(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by James Cook University (JCU), located in Australia. With over 22,000 students, JCU is a world-class university, ranked in the top 2% of tertiary institutions globally. They offer Master programs in Business Administration with special emphasis on leadership, global studies, and conflict resolution. Enjoy the article!)
In the past, we’ve talked about the things that recruiters and talent acquisition professionals need to do in order to hire the best talent. I want to shift focus today a bit and talk about the role of the hiring manager. It only makes sense because the new employee is going to work on their team. And for that reason, hiring managers need to play an active role in the hiring process. Because selecting the wrong person can be costly.
According to reports from Career Builder,74% of companies that admit they’ve hired the wrong person have lost an average of $14,900 for each bad hire. In the top two reasons that the candidate wasn’t the right fit, both involve skills. Either the candidate embellished their skills, or they weren’t trainable for the skills they needed to acquire. While performance coaching and upskilling can be an effective way of building new employee capabilities, it’s important for the hiring manager and the candidate to proactively put those plans in place, versus finding out after the offer has been made.
To avoid expensive recruiting mistakes, hiring managers need to be able to determine which candidates will be the right fit for the role. But it’s not always as easy as it looks. On the surface, the interview process may seem simple. The reality is, recruiting is complicated. Luckily, there are three strategies that hiring managers can use to maximize the hiring process and to get the best outcome for their team.
#1 – Define the role and performance expectations
I realize that no one likes to update job descriptions. That being said, a clear and concise description illustrates exactly what the open position requires, including details such as:
- Required knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs)
- Previous work experience
- Formal educational qualifications
- Other job details such as hours, responsibilities, etc.
- Application details
By making these details clear in the job posting, the candidates being screened and interviewed will know what is required. The idea being that the better that job posting, the more likely you will be interviewing suitably qualified interviewees, and the ill-fitting ones will simply opt-out of applying. An ideal time to review the job description and make any updates is during the recruiting strategy meeting (aka intake interview) with the recruiter.
Consider that the time spent preparing during the recruiting strategy meeting is an investment in a better interview. Instead of spending valuable interview time talking about details that could have been shared in the job posting, hiring managers can spend time learning more about the candidate and setting expectations.
A better job description and posting can help the organization and it can also help a candidate come to the interview more prepared. We all know that, if a candidate comes into the interview unprepared, they can get nervous, and we might not learn enough about a candidate’s KSAs. Preparing candidates not only allows the hiring manager to get the most out of the interview, but it sends the message that the company has the type of culture where people are prepared and communicative.
Finally, don’t forget – the candidate is interviewing the company too! Providing the candidate with a realistic job preview is a great way to enhance the hiring process and facilitate constructive conversations during your interview. These constructive conversations allow performance expectations to be set for the position starting on day one.
#2 – Spend Time Interviewing and Selecting the Right Candidate
Every day that a job opening doesn’t get filled is a hardship on the operation. A bigger hardship is settling or not hiring the right person. I’ve seen too many hiring managers rush the selection process to simply “fill the requisition” and end up regretting it. In fact, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve done it myself when I had to hire employees for the human resources team.
Interview planning is particularly important, as it gives you the chance to build an experience that will get the candidate excited about the organization. Spend time thinking about the right behavior-based interview questions. By investing in the interview experience, hiring managers can identify the areas they want to focus their conversation and any skills gaps to follow-up on.
Also, I’m starting to hear more organizations use interviews as an opportunity to show off the company culture. Don’t feel limited to a formal interview in a boardroom. Go and get a coffee to make the interview more casual, which could help the candidate relax and open up more. The hiring manager might enjoy the relaxed setting as well. There’s no rule that you have to rush through interviews. Take your time to carefully assess the right person for the team.
Once the interviews are completed, it’s equally important to dedicate time to the selection process. This is the person who is going to receive the job offer. Properly evaluate candidates thorough the use of assessments, background screenings, reference checking, etc. It will help you make the best decision.
#3 – Let the Candidate Spend Time with the Team Before Hiring
A study from UK recruiting firm Robert Half showed that 87% of leaders found that their most successful hires were a great cultural fit. Let’s be clear, we’re not talking about a similar-to-me bias. New hires need to be able to work successfully in the organization. They need to get along with their co-workers. Hiring managers should spend time during interviews learning about a candidate’s soft skills, like communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. One way to do that is by creating an interviewing process that allows candidates to meet the team.
I’ve always been a big fan of collaborative hiring for two reasons. First, it allows the team to buy-into the candidate selection. And if they’re bought in, then they will help the new hire become successful. The second reason is that it starts the relationship building process. On day one, it makes sense for the new hire to know more people than the recruiter and hiring manager. Collaborative hiring adds some faces to the process. So, when a new hire has a question that they might be a bit reluctant to ask HR or their boss, they can reach out to some of the people they met during the interview.
If you use this approach, it’s important to let the team know that they’re meeting a candidate and give them some guidance on the things they can legally ask about. Hiring managers can decide if they want to create a more formal setting and be a part of the conversation or make it more casual and leave the candidate alone with the team.
Better Managers Can Hire Better Talent
Remember that old saying about “people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers”? Well, I’m not bringing this up to be mean toward hiring managers. However, there’s some truth in the statement. If a candidate interviews with a manager who is disorganized, rushed, and not a great communicator, then chances are they won’t take the job. Because they’ll think that’s what the manager is like all the time.
As much as the hiring process is about bringing in a new employee, it also an opportunity to show candidates that the company has a good management and leadership team. Managers can pursue a Master of Business Administration to develop their leadership skills and stay relevant in an increasingly competitive business world. And the good news is this learning can happen online.
Hiring managers are looking for team members who can deliver results. Candidates want to know that they’re going to work for an organization with a terrific culture and a manager who has the leadership skills to support them. The place where everyone gets to show how good they are is the interview.21