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Recruiting Hiring Managers as Partners Part 2


By Jay Barnett, Founder and Chief Technology Officer
With Tom Brennan, Senior Writer


Part 2 – Helping Hiring Managers Flex on Requirements

If you are a recruiter, I’m probably preaching to the converted when I say that hiring managers (HMs) should be active, engaged partners in the recruiting process. Most of us know about the “internal outsourced” model in which Henrietta Hiring Manager submits a req and then you don’t hear from her again until she emails asking, “Where are my candidates?” In my model, the recruiter still does the legwork, but the HM provides critical input — after all, HMs have the ultimate vested interest in finding the right candidates.

Loosen up, Dude

Assuming my last post was persuasive, by now you’ve convinced your HMs not only to partner with you but also to take a marketing approach to attracting talent. The next challenge: getting the HM to loosen up on requirements. Why? The short answer, again, is that in almost all cases it’s in the HM’s best interests. But let’s explore that further. By the way, you’ll probably need to coach the HMs. It’s all about nuance: if sourcing office supplies is like Dukes of Hazard, sourcing talent — human beings — is like Masterpiece Theater.

Attracting vs. Screening

The difference may seem subtle at first, but attracting the right candidates is a very different focus than screening out the wrong candidates. If you focus on screening, you can pay the price on the attraction side. For example, if the HM insists on a degree in Chemical Engineering, you might never see a prospective candidate who has seven years of highly relevant experience but whose degree happens to be in Chemistry. When pressed, most HMs will agree that the right experience beats a degree every time.

Bottom line: it doesn’t do any good to screen out the wrong candidates if you aren’t attracting the right ones to begin with. Screening is the easier part — the challenge is building a pool of high potential candidates. If the HM goes to market with unnecessarily stringent requirements — particularly in tight talent markets like IT – he/she is instructing some of the most desirable prospects to screen themselves out. Yes, a true requirement is a true requirement, and yes, some people will ignore the requirements and apply anyway. But there are always tradeoffs, and do you want even one highly desirable prospect to decide it would be a waste of time to pursue the position?

Bigger Pool = Better Choices

Still, you may get push back. It’s not uncommon for an HM to say, “I don’t have time to teach someone.” But posting, “Experience with SAP is required” may exclude a candidate with Sage or Oracle who is a fast learner and has a track record of contributing great ideas. In fact, holding out for an exact match may actually take MORE time. In one case I know, the HM finally loosened up after five months of searching — by that time a candidate might have been hired, trained and up to speed.

Consider this for the posting: “While SAP experience is preferred, as long as you have solid experience with any major ERP system and a knack for learning quickly, we’ll help you learn SAP.” That’s not a screen, it’s an invitation. It’s like dropping Mentos into a bottle of Diet Coke: a geyser of candidate prospects means a bigger pool, and a bigger pool means better choices (kind of like this video).

Decision Toolbox is a pioneer in both the art of attracting the right candidates and the science of screening out the wrong ones. But don’t just take my word for it: DT is recognized as a “Thought Leader” by organizations such as SHRM, PIHRA and the NHRA. One hiring manager said working with DT was “like having a secret weapon.” But when you think about it, it’s really no secret.

If you missed Part 1 of this series, you can view it here.

Next up: Part 3 – Helping Hiring Managers Leave Room for Learning

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2 Responses to “Recruiting Hiring Managers as Partners Part 2”

  1. March 29, 2013 at 6:16 pm, Recruiting Hiring Managers as Partners | Blog | Decision Toolbox said:

    […] up: Part 2 – Helping Hiring Managers Flex on Requirements Tags: @decisiontoolbox, candidate warranty, client satisfaction, Decision […]


  2. October 28, 2013 at 4:58 am, Talent in the Raw: Stripping Away Experience as a Requirement | Blog | Decision Toolbox said:

    […] a recent blog, Jay Barnett, Decision Toolbox (DT) Founder and Chief Technical Officer, urged hiring managers to […]


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