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

scared interviewee

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

You’d be surprised at how many hiring managers don’t have a quick answer to this question: “Why should a candidate leave their current job at a competitor to take your open position?” Failure to have a handy answer — 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 list.

Whether you are a hiring manager or a recruiter in a position to coach HMs, I encourage you to approach the recruitment process with the same common sense you would apply in dating. The list, by the way, comes from real incidents reported by Decision Toolbox’s crack team of recruiters. We’d love to hear your stories, too!

6. What’s in it for them? Whether dating or recruiting, both sides need to do some sales and marketing. And I don’t mean that in a jaded, love-for-sale way — we’re looking for goodness of fit, right? Those size 5 shoes are darling, but you won’t find my feet in them! Most HMs are quick to list what they NEED in a candidate, but they also need to be able to explain why the position is a good fit for the candidate.

7. Show me the money but don’t shortchange me, honey, or the HM will be filling the position again as soon as the new hire gets a better offer. It’s not enough to get someone to go out on a date — you also have to give them a good reason to come back for a second one! Some HMs think that as long as they know the salary range and the candidate’s salary history, they have enough to justify a low-ball offer. But hiring is a market transaction, and HMs need to consider market data as well.

8. Wouldn’t you like to know? I’ll bet you immediately see what’s wrong with asking a candidate, “What’s your favorite cocktail?” Well, it’s a true story and, no, the candidate wasn’t applying for job at Hooters. But it’s not so easy to see what’s wrong with asking, “What year did you graduate from college?” That’s right: it opens the door for accusations of age discrimination. Encourage HMs to represent their company with professionalism, and also to be aware of legal and risk management issues in interviewing and recruiting.

9. Too many dates and too little commitment is a sure way to kill interest. HMs may want multiple people to interview a candidate, but they should try to schedule them all on the same day. Advise HMs to put themselves in Candie Candidate’s shoes (not size five either, thank you): Candie has to take time off work for every day she interviews, and it delays the decision. If Candie’s qualifications are attractive to Harry Hiring Manager, they’re also attractive to others, and you can bet she’s not sitting by the phone waiting for Harry to call and ask her to the prom.

10. You said you’d call but one thing led to another . . . if there is an unavoidable delay between the offer and the start date, HMs need to keep a new hire engaged. As the memory of that last date fades, so can the ardor. And, as Candie knows, the market is fluid and there are other suitors who haven’t given up. Recommend that the HM invite the candidate to a team event, or to meet for lunch.

Well, that about does it for this four-part series on some of the biggest mistakes candidates and hiring managers make in the recruiting process. That process is not unlike a courtship, and both sides would do well to treat it that way. Of course, there’s a limit, and crossing that limit could be a really big mistake, so my main message is: a little common sense goes a long way.

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