Your people make or break your company, but finding the right hire in this tight labor market is a big challenge for HR pros. 

Something that can make it even more difficult? A meddling manager with unrealistic expectations about their ideal new hire and how the process should go.

Problematic requests

This is what John Vlastelica, founder of online hiring resource Recruiting Toolbox, addressed at the recent ERE Recruiting Conference in San Diego.

According to Vlastelica, managers can be HR’s (and their own) worst enemy when it comes to choosing a candidate. Sometimes, they’re overly picky. Other times, they want the hiring process to move too quickly.

If you start hitting hiring road bumps with your managers, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate the situation, Vlastelica says.

When your manager makes an unreasonable request, what are they really asking you for?

Vlastelica highlighted three common misconceptions managers have about the hiring process and how you can adjust their expectations.

1. The more resumes, the better

You may encounter a manager who wants you to keep passing along a giant stack of resumes. After all, the more choices, the better – right?

Wrong, according to Vlastelica. While you don’t want to just select the first decent candidate, too many choices will be overwhelming. No one can properly compare a dozen different applicants.

Vlastelica suggests giving your managers three to five strong candidates. If you receive pushback from a manager who wants more options, focus on selling the applicants you’ve already selected. You picked them for a reason – explain why to your manager.

If a manager isn’t pleased with anyone after conducting several interviews, it can indicate problems lurking in the middle of the hiring process.

If that’s the case, Vlastelica says to think about what’s going wrong in the interviews that’s causing your manager to want to start fresh.

If there’s a disconnect during the interview process, more resumes won’t help fix your hiring problem.

What might be going wrong in the interview process? Hireology CEO Adam Robinson says not giving candidates enough attention can be employers’ downfall. You may try to get back to your applicants as quickly as possible, but it just takes one or two bad reviews on Glassdoor to discourage quality candidates from applying.

If you don’t treat candidates as you would clients, you’ll never get the top talent you need.

2. Cultural fit is highly important.

When looking at different candidates, it can be tempting to choose whoever will fit into the company culture best, Vlastelica says. But you want to steer your managers away from making the same type of hire.

Robinson agrees, and warns against hiring someone just because they “seem like the right fit.” It’s crucial to have tangible criteria to determine whether a candidate would be a good hire. Think about what skills and traits lead to success in the role you need filled, and how you’d test for them.

Another reason to ignore “good fit” hires? Not enough diversity. Too often, diversity is seen as something simply “nice to have” instead of a necessity. But, hiring people with different backgrounds and skill sets can add a lot to the company’s culture and success.

When a manager wants you to find a hire who’s a carbon copy of other employees, Vlastelica suggests you remind them that a different hire will add something unique and push thinking in a new direction.

3. A large panel of interviewers is best.

If you have a manager who is indecisive or lacks confidence, they may try and compensate by including a lot of people in the interview process to ensure the best candidate is chosen.

While other opinions can help, Vlastelica says too many interviewers will back you into a corner. If your company requires a consensus to make a hire, you’re setting yourself up for failure by including a ton of people in the decision.

Not to mention, taking everyone’s schedules into account while setting up an interview can be a nightmare.

Vlastelica suggests thinking about the importance of the hiring decision when deciding how many interviewers to include in the process.

An entry-level position? One or two people works. A potential C-suite member? You’ll want to include four or five people in the decision.


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