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The Top 5 Mistakes Hiring Managers Make
Thursday, Oct 20, 2016

The hiring process can vary wildly from company to company. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, every organization has their own values and definitions of a good hire. What’s troubling however is when the hiring process is drawn out, adding to job seeker frustrations and to the length of time a position is left vacant. A souring experience with an inaccurate job posting, a disappointing interview or confusing onboarding can not only upset the relationship between recruiters and hiring managers internally, but can also greatly affect your business’ bottom line. Perhaps not surprisingly, 69 percent of candidates are less likely to buy from a company after a bad hiring experience. Luckily, just as many are more likely to be a brand patron if they were treated with respect during the interview process.

There is a lot of power in the selection of future employee contributors. Hiring managers should take this responsibility seriously, taking care to avoid common pitfalls and improve internal processes. Here are five mistakes that hiring managers can easily fix to help streamline the entire process and make their jobs easier in the end.

1. They don’t effectively communicate their needs with recruiters.

According to an iCIMS study, 80 percent of recruiters think they have a "high" to "very high" understanding of the jobs for which they recruit, yet 61 percent of hiring managers say that recruiters have, at best, a "low" to "moderate understanding.” This disconnect is troubling as it suggests that recruiters and hiring managers have very different ideas of how to best fill an open position. If recruiters don’t know what a successful employee looks like in this role, according to your opinion and expertise, how can they be expected to serve up worthy candidates?

Consider building your relationship with your designated recruiter offline to establish more rapport and a deeper understanding of each other’s work. Just fifteen minutes chatting in person or over the phone about the role, its impact on your team and the types of personalities that would complement existing coworkers provides meaningful, actionable guidance to start the recruiting process on the right path. If you have to communicate via email or internal forms exclusively, be thoughtful and provide as much context as possible. Identify desirable soft skills, specify deal breakers, and be detailed.

2. They don’t prep for the interview.

We put a lot of expectations on job candidates: dress professionally, print your resume, arrive early, give a firm handshake, maintain eye contact, research, prepare examples or bring a portfolio. Sometimes you have to turn the table however and think about what the candidate is seeing on the other side. If the interviewer shows up and seems disinterested, regularly checking their phone or watch, or is sitting with arms crossed and a chilly disposition, it sends a message to the candidate that their time is being wasted. Either you’ve already decided that they’re not getting the job, or the work environment you’re projecting is one that isn’t particularly welcoming. Not the best first impression.

Prior to the interview, the recruiter has provided a resume and prescreening feedback regarding the candidate. Use all of these resources to your advantage to tailor the interview to the job seeker’s individual experience. If you can come prepared to the interview with knowledge of the candidate’s background, you can skip the more generic “tell me about yourself” intros and ask more specific questions, for example, “I see that you were promoted recently. Can you recap the process behind a major project that contributed to this recognition?” This way, you are using the time allotted to your highest advantage, as well as the candidate’s.

3. They aren’t responsive.

Candidates say only 40 percent of their applications ever receive a response, and only 14% of applicants feel that companies have been responsive. This is a problem. If you want to maintain an ongoing, rich supply of new talent and protect your employer brand, your talent acquisition practices have to be friendly and fair. Granted, much of this falls on the shoulders of recruiters to make sure they respond to applications received and keep job candidates in the loop throughout the interview process.

Hiring managers still play an important role here.  The average resume, once submitted, spends 37 percent of the hiring process with the hiring manager. To help reduce time-to-fill and support recruiters in bringing in a strong supply of top talent, be prompt with feedback. Even better, if you’re applicant tracking system offers a mobile hiring manager-specific app, download it and use it. Imagine how much time you’ll save being able to give feedback on resumes and approve job offers on the go!

4. Their idea of a perfect-fit candidate is too rigid.

If you’re not aware of the term “purple squirrel,” it is commonly used by recruiters to refer to an elusive job candidate with precisely the right experience, education, etc. to perfectly fit into an open role. A purple squirrel is a great candidate in theory because they would fit seamlessly into the company culture and could jump into the role with little training; but they only really exist in theory. In reality, it’s highly unlikely that a recruiter will be able to find talent that fits ALL of your wants and requirements.

Don’t be discouraged by that. In fact, you may find that there are skills and personality traits that you hadn’t considered before, but once you see them in person, something will click. There’s beauty in the unexpected, so make sure you’re open to someone different than you were initially envisioning.

5. They take a back seat for onboarding. 

Much like resume reviewing and interview feedback covered above, hiring managers have a much bigger impact on onboarding than most people would suspect. Although job seekers spend most of the hiring process in regular contact with the recruiter, they will spend their employment working with the hiring manager. It’s important to create this early bond with new hires in order to bring them into the organization effectively and set them up for long-term success.

Companies should begin the onboarding process before day one. Create materials that can be shared with your new hire before their first day to help them learn the layout of the organization, the specifics of their role and any corporate terms or concepts they should become familiar with. That way, they can start their first day with more confidence, and you can spend that time getting to know them versus filing paperwork.