There’s no silver bullet or exact ‘how to’ (we are not just talking about capability here). But here are 3 dimensions to think about to help in your journey to support Hiring Managers to be the best they can be. Then everyone benefits.
1. Set strategic context
It’s hard to shift mindset and behaviours without being clear on ‘the why’. If we develop any sort of training, there is typically a strategic framing upfront. This sets the tone for Talent Acquisition’s perceived value, the context for the expectations you are about to set, the experience you want to create and the desired outcomes. Things to think about to help set the context:
Link TA to Business outcomes
People Analytics will be your friend here; using data that correlates great hiring to business performance is where we need to get to. Also, educate Managers on the recruitment strategy in the business; why the operating model is set up as it is and how you are reacting to market conditions.
Hiring is not always the solution
A great strategic conversation is to reinforce that external recruitment is not the primary people strategy. Work through examples of where some flexibility in candidate requirements and upskilling internal candidates would open the door to internal moves, saving on external costs. Expanding the Manager’s aperture will also help you later in things like role design and avoid permanently chasing unicorns.
Quality over quantity
We are all under pressure to do more with less, so balancing efficiency and quality are key. Working with a Manager to really nut out the essentials, versus the nice-to-haves, in your short list will help, but data will take this to the next level. One trick; start quantifying the time involved in recruitment and modelling some ‘what if’ scenarios. Demonstrate how much time they will save by focusing on quality over quantity.
“The best thing that you can do for employees – is to hire only ‘A’ players to work alongside them. Excellent colleagues trump everything else.”
2. Define and support the Hiring Manager’s role
This will be very contextual to your organisation’s model and objectives but some things to consider, based on what we see from a broad cross-section of the market;
If they are a team or unit leader, the Hiring Manager needs to have their finger on the pulse to stay ahead of hiring needs. Strong planning helps to predict departure risks and build contingency plans. You can help here by providing simple frameworks, working with the business to keep the plans up to date and discussing it frequently to keep it top of mind. Be clear on the Hiring Manager’s role.
Brand and experience guardians
This shift from process to experience in the TA world is well documented but also well worth spending time on here. It places the Hiring Manager at the heart of the experience and neatly sets you up to talk about their critical role and impact. Analogies of bad customer experience are good ways into the conversation, backed up with data about the impact of negative hiring experiences such as this article from Kevin Grossman. Laying out the process, and where the Hiring Manager has an impact, really brings this to life.
Referrals should be a key source of hire so finding ways to build ‘network strength’ into the expectations of hiring managers is really important. One of our clients has introduced “sourcing jams” where the whole team come together regularly and actively brainstorm who they know in the market and essentially produce talent maps for proactive outreach. Often this gets you access to ‘hidden’ talent. The more proactive networking activity they undertake the faster they’ll find talent when they need it and they’ll establish a reputation as a talent magnet.
One way to mitigate biases is to build a consistent and transparent process. Instead of relying on coffee catch ups with candidates, Hiring Managers need tools like standardised interview guides and to stick to them. Another way to encourage good D&I practices is for Hiring Managers to bring diversity of thought (through their team) into the hiring process, then listen to their feedback and insights, which we can drive as recruiters.
Great Managers understand that recruitment doesn’t end once they have made the offer to their candidate. They ensure new hires are effectively pre-boarded before they even start. They ensure they are effectively onboarded over the first 12 months in the role and that the new hire understands their performance expectations from day one. You can support by providing sample calendars of activity and conversation templates to frame the discussions.
3. Your Role
As a partner to the business, your key role is to support and guide, in line with the strategic objectives. Here are a few additional areas to consider;
Lead with data
As a recruiter, you’ll know the inherent dangers of a Hiring Manager that relies too heavily on their gut. To build a more reliable approach, be their recruitment data geek; supply talent heat maps, supply/demand and performance data from current employees. I have seen big improvements within short spaces of time, leading with data quickly re-frames the discussion and behaviour.
Provide learning opportunities
A manager who recruits one or two roles a year simply won’t get enough time to hone their skills. Hiring Manager capability can only be built up by getting involved in the recruitment process in other ways. Facilitate this by getting them to join a recruitment panel for another department or just sitting in on other interviews.
Instead of focusing on time to fill, one of our clients recently introduced Manager KPIs, focused on proactive talent attraction and engagement. They are now targeting Managers around the health of their talent networks, which I mentioned above. Setting KPIs can hold your whole Hiring Manager training programme in place.
Setting aside the obvious matter of D&I, homogeneous teams can appeal to some Hiring Managers as they can make faster decisions when everyone thinks the same and it minimises conflict. A certain level of discomfort (a point TQ refer to as ‘optimal anxiety’) can produce great results, but it takes confidence. Great managers don’t hire clones, nor are they intimidated by employees being more talented than themselves. Instead they opt to hire people confident enough in their own ability to disagree with them from time to time.
We find that building in an element of objectivity really helps, so work with managers to identify the strengths, weaknesses, goals and personalities in the current team before working out what is required in any new team members.
“I consider the most important job of someone like myself as recruiting.”
I suppose my main message here, as part of our ‘Fixing The Business of TA’ series is….be more like Steve. If people are your most important asset, Hiring is too important to just be ‘something TA does’.
TQSolutions (TQ) is regarded as Australia’s leading Advisory and Solutions firm for Talent Acquisition, Recruitment and Careers related projects – this is the world of organisational Joiners, Movers and Leavers. We do this through:
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