Hiring Managers, you’re doing it wrong!

Hiring Managers, you're doing it wrong! by Ela Moscicka. Helping you land a job in tech: elaintech.com

I’ve officially said “goodbye” to tech recruitment in July 2020. During those fantastic 9+ years, I worked on many hiring projects: from bringing completely new disciplines to the company, building new teams, to help growing existing ones.

As you can imagine I had a chance to partner with many Managers and… I decided to share some insights from those recruitment processes (no names here, but be prepared for some gifs). All of the below had happened to me and my colleagues from the recruitment team (this is a mix of #TrueStories from various companies I worked in).

My goal is to show you what mistakes you should avoid and how you can become a great Hiring Manager that every recruitment team would love to work with!

1. Not preparing for a briefing call with the recruitment team

We (the recruitment team) were spending quite some time before every initial call with Hiring Manager to make sure we’re prepared the best we can. “Time is money”, plays a critical role in every hiring process and one of the worst things a Hiring Manager can do is joining a briefing call without any preparation.

What do I mean by lack of preparation: not being able to explain what candidate(s) they’re exactly looking for, what type of skillset is required / a must, what is “nice to have”, not being able to answer some basic questions asked by the recruitment team.

Don’t treat recruitment as something that can be done “just like that”. Make sure to dedicate the proper amount of time before the initial call with the recruitment team: the better you’re prepared, the smoother the beginning will be (and hopefully the entire process).

The question that the recruitment team might want to ask Hiring Managers when they come unprepared for the briefing meeting 😉

2. “Recruitment? That’s a job for the recruitment team”

Hiring a new team member(s) is a common responsibility.

Yes, you read it right “common responsibility“, means it’s not just a recruitment team who is gonna do all the work. You as a Hiring Manager are equally responsible for the final result. And you can achieve the best results by partnering with them.

Gone are the times where companies were posting job adverts and waiting for candidates to apply. If you want to hire and do it in the right way, you have to be engaged in the recruitment process.

What I think about “Recruitment? That’s a job for the recruitment team” statement.

3. Treating recruitment team as someone who is “lower in the hierarchy”

Unfortunately, there were situations where Hiring Managers behaved as they’re some sort of gods.

Not much to comment here, let me just leave this quote here:
“No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells everything”.

4. “I want…”

Whenever a Hiring Manager was starting a sentence from “I want…” we kind of knew it’s gonna be a challenging conversation.

I want a senior software engineer from XYZ company”
I want someone who is proficient in [here goes the never-ending list of tech stack requirements].
I want this to be done by [mentions some unrealistic deadline].

The truth is, you can’t treat recruitment as something that is easy: you say what you want and it’s done.

When I had a conversation with a Hiring Managers who showed such an attitude I was always thinking (deep down in my mind): “Candidates aren’t apples that are just hanging on the tree and you come and pick whatever you like and how much you like.” (*this is not meant to offend any candidate, but to highlight that Hiring Managers can’t expect everything that they “want” to be immediately available and ready for them only because they say so).

My advice for you: instead of “I want” try something like: “This is who I’d be looking for. Based on your recruitment experience (and/or market knowledge) do you think my expectations are realistic?”.

I can assure you that the recruitment team will be more than happy to answer that question and share more insights with you.

Nope, this is not how recruitment works

5. Having “I know it all” attitude

Sorry for being very honest here, but no, you cannot know it all when it comes to recruitment. You’re a Manager and you’ve experience in other areas (engineering/sales/marketing, etc).

Even if you’re a very experienced Hiring Manager, coming with an “I know it all” attitude will make it very hard to partner/work with you which can turn a recruitment process into a nightmare.

6. Not listening to suggestions/ideas proposed by the recruitment team

We all hope that the recruitment process will go smoothly: we find candidate(s), they pass the recruitment process, accept an offer and show at work. But there might be unexpected situations where not everything goes as planned.

First of all: you can’t get angry on a recruitment team. Second: hopefully you’ll be soon having a meeting to discuss an “action plan” (or “plan B”, call it however you want to name it).

You should make time to join it, come with your ideas (again I want to highlight that it’s all about partnership), and take responsibility for the actions that will be assigned to you (or the ones you pick).

7. “This candidate is OK, but I’d like to see one more…”

If you’re saying this then either you’re not sure who exactly you want to hire or/and you don’t understand how the market looks like.

Have someone passed the entire process and is happy to join your team? Great, hire them as fast as possible. Otherwise, some other company/team will do it while you’ll spending time waiting for “one more candidate”.

8. Pulling out of the hiring event at very last minute without finding a replacement

Those who never worked in recruitment won’t probably understand the amount of stress that situation created for all of us: hiring events takes usually weeks/months to prepare and it’s work where many people from different teams are involved. Having Manager pulling out just 3 hours before the hiring event happened to me only once during those 9+ years, but I still remember as it was just yesterday.

In addition to the above: that person had never apologized, never really helped with hiring, and later criticized the ideas that were provided by all of us (without, of course, proposing something themselves instead).

This is how I felt reading the message that the Hiring Manager is pulling out of the hiring event

9. Having too many requirements

My reply to this will be very short and simple: you either won’t be able to hire anyone or/and recruitment will be a “never-ending story”.

10. Looking for a ‘copy’ of existing team member

No, No, No and….NO!

I’m not saying here to not have your requirements or expectations. You should. But you have to think really carefully what skillset/experience you already have in your team and what might be missing.

What is it that a new team member can bring? Maybe you should consider hiring someone with less traditional background so that you’ll have fresh/new perspective/ideas?

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11. Comparing candidates

This might be happening throughout entire process: on a CV review stage, technical interviews or final round*.

You look at the CVs and start thinking: “I like candidate A, but candidate B has this(…)”. You finished final interviews and during briefing meeting you share your feedback: “Candidate A showed clear drive for results, but was weaker on the tech side, while candidate B(…)”.

Never do this. You should assess candidates against the hiring criteria you’ve previously agreed on.
(* if you want to read more about it, look for “Contrast bias in recruitment”).

Recruiters, don’t be afraid to stop the Hiring Managers and explain to them why they shouldn’t be comparing candidates

12. Looking for a “perfect candidate”

Remember, there’s no such thing as a “perfect candidate”. You might be missing some really great candidates while looking for that “perfect” one.

Outcome? You lost not only time but also those other candidates who were interested in joining your team, but weren’t selected by you just because they didn’t “tick all the boxes”.

13. “Talent Sourcer? Why do I need you? I’m working with Recruiter already”

I had many situations where Hiring Managers didn’t know who are Talent Sourcers and what they’re exactly doing. And this is fine to not know it right from the beginning, as long as you’re polite.

After hearing few times “so what do you exactly do?” type of questions I knew that going forward I’ve to start explaining in detail what my role is, what I’m doing, and why Talent Sourcers are needed.

*I had one situation when the Manager was really looking down on me, almost questioning the need for my presence during the call as he thought I’m a “Junior Recruiter” or someone who is an “assistant” to a Recruiter. The last thing I wanted to do back then was to help him with my expertise and bring external talent.

14. Not providing answers to questions asked by Recruitment team/candidates

Believe me, if the recruitment team is asking/sending you some questions it is not because they’re bored and have nothing better to do. They do this so they can make decisions based on your answers or they need it so they can get back to a candidate(s) who asked that question (and without knowing the answer won’t proceed with the recruitment process).

Back in my recruitment days, I didn’t start reaching out to the candidates until I got all answers I needed: I knew that the better I’m prepared, the better candidate experience I’ll be able to provide.

15. Not joining regular calls/not answering emails but expecting results/hires

Waiting few days, a week or never hearing back from a Hiring Manager just to found out from someone else that “he/she is not happy about how the process is going”. Oh my, what can I say: you cannot expect results if you don’t communicate with the recruitment team.

member of the recruitment team waiting for a Hiring Manager to join the meeting

16. Being unhappy about the work recruitment team is doing (but not communicating this directly to them)

This is related to the previous point (15): sometimes we were the last ones to find out that the Hiring Manager is really unhappy about the “quality/amount of work we’re doing”. The list could go on.

My advice: if you ever find yourself in such a situation where you think something isn’t working right, please just jump on the call with the recruitment team and have an honest discussion. I really believe in treating each other equally and partnership. No one says recruitment is easy, but going to someone’s Manager without speaking with that person first isn’t the best idea.

What is interesting, I heard many stories about how Hiring Manager(s) is not happy, but…I think I’ve heard only once or twice a story about unhappy recruitment going to Hiring Manager’s Manager to share their feedback because the collaboration was going really bad, discussions weren’t bringing any results and they just had to do that in order to unblock recruitment process….

My message to you, dear Hiring Manager is simple: be the person the recruitment team would love to work with.

Thanks for reading & have a nice day,

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2 thoughts on “Hiring Managers, you’re doing it wrong!

    1. Hi Dmitry,
      It’s one of the biases that may occur during the recruitment process and it’s called “Contrast bias” or “Contrast effect”.
      To avoid it you 1) should agree on the hiring criteria thanks to which you’ll understand who exactly you should be looking for. 2) assess every candidate against those criteria.

      Otherwise, you might end up in the situation where you’re going through candidates’ CVs and you start comparing the previous resume to the one that you just finished reviewing.
      The same might happen during the hiring event (final interviews) when you have multiple candidates interviewing on the same day or within 2-3 days: you might unconsciously start comparing the candidate that you interviewed in the morning to the one that you just met.

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