There are a lot of articles written for HR managers: 'Best practices for hiring managers’, ‘how to be a great interviewer’, are a couple examples. Most of these articles present a one-size-fits-all approach to making the right hire. Personally, I believe becoming a better HM is an ongoing process of awareness — of yourself, industry trends, and your audience — as well as taking the time to prepare accordingly for the interview you will conduct. I’ve worked with great hiring managers who consistently demonstrated these traits. They all had efficient, effective and productive interview processes. Three considerations stand out for me, and we are going to dive into these best practices in this blog.
One of the fundamentals of executing a successful recruitment strategy is understanding the norms and trends you're recruiting for. This can be a significant issue in industries such as technology, engineering and sales. I’m sure all recruiters have been in a situation where a HM insists on X, Y and Z, when including Z can reduce your talent pool by 90 percent and isn’t necessarily fundamental to the role.
When working with a quality partner, your recruiter will have a great understanding of what is needed and will always aim to get the perfect profile from the start. However, it can soon become clear that strict requirements can seriously hinder the time-to-hire, if not make it an unfillable role. This can come in many forms — whether it’s requiring a tech stack that other companies just don’t use in your area, or requiring a skillset that in the vast majority of companies is outsourced.
Likewise, many HMs fall into the trap of believing that, because in one city or one country you can fill a requirement 100 percent, it must subsequently be equally possible everywhere else. There’s a wealth of data surrounding talent pools in various regions and countries. To be a good HM, listening and partnering with your recruiter to understand the industry is critical to a successful outcome. This strategy will help you maintain the flexibility and knowledge to make the right hire.
A natural follow on to understanding your market is understanding your role. Another scenario many recruiters will relate to is the candidate that ticks 100 percent of the boxes but is a moderate culture fit. Hiring a candidate who satisfies every skill requirement is not always a good thing, despite short-term gains in the lack of training needed. The likelihood of them becoming frustrated, bored and disengaged increases, which in the long-term can lead to less of a return on investment. Understanding your role, what it offers and the profile you need for it can help save you a lot of pain further down the line. After all, every opportunity is ‘unique’ and ‘amazing’, according to adverts. Being a great HM is not just about finding the candidate that ticks every skillset needed, but finding someone who would bring new and innovative ideas that fit within your organisation's culture.
The last thing to mention is to know your candidate. Speak with your recruiter before an interview to understand how best to engage with a candidate in order to properly evaluate him or her. Recruiters have this intel and do their best to provide advice in hopes that it will only build the candidate's confidence to ensure you're getting the best lens into how they will perform.
Some of the best hiring managers I have worked with make the effort to put the candidate at ease; they make it less formal if required and they open with a general discussion about a topic of interest to the candidate. These hiring managers are interested in hiring the most skilled and talented candidate for the role, and tailor their approach accordingly. This can be effective in truly understanding what a candidate can bring to an organisation and help evaluate them on what they can contribute, not how well they handle an interview.
Combined, these three themes can be very powerful in recruitment – ensuring that hiring managers are as effective and efficient as possible and in creating a quality candidate experience. There is no ‘one question’ that will give you a great hire. Rather, it’s a case of understanding a multitude of factors, and partnering with your recruiter on them. Understanding the market and the availability within it will ensure you get your shortlist. Understanding your role and whether it would bring value and progression to the employee will help you select the right candidates for an interview. Understanding the candidate and ensuring you engage with them in a tailored and unique way will maximise the chances of you choosing the right person for a role. Continuous learning and proactively understanding these factors, as a HM, should make your life a lot easier down the line and ensure that successful outcomes are met.
Luke is a recruitment business partner and co-lead of WilsonHCG’s Sourcing 2.0 committee. Having graduated from the University of Essex with a degree in history, he began his career within IT recruitment, specialising within the testing and QA space. Luke decided to make the move into a RPO as he considered it a stronger value adding proposition for clients whilst also allowing him to have a greater influence from a strategic perspective. Since joining WilsonHCG, Luke has worked globally for a range of Fortune 1000 companies, covering a wide array of job functions whilst maintaining his personal interest in technology.