Hiring Manager

The Interview Lovefest –OR– Who REALLY Makes The Hiring Decision?

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Situations still exist where a hiring manager simply hires who he or she wants for the job. But this has become the exception, rather than the rule. These days, you've got to impress more than just the hiring manager at a potential employer. Hiring has become a group decision, with several interviewers involved.

And the decision to hire a particular person is often consensus-driven; in other words, all interviewers have to agree that the candidate is right for the job. In other words, fail to hit the mark with a single interviewer who has a bee in their bonnet, and they can black ball you. You're out; next candidate, please.

Why is it this way?

A bad hire can be costly to an organization. It costs serious money to pay their salary, to train them, to fix their work, and then to fund their severance package after they've ticked off their coworkers and cost the company a major client.

So, this makes a hiring manager less interested in taking the sole risk and responsibility for a hire. They want other people to play a role in making sure a potential employee fits the culture of the company and technical aspects of the role. They don't want their own career to stall if things don't work out with New Employee X. Conversely, if the individual is a superstar, everybody has a hand in bringing this new gem on board - free margaritas for everyone!

Welcome to the world of hiring by committee. Here are the players you need to impress, and what they want:

  • Hiring Manager: That you'll make them look like a genius for hiring you because of the skills you bring; you can take instruction and work independently; you'll reduce their pain by taking over what part of the workload they've been covering. Unless they're really strategic, they want to make sure you won't become their boss anytime soon (though they really should be looking for successors).
  • Peers / Coworkers: That you'll take over part of the team's workload, hopefully giving them breathing room and a bit more time to focus on what they want to focus on; you have the business and/or technical skills to keep up with the team; you won't be a threat to their own promotion opportunities; you're not a jerk.
  • Human Resources:  That you fit into the salary structure they had planned; you really, really want to work there; you're not an employee relations issue waiting to happen.
  • Internal or External Customers: That you have a strong customer-centric orientation; you will listen and respond to their needs; you're not a pain in the butt to deal with.
  • Executives: That you are as good as the hiring manager says you are.

As you can see, everybody has a bit of a different motivation during the interview process. It's entirely possible that if an interviewer does or does not like you, they will try to influence the interviewers after them to their way of thinking. And it's much easier to get everybody to agree on "No", than it is to agree on "Yes".

Here are three strategies that should help you maneuver a diverse interview panel:

  1. Do your research on the company and the division with which you are meeting. It seems obvious, but it apparently isn't. I've asked candidates, "So, what do you know about us?", and received an incredible number of fudged answers, which reflects very poorly on a candidate. Interviewers think, "We weren't important enough to research? How badly do you actually want to work here?"  Check Google News, Hoovers, and any other sources which can tell you what's going on with your potential employer.
  2. Do your research on your interviewers. If you happen to get an agenda in advance, do your research on LinkedIn as to each individual's background. You may wish to Google them as well, see if anything interesting pops up. If one of your interviewers was recently awarded a high-visibility patent, or presented at an industry conference, it can only help to know this.
  3. Be respectful to everybody you meet. From the CEO down to the janitor, be friendly, courteous, and helpful to everybody. I, personally, resent candidates who treat the recruiter as a patsy and the hiring manager with reverence - it shows a lack of common decency, and a nasty political side. Anybody who has a bad experience with you will find a way to funnel this information the decision makers.  While we're on the subject, send thank-you notes to all interviewers. Every single one. Email is sufficient. If you aren't able to get business cards for everybody, ask the person who scheduled your interview for email addresses. Send promptly. Interviewers can - and will - talk about who received a thank you card and who did not.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

 

 

5 Ways to Combat Hiring Manager Indecision in the Interview Process

5 Ways to Combat Hiring Manager Indecision in the Interview Process

Have you ever noticed that companies are bit slow to make hiring decisions these days?

It's not unusual for the interview process to take days, weeks, sometimes even months. Or for the process to involve meeting with upwards of 10 interviewers. And to involve reference checks or personality tests or other exams before making a decision.

You're not imagining things, and it's no accident, either. The interview process is taking longer because employers are more afraid of risk.

But first some context. Let's rewind about 7 or 8 years ago, to the height of the recession. There were a glut of job seekers, and fewer jobs to go around. At the time, companies had more of options of candidates from which to choose, so they took advantage of this buyer's market. They became more selective.

Now it's 2016 and as I check today the unemployment rate in the United States is 4.9%. If you as a job seeker have some talent, it's more of a seller's market, but you wouldn't know it by the interview process. Here are some reasons why:

  • Companies became used to being able to cherry pick employees in the bad market. They haven't adjusted their mindset to the reality of the moment, which is that there's more jobs than qualified people to fill them. So they're more inclined to wait for that "perfect fit," even if they don't exist.
  • Managers are terrified to make a bad hiring decision. They fear that if they hire somebody who doesn't work out, for whatever reason, it's a bad reflection on them. And maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But hiring decisions aren't forever (we're ALL replaceable).
  • Blame is to be shared. If you're afraid to make a hiring decision, what's the best way to cover yourself? Why not make sure that the whole team has a part in the decision making process? Many managers are delegating their hiring authority to their teams, their peers, their internal and external customers, and other stakeholders so that if the person doesn't work out, everybody can throw up their hands and say, "Well, that candidate fooled all 34 of us who interviewed him!" No single person then takes the blame for making a bad decision. And how freaking hard is it to impress EVERYBODY that you interview with - without consensus, you likely won't get the nod.

So, what can you do to shake things loose when you seem to be stuck in the wheels of the interview process? There's no guaranteed remedy, but here are some ways to kick loose from hiring manager indecision!

  1. Try your best to take control of the process. Be proactive in asking the recruiter and hiring manager what the next steps will be and when you can expect to hear from them. Ask if they need anything else from you to help move the process forward.
  2. Demonstrate your interest in the role, right now. Convey excitement for the position. Verbalize this, telling anybody who will listen, "I'm very excited by this opportunity, and would love to joint the team!" You'd be surprised how many job seekers never clearly express their interest in the job. People notice.
  3. Send thank you notes, to everybody. It's that little bit of extra effort that shows you care and that you listened to what the interviewers said. I've seen well-placed thank you notes put a job candidate over the top since it makes such a positive impression.
  4. Keep the employer apprised. Check in from time to time. If you are expecting an offer from another company, and time is of the essence, pick up the phone and call the recruiter and let them know that their company is your first choice, but you are anticipating having to make a decision soon. It may push things forward.
  5. Be proactive with references, backup data, or anything else that may help your case. If you show that you are open and have nothing to hide, you may be able to leverage these little extras in the name of progress.

 

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. He is a Human Resources professional and staffing expert with almost two decades of in-house corporate HR and staffing firm experience, and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC).

Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.