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“You’re being a d*$!,” I said to the hiring manager

Learn from one of the worst hiring processes experienced by a recruitment expert. Three lessons: look for problem solvers, be consultative in your approach, and know that perfection doesn't exist.

Have you ever walked out of an interview feeling like you just got hit by a truck?

I have. And get this… I wasn’t even being interviewed.

This is the story of when I told a hiring manager he was basically being a jerk to the candidate. Only, in the moment, a more colorful word slipped out. Here are some takeaways from one of the worst hiring processes I’ve ever seen.

And yes, this is all 100% real.

Here’s the situation…

As a recruitment process outsourcing firm, we help organizations get the talent they need by refining their talent acquisition strategy.

The first step in that process is obviously seeing how they operate as-is. So we sit passenger on a hiring process and take notes as to how they can improve their speed, communication and overall candidate experience.

A few years ago, I was consulting a company on a senior software engineer position. High-level job, right? So you’d imagine the company bending over backwards to make sure they get the right talent to fill an important role.

Not the case.

Here are a few things they were already doing wrong:

  • Had the attitude of “You should be tripping over yourself to work with us”
  • They had high turnover and lots of culture problems
  • They were severely underpaying for the position

I sat in on an interview as part of the learning process. To my surprise, the hiring manager ignored all these warning signs.

He made the code test needlessly difficult – basically demoralizing. He was cold, unfriendly and unwelcoming. And he made the candidate feel horrible not only about themselves and their skills – but ultimately, about the company too!

After the interview, the hiring manager was shocked to learn the candidate withdrew from consideration for the position.

A hiring manager unaware of all the issues plaguing their recruitment strategy

I spoke candidly with the hiring manager. And I said, “I hate to say it, but you were being kind of a d$!* to that candidate.”

(By the way, I don’t casually sling names like that. Afterward, the hiring manager really appreciated the honesty and made great adjustments in his approach.)

This is what I learned about that experience.

Three lessons I learned…

1. Perfection doesn’t exist

And it never will.

Looking for the perfect candidate will lead you nowhere. No matter how hard you search, everyone has a weakness that you don’t like. That’s just the nature of humanity. So stop trying to find someone who fits an unrealistic bill.

Instead, focus on finding someone with …

  1. the right skills,
  2. a willingness to learn on the job,
  3. and a desire to contribute to your mission.

2. Look for problem solvers – not specific skills

Sure, I understand in more technical positions, it’s important your new hire has a certain skillset and can build the product you need to build for your customers.

But if you have a more operational role, look for candidates who can solve problems and bring value to your company.

These individuals may not have all the specific skills you’re looking for. But if they can think critically, collaborate with teammates and find complex solutions, they’ll definitely be a valuable asset to your team.

Problem solving and competency over skills. All day.

3. Be consultative, not top-down in your talent acquisition approach

This is a new development for the recruitment industry. Get ahead of the curve.

The more controlling, top-down approach you bring to the recruitment process, the more negative candidate experience you’ll create.

And we all know once you lose top talent in the hiring process, you’ve lost them for good.

Watch out for these warning signs:

  • Poor body language
  • Low new hire retention
  • An “it’s all about us” attitude
A hiring manager thinking it's all about them

Instead, be consultative in your hiring.

  • Make the process collaborative
  • Make them feel valued and heard
  • Ask candidates for their opinions and input

If it’s not a right fit, support them in finding a new job. You don’t have to go all out and literally recruit them for another company.

But offer some advice and feedback about why this role wasn’t the right fit. This will help you find the right fit for your company and create a positive experience for everyone involved.

A bad candidate experience hurts all over

The hiring process can be a grueling experience – for candidates, hiring managers and talent acquisitions teams. And sure, it can be frustrating at times too.

But with these lessons, you can make it a more positive and productive one.

  • Perfection doesn’t exist
  • Look for problem solvers
  • Be consultative in your approach interviewing top talent

We can help! Get started with a free consult here.

“You’re being a d*$!,” I said to the hiring manager

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