Recruiters are part matchmaker, part therapist and sometimes a magician. We are the wedding planners of Corporate America.
And we love it. No day is the same. The beauty of recruiting is the unending variety and the thrill of closing reqs. Helping great candidates get great jobs. Enhancing the careers of hundreds of people every year. Bringing new talent into your organization. Assisting leadership staff new projects and service lines. There’s a lot of positive aspects to the job!
Now let’s talk about the challenges. Top of the list? Rogue hiring managers. You know what I’m talking about.
In this era of talent shortage, it’s difficult enough to source and engage with top talent. But you find an amazing candidate, hook them, present them and think, “I got this.” Then you have a hiring manager who decides they know how to do your job better than you. They start causing problems. The candidate thinks I don’t have time for this and ghosts you because they aren’t happy.
Every day Recruiters share horror stories with me about Rogue Hiring Managers wreaking havoc. Here are 13 things you should watch out for when working with Hiring Managers:
1. Dumping unqualified candidates on you at offer stage asking you to close offer fast.
2. Conducting off the record backdoor references. Nothing says professionalism and ethics like calling an applicant’s current employer disclosing that they have applied to your company and you want to know if they are a “good person.”
3. Stress Interviews. Candidates love aggressive questioning by a somewhat mean stranger. Just love it. And telling them, “That’s what it’s like to work here,” really wins them over.
4. Abuse Interviews. People with jobs already who are taking a PTO day to interview and drove for an hour to get to the interview really enjoy a hiring manager drilling them about “gaps and job jumping” and “why do you want to work here?” They can’t wait to call their Recruiter to say, “You called ME. Why am I being verbally berated in an interview for changing jobs back in 2008 during the crash after my company went bankrupt?”
5. Unstructured Panel Interviews. On the phone. Yes, it happens. Nothing says assessment reliability and validity then 5 interviewers on a conference call with static.
6. Extending verbal offers in the interview. We’ve all had hiring managers “falling in love” and extending an offer in the interview with no approvals. And asking the candidate to accept on the spot.
7. No Filter. Telling candidates that they are only interviewing them because "HR forced them” and "I don't know why you are sitting here with me."
8. Oversharing. Telling candidates that they already have an internal candidate and are just doing the "required external interviews." The candidate ghosts you again while heading straight to www.glassdoor.com to post, “Why did I take a PTO day and risk my job for this awful company?”
9. Leaving in the middle of the interview for an extended period. “Sorry about that.” Most interviews are barely an hour. Candidates with jobs who took PTO days are usually going to backburner that employer the moment they walk out of the building.
10. Taking calls during the interview. Nothing says, “I’m focused on you" like a seven-minute call in the middle of an interview. Not awkward at all.
11. Waiting for Perfect. Every week, I see hiring managers telling a Recruiter, “We like this candidate but want to see more.” They slow roll very good candidates, adding additional interviews and forcing candidates to take days off from work to go meet with 17 people. Then their perfect candidate declines their offer which was a lateral move on compensation. They ask you to go back to Candidate #1 to extend an offer, but they have already gotten another job way above the compensation you were able to offer. Back to square one.
12. Hiring completely outside of the process. I’ve worked with a few hiring managers who have actually hired people completely outside of the process and not involved Talent, then telling "new hire" to call Talent on their own. That’s a fun conversation.
13. Using a search firm without required approvals or contract, then hiring a candidate, incurring a 30% fee for someone who was already in candidate database. Once again, fun conversation telling the search firm that they aren’t getting a fee.
As a Recruiter, you are an assessment professional and a brand ambassador. It’s your job to create a professional and non-abusive candidate experience. Rogue hiring manager behavior not only can affect your company’s reputation, it can also affect yours.
And just as importantly, candidates can report on all the quality of their interview and overall recruiting experience directly on www.glassdoor.com. If you are dealing with an out of control hiring manager, it’s important to document and coach the person and if necessary, get assistance and escalate appropriately.
Helping Hiring Managers Up their Game
Usually, Hiring Managers are willing to collaborate with Recruiters if they know the impact of their behavior. Most managers want to assist in enhancing the candidate experience. Most hiring managers are willing to help streamline the selection process if they understand what truly works.
Best practices include:
Always conduct intake calls with hiring managers prior to launching the search and document the meeting in an email. If they change job specs mid-search, you have your email and the approved req to show that the specs have changed.
Run a Recruiting Snapshot report to show the funnel and the time in each stage to show inefficiencies.
Add a New Hire survey to your Preboarding process.
Include a Candidate survey for all candidates who interview onsite in final interviews.
The bottom line here is that losing qualified candidates costs a lot of money. Job seekers demand the best candidate experience possible. Changing jobs is a major life decision.
Financially, it’s expensive not to address the 13 Deadly Sins of Rogue Hiring Managers. Every time a candidate withdraws or rejects an offer due to a poor candidate experience, an organization loses thousands of dollars. When in doubt, focus on the cost and brand reputation damage to get leadership attention.
Tracy Tedesco is a Talent Acquisition leader with extensive experience across corporate Talent Acquisition, Executive Search and Recruitment and Selection Systems Consulting. Tracy has spent the last 20 years working in a wide variety of roles across the Talent and People Operations function. She loves pairing qualified candidates with great employers, proving both parties with the proper fit. Tracy is a Master Trainer in Behavioral Interviewing with expert knowledge of building predictive, reliable and legally defensible interviewing and selection systems that enhance the candidate experience.