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I Want Them Now!

One of the biggest challenges that recruiters face is dealing with managers with unrealistic hiring expectations. Typically it has to deal with things like the hiring manager’s expectations that recruiting will find the “perfect” candidate, but more often than not the biggest challenge centres on how quickly the manager expects to have a candidate hired by you as the recruiter.

Temper TantrumThe irony of all this is that if you ask recruiters what their top challenges are with hiring managers, they will often cite manager (lack of) decision-making in their top three. Quite the dichotomy isn’t it? I have typically seen the first scenario as being more prevalent. That is, due to some combination of poor workforce planning, poor communication, lack of departmental integration, lack of foresight and vision, reactive management style or just overall poor planning, the common scenario we see is that of a hiring manager running to recruiting with a requisition demanding that they hire them four network security specialists “this week.” (You can insert whatever hard to find, specialized skillset you are required to hire for here!)

Sadly, I see and hear these horror stories all the time where managers think/demand that a qualified skilled professional position can be sourced and hired within a week. My advice to others, and my typical response to “requests” like these, is to take a deep breath and fight the urge to respond with why that is a completely insane request and can’t be done. I then fall back on the three legged stool of business which is: Of Fast, Cheap, & Good…you can have two of these things. So that is how I tackle things with a hiring manager who wants someone sourced and hired in a week. In other words, when I hear a request like, “I want them now,” I pull out the old three legged stool.

GoodFastCheap_Pick2In the cast of the example for this blog post, obviously the manager has already picked “Fast” – so if they want someone good, it isn’t going to be cheap. In other words, we will have to throw copious amounts of money at a candidate to get someone committed in that short a time period (perhaps a specialized subcontractor.) We will also need to spend a lot of additional resources to source, pre-screen, interview, test, reference check, etc. within a week. Staying with this theme of already having selected “Fast”, if they also want to minimize costs, (and won’t/can’t commit to the resources required to do this) then quite frankly, you just aren’t going to be able to provide them someone good.

Here is the thing, whether you are in recruiting and/or HR, the worst thing you can tell your business partners, from a credibility perspective, is “no” or why you “can’t” do something. It takes discipline to respond and think differently and respond with the mindset that you can do something and provide options. Likewise, there is no rule that says you have to respond with a “yes” and blindly try to meet the manager’s request – you aren’t in the military!

Provide your manager’s with options and leverage the three legged stool – it can be a very eye opening experience when they truly see what needs to “give” in order for them to “get” what they want. It has been my experience that most rational managers will understand that they can’t, in fact, have it all – that is, a fantastic candidate, hired quickly and at a cheap salary and/or without spending additional monies on the resources required to execute. Clearly spell out what it will take to meet the hiring manager’s demands and then ask them how they would like you to proceed with the campaign.

Here is the other important element to consider – you will also need to clearly identify with the manager what you need from them to make this “Fast” hire happen. That is, they will need to block out most of their own calendar that week for interviews and commit to making a hiring decision as soon as the interviews are done and a candidate is found (from the current pool). More often than not, the “Fast” element will change for you and perhaps you can, in fact, take some more time to hire someone and the request to have someone now will move out a bit.

Better yet, with some basic analytics and reporting, you can show the hiring manager the turnover rate and cost to replace staff that have been hired on short timelines/quick recruiting campaigns – I can pretty much bet the success rate of these campaigns is pretty low. Once the manager sees that they will be going through this same exercise again, or hiring staff, in a month due to the likelihood of attrition, they may change their thinking. Over time, the more you revert to this approach, the better and more reasonable expectations hiring managers will have of you as a recruiter. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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