FORTUNE article: Looking to Hire? Don’t ask for the impossible

by / Wednesday, 25 January 2012 / Published in Blog

I was interviewed for an article on Fortune.com called “Looking to Hire?  Don’t ask for the impossible”  The reporter who called had seen some earlier work I’d written for the recruiter audience, with a focus on the role of a recruiter as a consultative partner, not a yes-man/woman, customer service rep, who simply carried out hiring manager requests and managed the “paperwork” part of the process. (More on that in another post…)

Finally, an article FOR hiring managers

However, for this article, her goal was to write to hiring managers - not recruiters – to help them understand how to better partner with recruiters.  A sort of “reality check” for frustrated hiring managers who often think hiring – especially in this economy – is easy! I. Love. It!  Rarely do we see good articles written for hiring managers. Check it out here: Fortune.com

Hiring Managers are our secret weapon!

One of my favorite focus areas as a speaker is around this very topic – how can we, as recruiting professionals, help our hiring managers succeed as hiring managers? This article is really timely, as I’m in the middle of building some custom training for a company that’s hell bent (in a great way!) on leveraging internal and external best practices to help their hiring managers attract, interview, and sell candidates really, really well.  They compete  for talent with better known, better resourced companies, and – as they’ll hear me say in a few weeks in the workshop – I believe their secret weapon is their hiring managers.

Here’s some content that didn’t make it into the article, that captures a few of the common denominator characteristics of the best hiring managers I’ve worked with in the last ~18 years.  It really boils down to this: Ownership.  Hiring managers who really own recruitment – like Nimrod at Ooyala (who leverages social media and old-school tech talks to find engineers) or Tom at Marchex (who built out a micro career site) – get the best hires.  As recruiters, we play a critical role in enabling that behavior, and those of us that do our jobs really well often find, screen and close the person they ultimately hire – but it’s those active, engaged hiring managers who  are true magnets for top talent.

Would love to hear what you think separates the good from the great hiring managers.  Sound off in the comments, please!

The key is ownership!

  • Hiring Managers who are successful are NOT passive, “wait for my recruiter to hire me someone good” types. They own recruiting for their opening. Recruiters are critical partners, but the hiring managers who hire the best talent are actively engaged in networking, soliciting quality referrals from inside and outside (think LinkedIn, alumni sites, associations) their companies, communicating the hiring standards/bar for the interviewers they select to help them hire, and uncovering – and selling to – a top candidate’s core motivators throughout the process.
  • In today’s economy, too many Hiring Managers believe there are a lot of A-player candidates dying to work for their company, in the role they have open, on their team, right now. “They should be lining up to work here!” – NOT! The reality is that A-players have a ton of options – in this or any economy – and they’re often not actively looking for a new job. They have to be recruited! And even though a great recruiter can get an A-player on the hook, it’s the hiring manager who must be able to ‘reel them in’. A-players need to experience the investment a hiring manager makes in them as a candidate, as it tells them volumes about how good – or how bad – it may be to work for that same manager once hired.
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