How to Engage Hiring Managers with Assessments

How to Engage Hiring Managers with Assessments

Hiring managers; you can’t live with them … Some people I speak to in HR would just end that sentence there, but the reality is you can’t live without them either. That doesn’t change the fact that this relationship is the cause of so much frustration for all parties involved: HR, hiring managers, and candidates.

So, how do you engage hiring managers in the recruiting process and make everybody happy?

In last year’s McQuaig Global Talent Recruitment Survey, hiring managers was tied for second on the list of challenges HR is facing in trying to recruit talent. Right behind finding qualified candidates. The second biggest challenge you have in making quality hires is the people you’re hiring for.

Why Aren’t Hiring Managers Engaged?

Because of the business we’re in, I get a chance to talk to both hiring managers and HR, which gives me an interesting perspective on the challenges. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but these are some of the more common reasons I hear for why hiring managers aren’t engaged in the recruiting process:

  • Hiring managers don’t trust HR. Even though the end goal is the same – a great hire – for some reason there can be distrust or lack of respect.
  • They don’t know how recruiting works. Managers don’t understand what goes into recruiting for a role, and don’t get a great explanation from HR, so they don’t really know their role.
  • Hiring managers are too busy. Recruiting isn’t their job; it’s something that gets in the way of their job (at least in their mind). So, they don’t prioritize it.
  • They don’t know what to ask for. Managers give HR a list of qualifications that’s either too vague or too restrictive and just expect to magically get ideal candidates pounding on their door.

How to Engage Hiring Managers

It would be really easy to point a finger at the hiring managers and list all the things they need to do to live up to their responsibilities in the recruiting process. The problem there is that you can’t really fix a problem that belongs to someone else. I firmly believe that we can’t control other people’s actions. The only thing we can control is how we react to them, and what we do ourselves to shift behavior.

{{cta(‘1f885d1a-7590-4a85-96b9-3896025138fb’,’justifyright’)}}There are a lot of things that HR can do to try to better engage with hiring managers, but I think the solution to getting them onboard comes down to doing two things: making better hires; and making it easier for them.

A lot of the work I do with clients is to help implement our assessment tools to do exactly that. Here are some of those strategies I’ve helped clients set up that may also help you. You can undertake most of these without using an assessment tool if you don’t have one, but using one makes it a lot easier.

Making Better Hires

We know managers are busy. We also know they get frustrated when the candidates they interview don’t match the image they had of an ideal candidate. Most failed new hires don’t fail because of skills, they fail because of fit. In our 2016 survey, 53% of new hires failed because their personality or character did not fit.

This all comes down to a faulty target. Managers aren’t giving HR enough information to build a realistic target. What you can do about it is get them to spend a little more time up front to create a 3-D job profile (we call it an employee persona) and get consensus before moving forward.

I’ve written an entire post on what this is and how to do it, but basically you have to be sure your ideal candidate profile includes:

  • Background/Experience
  • Technical skills
  • Personality/Character
  • Goals (career, personal)
  • Non-technical skills

The third point is critical. This will address the 53% of failed new hires that were a bad fit. I help our clients use our Job Profiling tool to create a behavioral profile of the ideal candidate. The process involves the hiring manager, and other stakeholders, and gets everybody in agreement before you start sourcing candidates. If you don’t use assessments, you can try this free tool we created to help you.

This process will give you a solid target to use. And if you use some of the tips in our post on employee personas, it will also help you create your sourcing strategy.

Making it Easier for Managers

Let’s face it; most hiring managers are not good interviewers. They don’t do it very often; they’ve had no training; and most just kind of wing it, letting first impressions and biases drive their decisions. Aside from making it nerve-wracking for the manager, this increases the risk of litigation as well as the cost of poor hires.

Our clients use our assessments to make this whole process much easier for the manager. They do it by preparing the manager before the interview so that they’re more confident and comfortable going into that interview. This makes it less stressful for the manager, so they don’t avoid it as much, and makes them much more effective, resulting in better hires. Here are some ways they do it:

  • Our Job Profiling tool (mentioned above) provides behavioral interview questions for the role
  • Having each candidate complete an assessment provides a Level of Fit rating to the role and provides candidate-specific behavioral interview questions related to their strengths and gaps regarding job fit
  • Provide the managers with the candidate report, which gives insights into their natural behavior, or personality, and helps in understanding what makes them tick. This can really help a manager prepare for how to best engage with the candidate.

These are just some of the ways we can use assessments and other strategies to engage hiring managers in the recruiting process. If you’re interested in more, get in touch and I’d be happy to discuss.

What tips do you have for engaging hiring managers?


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Kristen Harcourt
Kristen Harcourt

Great point, Jason! The better we know someone, the better we'll be able to help them.

Jason Cavness
Jason Cavness

We also have to start the relationship with our hiring managers prior to them wanting to hire someone. That way we can do a better job of assisting them.

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