How to Help Managers Make the Final Hiring Decision
Written By: Mary-Devon Dupuy
Most people are familiar with the frustrations of hiring, at least from the perspective of an eager applicant. Getting funneled quickly through the first steps of the hiring process — the phone or video interview, the in-person interview, the background check, the reference calling — only to receive radio silence, is maddening. Often, candidates imagine their initial contacts in the HR department reclining in their desks, laughing at their follow up emails and handwritten “thank you” letters over martinis. But those very professionals are often as anxious as candidates to hear back from hiring managers on their final hiring decision.
The Hiring Decision Process
Hiring decisions are a double edged sword — if made too hastily, they can lead to high turnover, and if recruiters and hiring managers take their time deliberating, they run the risk of losing candidates. Most frequently, the managers are the trickiest piece of the hiring puzzle. They’re incredibly busy, and they aren’t getting as much face time with candidates as those on the front end of the recruitment process, such as human resources employees. When there’s an existing team that needs managing, devoting time and energy to recruiting may feel like a waste. In reality, hiring is just as time sensitive than the “fires” that need to be put out day to day.
Deadlines are a good tool for everyone involved, as long as they are honored. Recruiters have to remain calm when candidates are emailing them multiple follow-ups, making sure they still have skin in the game. Politely nudging managers is easier when there are concrete deadlines, rather than abstract “when I get to it” timelines. Furthermore, deadlines add a level of transparency for candidates, who can rest easier knowing when they will receive information on their employment status. Of course, deadlines will get pushed back, and managers will often fail to meet them. However, the more information, the more comfort for the candidate. “We are still deliberating and we will have more information for you next Monday, the 27th,” does more to reassure an unemployed person than “We will have more information for you next week.” It’s the same email, but it has a different psychological effect.
The Final Hiring Decision
Final hiring decisions are usually made by those closer to the top of an organization, but recruitment happens near the middle. It is critical that managers communicate specific expectations to HR and those who are dealing directly with applicants. If companies are using external recruiters, it is even more important that those on the front lines of hiring have a solid grasp of the company’s culture. For example, candidate A has more relevant experience than candidate B, but candidate B just “fits in” better with the current team. Those most actively engaged in the process of hiring employees must have enough experience with the company to explain to managers why the candidate who is less qualified on paper is a better fit.
Gut instincts are rarely activated by a resume, cover letter, or even a phone interview. Final, face-to-face interviews are when people decide who they want to hire. The disconnect occurs when the person conducting the human resources hiring process is not the ultimate decision maker. Candidates see the person interviewing them as the arbiter of their fate with the company. However, that person is usually bugging their boss to make a decision, whether it’s positive or negative for the candidate in question.
Recruitment can be a lot like sales in that it’s not a good field for someone who hates to bug people. Persistence is critical, and it feels counter intuitive to pester somebody. As frustrating as it is, bosses will probably not reflect on the overall hiring process and think, “Wow, I should have devoted more time to recruiting and met the deadlines provided for me.” They will, however, reflect on it and think, “We didn’t meet our hiring goals, and we wasted money.” Bug them respectfully, remind them of deadlines, and email them everything. If things do not go according to plan, you want a digital paper trail to which you can point if you’re ever accused of failing to meet your end of the deal. Even if you call someone, send her a follow up email with the information discussed on the call.
A Thought For Recruiters
There is a fine line between nudging and being annoying. Ultimately, positions need to be filled. Make sure to set deadlines, send a lot of emails, and communicate frankly with managers. Hiring will get lost in the frenzy of day to day operations, and you are being paid to make sure that managers do not neglect it.
Mary-Devon Dupuy is First Impression Liason for Acrew and a local comedian in New Orleans.