Roadblock 2: Hiring Managers Don’t Know What They’re Looking For

bigstock-Businessman-with-binoculars-sp-53746699Our Lead Recruiter, Caitlin Wilterdink, recently presented her strategies for overcoming common hiring manager roadblocks in a webinar with Glassdoor. In this weekly blog series, Caitlin breaks down these roadblocks with her tips and tricks for clearing these hurdles and building effective partnerships with hiring managers.

You may have a hiring manager who says something like, “we only hire the best people,” but are unable to define what that means. Alternatively, you may have a hiring manager who wants a “unicorn,” someone with a rare combination of skills. Or, you may have a hiring manager who wants to compensate an experienced, senior executive far below market.  If your hiring manager doesn’t know what he or she is looking for, it prevents you from sourcing the right candidates and conducting effective interviews.

So, how do we help hiring managers figure out whom they want to hire?

Define “The Best” Candidate

At Greenhouse, we hold mandatory, official kick-off meetings for each and every role. The first order of business is defining what hiring managers are actually looking for in candidates. This will shape your sourcing strategy, how you write your job description, and what questions you ask throughout the interview process.

“The best” candidate also must share the core values of your organization. We have explicitly defined our culture credo and dedicate an interview to assessing whether a candidate shares six specific traits. It took months to collect these insights and put something together, but having these values accepted by the entire organization means we have a concrete list of criteria to reference during these interviews.

Tip: To get the information you need, continue to ask “why.” Does your hiring manager say that the candidate needs 10 years of experience? Ask why. This question forces your hiring manager to think critically about the skills needed in this role.

Identify KSAs

Don’t let hiring managers describe the candidate as a “stellar marketing professional who can create exceptional content that generates interest from multiple audiences.” This is a description of a person, not the KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities) needed to do the job. If your hiring manager starts describing the person, ask her to instead describe what the marketing professional needs to know in order to be successful.

Based on this information, build a list of attributes that a candidate needs to be a top performer in this role. This list of candidate attributes will then be entered into a Greenhouse scorecard. The scorecard is what interviewers use to grade candidates on the hiring criteria specific to each job. It remains the same across all interviews, ensuring that interviewer feedback is focused and unbiased.

Define the Day 1 Problem

In your kick-off meetings, have hiring managers come prepared with the “day 1 problem,” that is, the problem that exists today that this person will solve within her first 90 days. This not only helps with the above two points, but also provides clear expectations for the candidate throughout the interview process and as a new hire.

Provide Market Information

To be perceived as a partner to your hiring managers, you must come to the kick-off meetings prepared. What does prepared look like? You should at least have a target list of companies that have similar roles. This will give your hiring manager a better idea of where talent is located and what type of competition you can expect. This is especially helpful when you are looking for an obscure skill set! 

Recruiters should also provide information around what the market is currently paying talent. Your hiring manager only has a limited view of the world: she knows what your company is paying the current team and knows what her other companies paid. Now, with salaries changing rapidly, especially in the tech world, it’s very easy for comp rates that were in band 6 months ago to be out of band today. You should be able to provide this information.

Get the recording of the full webinar "10 Hiring Manager Roadblocks and How to Overcome Them" below!


10 Hiring Manager Roadblocks

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Recruiter Tips