore. Your delay may be interpreted as disinterest. If that candidate is as good as you think, they’ve probably got other interviews lined up or perhaps even offers on the table.
To avoid this situation, I set the stage during the intake meeting and discuss the importance of speed in our decision process. It’s not just for the organization’s benefit; too many interviews can lead to poor candidate experience.
- There is no such thing as the “Candidate Tree”
Look, these top four “constants” are why recruiting exists.
If time tells me anything, we will be discussing these topics for years to come and often with the same hiring teams! Rather than anticipating or fearing these mindsets from hiring teams, come to embrace them and get comfortable in addressing these with your hiring teams.