Hey Hiring Manager, What are you Looking For?

By Nancy Anton

Ready! Hire! Aim!

Wait! Stop! Let’s have a recruiting strategy meeting first.  Don’t get hiring without one.

Here’s why

Understanding what we are looking for is key.  Many managers pull out the old posting and ask to have it put back up again, sometimes without even reading it. The job changed since the last time it was filled and we miss out on updating the requirements. Without a good strategy meeting, we read it and off we go, finding what they want, but is it?

A 20-minute conversation can make the difference. Here’s what you want to know.

What does the person need to do? What do they need to know? Most important, why would someone want this job?

This is a great exercise to get the manager thinking: What do they truly want this candidate to do? Here’s where the manager needs to stop and think through what needs to be done. In most cases it differs from the written posting. This is the time to rewrite that posting, putting the right info and drawing the right picture for what needs to be done.  Take notes, make changes. How much time will they be doing what?

Next, what does the candidate need to know? Skills, experience, and education to do the job. This is an area where we need to ask, is that a must have, or a nice to have? When putting these qualifiers in place it helps to clarify what is important to the manager and sometimes eliminate unnecessary requirements.

Also, ask about the backgrounds of others who do this role well. We can help to focus on what are the characteristics on success.  When we skip this question, we end up learning this info after referring a few candidates who don’t match what the manager wants.

Establishing Recruiting Trust

Taking the time to ask these questions helps the hiring manager gain confidence in you as a recruiter. They are more sure that you understand what is needed and more likely to trust your referrals.

There are times where some skill or experience is necessary because no one else in the department has that expertise. This would be a must have.  Find out why these are musts and what makes a nice to have, it will be easier to pin point the right talent.  Does the salary target match what the market value is? Don’t be afraid to show the manager what they can’t have if the salary is off the mark.  This will help build a case to question the compensation, may even change it, or may motivate the manager to be more reasonable about what the requirements are.

Never leave the conversation without asking the 3rd question: Why would someone want this job?

This is what you will use when directly recruiting. This is your opening to attract the right talent and should be clearly defined in the posting. Yes, most postings talk more about what they want, but missing this opportunity misses the way to attract the right talent.

Here’s the one problem we see most often.  Managers want candidates who have done it before and can do it again, but also a high potential.  Why would someone want to have the same job they already succeeded at? Why would they want to take this role? A high potential, one who already has a strong track record will want to build on their successes.  What’s in it for them will make all the difference on getting their attention and getting an offer accepted at the end of the process.

There are times when managers are stumped with this question, and there’s your opportunity to help coach them and get a reasonable expectation, giving some room for growth in the role and can attract a person who can learn, grow and succeed. If the manager can’t come up with an answer, don’t work on the role. You will be wasting your time.

Hiring Expectations

Set reasonable expectations both on who you can find based on what the position offers.  The salary, location and description.  The manager may expect you to have 3 qualified and screened candidates in a few days and will be disappointed if you don’t.  Take the time to lay out the process to find the qualified candidates. Give reasonable time lines and course of action.

The Follow-Up Meeting

Set up follow up meetings to track progress on the recruiting.  Show your work. A resume review can show the manager what you are finding, the good, the bad and the ugly.  This is the process and the effort it takes. Managers will respect the effort and can identify the right candidate.

The Hiring Approach

When recruiting, there are both passive and proactive approaches. Describing both will define the search you are doing. Passive effort includes posting the role on different sites, broadcasting the role on social media, reviewing and evaluating candidates who apply.

Proactive approach takes a bit longer.  Using different sources, finding, identifying potential fits then contacting them and recruiting can take time.  Developing a candidate and getting their interest in the role and the company can take a few weeks. The manager needs to know this.

Successful recruiting not only means bringing the right candidate forward but doing so in a reasonable amount of time without rework.  Do your homework up front and save lots of time in the end.

When the manager thinks out what needs to be done, what the candidate needs to know and why they would want the position will start your search off in the right direction.  When they are aware of the process you go through and see the results of your effort they will have more confidence in your ability to bring the right person forward and will help streamline the process

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