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Recruiting Reality: Hiring Managers Don’t Always Know What They Want

alien-41610_1280Perhaps you’ve had this experience. You present candidates you think are a fit to your hiring manager, but the hiring manager doesn’t feel the same way about them. There seems to be something the hiring manager is looking for that you’re just not hitting. Often the hiring manager cannot even give you reasons not to move your candidates forward.

If you can explain to the hiring manager in terms they relate to why the candidate is worth an interview, you increase the odds of getting your candidate to the finish line.

Learn the terms that matter to the hiring manager, and do that starting with your search launch conversation. Listen for how they explain what matters.

Here is an example:

During the launch conversation, the hiring manager for a VP Business Development position kept saying she wanted someone she wouldn’t have to try to find on a Thursday afternoon. That was a new one for me.

Rather than pretend I had any idea what she meant, I asked. She responded that she wanted sales executives who she would not have to track down to get their sales projections. It was important to her that they keep her updated on their sales pipelines. That was a key sign of a true sales professional, and she wanted a sales professional in the position. (I would never have successfully guessed what it meant!)

This gave me information about what would be important to her and it went far beyond anything in the job requirements I had received.  It wasa crticial characteristic to look for when I interviewed potential candidates. It also gave me a short hand way to convey to her that I had the perfect candidate. By saying “This is a candidate you won’t have to start looking for on Thursday afternoon” she would get why this was a perfect candidate. I noticed using her language to  I didn’t have to have a long conversation with her about the candidate.

It makes a real impact when you and the hiring manager share the same language to talk about something the hiring manager really wants in a new hire. It helps the hiring manager truly get why you are excited about a candidate. Having a common language helps you identify the right candidate, and is a powerful way to build your trusted advisor relationship with that hiring manager.


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