Working to Become a Hiring Manager of Choice

David Barlaam candidate experience, Hiring Managers, Recruiting

This month I’ve hired half a dozen employees for my team, and as I talked to them during a break in their training, I asked them about their experience. I was especially curious about what influenced their interest initially, how the process went for them, what were their concerns, and when did they decide they wanted the job.

What made a difference?

1–Job Title & Job Description – Write the job description TO the person you’re seeking to hire, describing to them why the job aligns with their career goals, how what they do will advance their careers, what they’ll learn, and the aspects of the job they will enjoy (and those that they will find challenging as well – honesty is critical) not a generic list of things they’ll have to do.

While the body of the job description is important, the job title matters more than anything else – if you don’t use the title they’re most likely to look for, you’re out of luck. They’ll never see all of the great writing you did as they won’t click on an irrelevant or not easily identifiable or understood title

Be sure to put the internal official title in the job description if you do use a different one. e.g. As our “Corporate Recruiter” (internally titled “Talent Acquisition Associate III”)

2–Speed – Make a huge effort to reach out as soon as humanly possible to each candidate that seems to be a strong match for what we’re looking for. Most important – reach out within 4-8 business hours so that you’re either chatting directly with them the day that they apply or the next business day.

3–Medium used – Texts are great, email templates (formerly known as form letters) are good tools, however both are pretty impersonal ways to meet someone. It is important to directly connect

Phone call – directly to the person, and if you get them on the line, talk to them right then and there, don’t schedule something for later unless they’re unable to talk with you when you call

Text & Email, including why you’re calling, (I give my office number (if I’ll be there), mobile phone number, and my Calendly link where they can schedule a video ½ hour chat if they so choose)

Why the order of communication matters (call then text) We’ve all heard the “people prefer text messages now… ya know – those millennials” – but guess what? Unless you’re only going to be managing them via text, they want to hear who you are, get to know you a bit, decide if they like you/can deal with you or not. Text can certainly be great tool to set up a call or video chat if needed, but is not a primary tool in this case.

4–Just be you – I often tell interviewers that the goal at the end of interviewing someone isn’t to check the box that you asked them all of the recommended questions exactly as written, but to be sure that YOU the INTERVIEWER can answer all of them about the candidate based on what they told you.  HAVE A CONVERSATION with people – don’t interrogate them. With some practice, which most people reading this will have in spades, you can guide the conversation where it needs to go without much prompting at all!

5–Follow-up – If you’re interested in moving forward, let them know right in the moment on the call. If you know that you won’t be moving forward, do likewise if possible, or at least don’t further flame their desire. Often times someone may be out of our pay range or looking for something different than we are offering, and I’ll let them know the discrepancy, and offer to keep them in mind for other roles or refer them to others (even outside the company) who might have a better match for them.

If I think highly of them I’ll even offer an intro to any of my LinkedIn connections if it helps them on their search. (We are in the Miracle on 34th Street time of year, after all – and if it’s in the movies it MUST work, right?)  Actually – this one does work and has been the source of some of my best referrals throughout my career – people like referring their friends to ethical recruiters who put the candidate first!

Some interesting other notes:

–Given the complete lack of response that candidates are used to after submitting a resume to most jobs, they were each surprised to hear so quickly. Some feared it to be “too good to be true” and worried that it might be a scam. Further research and the continuing process with other folks involved eased that concern.

–I think by far the most interesting and exciting learning was that most decided if they planned to accept the job or not ON THE FIRST CONVERSATION.

Think about that for a moment.

If candidates know that they want something (or don’t want something, potentially) based on the first interaction, are you putting your best foot forward? Who is making that first impression for you, and how are they doing so? Do you ever use a “secret shopper” to see exactly what it feels like? If not, it’s something to consider for sure!

Lastly, constant communication, clarity, transparency, and forthrightness went a long way. Do what you say you’re going to do, actions do speak louder than words.

A closing note – I’m thrilled to join the Fistful of Talent family – and wish all of you the happiest of holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza, and soon, Happy New Year!

For anyone worried about going into the holiday season without a job worrying that “no one hires during the holidays”, rest assured that COMPANIES ARE STILL HIRING! Even if you’re not getting the responses you’re looking for, keep pushing. Sometimes you can better connect with mentors during the holidays too, so don’t be afraid to think, be, and do different!

Here’s to 2021 being our best year yet – see you then!