A Note to All Hiring Managers: Five Tips for Hiring Better People


Articles that address how to Hire Better Candidates or to Manage the Hiring Process Better always catch our eye for very obvious reasons – they address the world we live in 10-11 hours a day. And, we’re always open to ideas that might make our jobs easier and deliver acceptable candidates to clients faster thus making their jobs easier.

The following article written by Kevin Wheeler and published on LinkedIn stood out because he discusses improving the relationship and communications between Recruiter and Hiring Manager and, in this case, he means “Internal Recruiter” not “Headhunter” as he refers to services we provide.  

Yet Kevin identifies concerns we External Recruiters deal with every day. He writes that Hiring Managers can generally do a better job of identifying selection criteria that will guide the Search Process and lead to a successful hire. All too often Hiring Managers rush to replace an employee and accurately describe selection criteria that will essentially clone that incumbent yet a studied appraisal of work load, deliverables and challenges might suggest the hire of a profile quite different than the incumbent’s. It’s quite common that a Search Project takes a change in direction after weeks of effort for just this reason – a light suddenly goes off and the Hiring Manager shares a new vision with us that could have been identified earlier. Kevin’s comments that this change in direction happens with Internal Recruiters as well as with External Recruiters/Headhunters doesn’t kame it any more palatable. In truth, it’s very frustrating.

We had a long-time customer who usually left a job vacant for weeks or months simply to measure the loss of the incumbent and better recognize the contributions a replacement could deliver. Inevitably, Search Projects for him went smoothly and quickly without any deviation. It follows that any plan well organized has a better chance of being well executed. Enjoy the article!

Jim Fairfax, jimf@kitchenerexecutive.com


By: Kevin Wheeler; LinkedIn User August 2014

Dear Hiring manager:

You probably only hire a handful of people each year and your recruiter usually does a reasonable job of finding you candidates. Sure, sometimes you have to ask for more resumes than you initially got from the recruiter in order to find the right person, and sometimes you get frustrated because he can’t seem to find them. And once in while you go outside to a headhunter. You probably say to yourself, “They’re expensive, but they know what they’re doing!”

Now let me ask you a few questions. If you go along with me, you may discover how to find really great candidates, with less effort and less cost than you do now.

First of all, how do you define a “decent” candidate or the “best?” Do you have some specific criteria that you use? Do you have any benchmarks or standards to compare against? How much time do you spend in the upfront process of figuring out the job requirements and laying out the things the person you want to hire will have to do to make you happy?

In my many years as a recruiter and as a consultant, I find that this is the area most frequently overlooked or skimped on in the hiring process. Most hiring managers I work with are willing to spend time in interviewing and often demand that candidates go through numerous interviews, but they are less willing to give up time to talk to the recruiter about the position before any recruiting happens at all.

My guess is that you’re running on your gut when it comes to defining what you want. You say to yourself that you’ll know the “best” when you see it. After all, you’ve been in your field for a while and can generally spot a loser. If you are lucky, you’ve had a recruiter at some time in the past who could always seem to get you the perfect candidate, but you’ve never asked yourself why they could do that or how.

That recruiter who always seemed to find the perfect candidate, was able to figure out what you regarded as a good candidate and used her interviewing and screening skills to bring you those kinds of candidates.

Here are 5 things you can do to find better candidates and make faster hires. [I warn you that you may find yourself rethinking certain positions and maybe even finding out that some of your employees are a lot better than (or not so capable as) you thought

Tips Check List

Tip #1: Nail down the skills and competencies of your best performers.

Spend some time thinking about your best performers. Who are the people in your department you would like to clone, if you could? Try to put into words why you think they are so good. Ask yourself: What do they regularly do that is critical to your success? What is the single most important trait/behavior/skill that makes them successful? When did an employee do something you found exceptional or notable? Share this with your recruiter.

Tip #2: Get to know your recruiter.

If your recruiter is new or has not worked with you before, it will be impossible for her to know what you are really looking for. And, even an experienced recruiter who knows your specialty thoroughly will have to get to understand those subtle traits that you find compelling. Chat with the recruiter about the answers to the questions above. Let them attend a staff meeting or a briefing. Encourage them to talk to your best performers. The better the recruiter and you know each other, the more likely you are to see better candidates.

Tip #3: Develop an assessment process.

One of the best ways to make sure that you and your recruiters are in sync on what kinds of people to look for is to put together a process for assessing candidates. You can work together with the recruiter to develop a series of questions or other assessment processes that will help you both decide on the traits, skills and qualities you need. These can become interviews questions and can also be used to measure how well the recruiting process is working.

Tip #4: Develop metrics

Dovetailing with this, establish some core measures of success. There are all sorts of possible things you can measure, but the ones that are the most important are those that relate to the quality of the candidates you see and ultimately hire and the speed in which you got to see them. Work with your recruiter to decide what to measure – maybe how quickly a new employee hits the productivity level you want, or how well they became a part of your team.

Tip #5: Learn the recruiting marketplace.

Do you really know what the supply is for the kind of people you are looking for? Most of us don’t have that kind of information handy, yet supply and demand is what makes it easy or hard to find the right people. Your recruiter, assuming you have a good one, should be able to help you get the data you need. The more you and your recruiter can learn about the talent marketplace, the better able you will be to know when you’ve found a good candidates and what they should get for an offer,

By taking just a few minutes from your busy day, and by working with your recruiter as a partner, you can improve the quality of candidates and the speed you fill your open positions.

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