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Oh, No You Didn’t! Top 10 Mistakes Hiring Managers Make During the “Courtship” Period, Part 1

By Nicole Cox, Chief Recruitment Officer
With Tom Brennan, Senior Writer

It takes two to tango, but only one to tangle things up. In spite of your hard work on any given recruitment project, either the candidate or the hiring manager can make mistakes that cause nuclear meltdown. When that happens, you can only watch as the time and energy you invested in sourcing, engaging and wooing a candidate gets mopped up by the hazmat crew.

Did I write “wooing”? You bet. In fact, in my last two posts (here and here) I’ve advocated that recruiters encourage their candidates to use the same common sense in the recruitment process that they would in dating. Now it’s the hiring managers’ turn.  As a recruiter, you are uniquely positioned to help hiring managers avoid the worst practices described below, compiled by Decision Toolbox’s team of expert Recruiters. Feel free to share YOUR stories and advice!

1. Damaged goods? Rejecting candidates simply because they are unemployed is like refusing to date anyone who isn’t currently in a relationship. Plenty of good talent was downsized during the recession, through no fault of their own. More important is what the candidate has been doing with that time off — it might be an eye opener. For example, a hiring manager looking for business development talent may discover that a candidate has been launching an online side business, demonstrating exactly the kind of entrepreneurial spirit the job requires.

2. Talking too much is unattractive in just about any situation (haven’t you ever wanted so say, “Snip that string, Chatty Cathy”?). Sure, hiring managers should talk about their expectations, management style, etc. But it’s just as important for them to listen, and then probe deeper based on the answers they hear. Like the ideal date, after a great interview both parties should feel they got as much information as they gave.

3. R-E-S-P-E-C-T spells a key ingredient in any mutually satisfying relationship. But leave it out, Aretha, and you have a recipe for disaster. I’ve heard stories of hiring managers (HMs) arriving late to in-person interviews and even no-showing for phone interviews. HMs are busy, just as we all are, but even a small slight can send the wrong signal. And rather than leaving the candidate hanging for three or four weeks after the interview, they should provide timely feedback and keep candidates updated.

4. Scare tactics amount to self-sabotage. Would you say to your date, “My last girlfriend dumped me because I kept calling her ‘Mommy’ “? Every job has challenges, but there are ways of framing that information. Here are some examples of real things real hiring managers have told candidates:

  • “People burn out fast here.”
  • “The warehouse is cold at night and a lot of employees get sick. Have you had your flu shot?”
  • “We can’t get people from other departments to come down here and help us.”

I’m not saying HMs shouldn’t be up front, but they shouldn’t talk the candidate out of accepting!

5. Love ’em or leave ’em, but don’t lead ’em on. Pretending to be interested after the interview just to avoid being uncomfortable is spurious and, well, chicken. In fact, a couple of nuggets of feedback could prove to be golden for a candidate. For example, you might say, “Thanks for coming in, but I’m looking for someone with a stronger background in continuous improvement.” That may motivate the candidate to get certified in lean manufacturing, leading in the long run to a more successful career.


Coming next week: Top 10 Mistakes Hiring Managers Make During the “Courtship” Process, Part 2.

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2 Responses to “Oh, No You Didn’t! Top 10 Mistakes Hiring Managers Make During the “Courtship” Period, Part 1”

  1. February 18, 2013 at 8:22 am, Oh, No You Didn’t! Top 10 Mistakes Candidates Make During the “Courtship” Period, Part 2 | Blog | Decision Toolbox said:

    […] Next post: Top 10 Mistakes Hiring Managers Make During the “Courtship” Process. Tags: @decisiontoolbox, Decision Toolbox,, employment, hiring, hiring etiquette, interview etiquette, interview tips, interview topics, interviewing skills, interviewing with no degree, Job Interview, Nicole Cox, recruiting, Recruiting Tips, self-promotion, staffing, Tom Brennan Comment (RSS)  |  Trackback […]


  2. February 25, 2013 at 8:58 am, Oh, No You Didn’t! Top 10 Mistakes Hiring Managers Make During the “Courtship” Period, Part 2 | Blog | Decision Toolbox said:

    […] and a good one — is one of several mistakes hiring managers (HMs) make in recruiting. In my last post I wrote about the first five of the top ten, and here’s the balance of that […]


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