How many recruiters have sent candidate after candidate to a hiring manager and for some reason, there is always a reason why they are not good enough to hire? When you, the recruiter or HR professional, initially spoke with the hiring manager, you found out some tell-tale information about the position. You found the position has been open for three months, the manager has interviewed 15 people, and there are four agencies working on it. The first question a perceptive recruiter would ask is “Is this a real opening?” If there is a real opening, is there any pain associated with not filling it? Ok, for argument sake, let’s say there is an actual position with some pain. From there you have to follow the links of the recruiting chain: the sourcing, interviewing, selection process to include notice being given and an actual start. It has been my experience that hiring managers tend to see the interview and selection process, as a process by which they look for every reason they can to not hire someone. Many of the companies I have managed recruitment processes for initially had a system set whereby candidates had to jump through several hoops in terms of assessments, several rounds of interviews with everyone in the company (all asking the same twenty questions and any one having veto power). This is a disqualification focused interview process. A screening out system.
To help managers see how their interview and selection process is focused, as a candidate would see it from the outside, I run them through a scenario. I challenge them to put themselves in the role of a candidate. You are a candidate, happily employed with a company, but perhaps open to exploring a better opportunity (however you would define “better”). A recruiter calls you on a Tuesday and describes a position to you that he or she is working on. You see it as an interesting opening with a company on your target list. You are an excellent fit and the opportunity would be a good next step in your career. You find out that there will be three rounds of interviews over a three-week period. Each will require you to take a half day out of work. You will have to take two assessments and a drug screen before you will even get to meet with the first manager. Would you do it? If you would then I would proffer that you are not very happily employed and may be downright subconsciously desperate to make a move.
Now think about the people you are looking to attract. Are they the unemployed candidate who can come in anytime without disruption to their day? I am guessing you, as a hiring manager, are looking for the top performers who would influence your organization by immediately contributing at a strategic or tactical level. You know them; they are the heads down industry thought leaders that generate revenue by bringing new energy and innovation wherever they go. They are the talent everyone would want to have.
Now, you being that currently employed heads down leader in your space, would you be attracted by an interview process as described above? Would you commit to taking that much time out of work when you are already employed and happy? What is the interview process like that you have set up at your company? What was it like when you interviewed? What did you tell people in your circle about your interview experience? Does everyone in your interview process really add value? Is everyone in your process an experienced interviewer? Is your process inefficient and set up to turn off the top talent you are always saying you want to attract?
It amazes me how many clients voice their concerns over why they cannot seem to attract the same level of talent as Hubspot or EMC or Microsoft. The difference may be those are the companies people want to work at. They are turning away talent. They have a solid reputation as a “good” company. If you are not an employer of choice, you are competing for top talent against those companies. To compete, you need an efficient and effective interview and selection process. Once word on the street is you have an inefficient practice, mired in levels of interviews and inappropriately timed assessments, you had better be one of those companies that people are knocking down doors to get into.
A good recruiter can help you establish an efficient and effective process that will ensure a positive interviewing process. They can work to ensure the candidate experience is a professional, efficient, and thorough process. They can help manage expectations on both sides (candidate and hiring manager). A professional recruiter can work with hiring managers to ensure every step of the recruitment process is a well choreographed dance and candidate is managed and “sold on the opportunity” throughout the process. As I mentioned in a previous post, your recruiter is an extension of your company brand, make sure you are working with a good one. Your recruiter can be invaluable in acting as an intermediary and work to ensure an acceptable offer is extended, and manage the candidate through the notice period. The caveat being they have to be a professional recruiter acting on the best interest of your company not just looking to close the deal to get a large commission. A professional recruiter will ensure the opportunity is right for the candidate and the candidate is right for the company. Yes, this means at times advising candidates and client companies to walk away.