Take a Deep Breath–Recruiting Issues Abound

Our recruiting life is not without its problems. But left alone, they can keep job openings perpetually unfilled, inflame hiring managers and leave us as recruiters unsatisfied with our performance. Here’s just a few recruiting issues that we can encounter:

  • A highly qualified prospective candidate was given directions to the old company address and has yet to arrive, after resolving the error, two hours into their scheduled series of interviews.
  • A candidate in a final interview expresses interest in a position title that is at a grade higher than the open position and your HR Manager is (rightly) concerned the candidate will not stay long, if made an offer for a lower grade position.
  • Your interviewing team have extremely different takes on a candidate’s performance.
  • You learn your team’s interviewers have been discouraging a candidate from accepting a position with your firm.
  • You acquire a not-so-sterling reference for a candidate being considered for an offer.

If you’ve faced any of the above, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a bunker, with a tough shot to get your candidate back in play … if you only knew what shot to take!

Stay Calm & Focused

We can get some advice by looking at how Phil Mickelson appears to easily get himself out of bunkers
  1. He stays focused on positioning his lobed shot close to the hole
  2. He continues his concerted hand, arm & club motion through to the finish of his stroke
  3. He repeatedly practices perfecting his short game
How does Phil’s approach have relevance to our recruiting practices?
We need to stay focused on our desired outcome: ultimately finding and placing a well-qualified candidate, who can raise our team’s and firm’s performance.
Remain calm. None of the above recruiting problems are disasters. Let’s confront each of them and see how it can take us to our projected outcome:
  • Recover from a missed meeting location or time by re-routing the candidate to the correct location. Your priority is not to establish blame for missing an interview. Interview recovery is our focus. Apologize if your firm misdirected the candidate. They still need to be interviewed to establish their fit for your open position that while being unfilled is hurting your team’s performance. Take charge by having interviewers contacted and see how one or more schedules can be adjusted. Keep the interview in play!
  • Determine why a candidate may have expressed interest in a ‘fatter’ title. Try and uncover the context from which this interest was expressed. Speak with the candidate, sharing why the open position title is what it is (remember, titles are not uniform across companies) and establish if title is high on their needs list for acceptance. Determine of an alternative approach is possible, for the hiring manager to build a path to achieving the higher title, after coming on board.
  • Interviewers can give different ratings on a candidate for a number of reasons:
    • They don’t share a uniform measurement system you have established, prior to interviews commencing. This will require intervention, to assist the team building a uniform way of measuring candidates.
    • Interviewers may base they ratings on how much a candidate knows compared to their knowledge. Clarify with all interviewers what specific level of knowledge, skills, education, talent and attitude are vital to the open position.
    • Interviewers may have no prior experience conducting thorough interviews. Together with the hiring manager, assist these novice interviewers in understanding their new role and what specific areas of expertise where you want them to probe the candidate.
  • Interviewers discouraging a candidate from actively considering a position may have felt slighted by not having been personally selected for the position. They also could be uncomfortable in their team dynamics being changed, through a new hire. Both of these circumstances will need some active coaching on your part in HR and as well as the employee’s immediate supervisor. Careful interviewer selection by you as hiring manager and HR is also vital to the integrity of the recruiting process, being free of hidden agendas that can damage your recruiting game. Thoroughly vet your interviewers.
  • A less-than-sterling reference received on a candidate can be discouraging. Just as a golfer will check on the lie of their ball before taking their next shot, observe when the reference had last worked with your candidate. If a fair amount of time had transpired since the two worked together, did other references obtained (which involved more recent interaction with the candidate) address the same area where disparaging remarks were directed? Did your candidate improve, after leaving the reference’s company? Are there other references that could be identified-who had also worked at the same firm, who could validate or contradict the negative comments received? Note that if the candidate pool and funnel you have is sparse, it will be worthwhile to dig deeper, getting additional references from the same firm where the candidate had been.


Keep Candidate Communication Open

Be aware how fluid your motion in the recruiting process is, from the perspective of a candidate that is highly sought by your competition. Sudden starts and stops in communication between you and a strong candidate can convey indifference, or lack of interest.  Mitigating recruiting issues is an important goal throughout the entire source to hire cycle. If you have work, travel, or family schedule issues that could unreasonably stretch your hiring process, consult with your recruiter and determine ways to not lose qualified candidates–you might only have one brief opportunity to consider a candidate, before they are off the market, working for a competitor.

Recruiting Improves with Practice & Coaching

Continue to perfect your short recruiting game, covering the span from interview to hire. Educate yourself on recruiting issues that can arise, meeting with your recruiter and HR to map out recovery tactics. Be sure to also carefully develop a talented interview team, who will play a dual role as assessors and ambassadors. They can cultivate a positive candidate experience, regardless of the decision whether or not they receive an offer to join your firm.

Now, think positive. Set your tactical plan and get out of the recruiting bunker. It won’t be the last time you’re here. Prove to yourself you can be like Phil and stay in the game.

Best wishes in your recruiting game,

Closing Quote:

“It is nothing new or original to say that golf is played one stroke at a time. But it took me many years to realize it.”
Bobby Jones
Winner, 13 Major Championships