June 25 , 2017

The Top 7 Ways to Get Hiring Managers to Devote More Time to Recruiting

As seen on ERE Media (June 5, 2017).

Of all of the contributing factors that lead to success in recruiting, the hiring manager has the highest overall impact. For example, one study found that recruiting’s relationship with the hiring manager was the No. 1 driver of overall talent acquisition’s performance and that it was four times more influential than the other 15 performance drivers.

The hiring managers’ impact on recruiting results is so high because they make the critical decisions on who stays in or eliminated. And hiring managers also have a significant negative impact when they don’t devote enough time to the hiring process. That slows the decision, and the resulting delay will mean that most top candidates will drop out before a hiring decision can be made.

The fact that recruiters must continually prod hiring managers reveals that most hiring managers don’t understand or appreciate how much delaying the completion of the recruiting process negatively impacts their hiring and business results. Unfortunately, most hiring managers act as if recruiting is a low-importance item that can be “put off until another day.” Fortunately, there are ways that you can develop a stronger sense of urgency among your hiring managers so that they more quickly set hiring criteria and they expedite resume screening, interview scheduling, and the final hiring decision. So if you are a recruiting leader or recruiter who would be happy if your hiring managers devoted up to 25 percent more time to hiring, I have some proven actions for you to consider.

Start by Showing Managers the Tremendous Costs Associated With Slow Hiring

There are three areas where not devoting enough time to hire can cost a hiring manager by reducing their recruiting and business results.

  1. Show managers that slow recruiting causes the best candidates to drop out — in my research I have found that the single largest contributor to a slow hiring process is the delays caused by disinterested hiring managers. They create unnecessary delays primarily because most hiring managers see no negative consequences as a result of a protracted hiring process. So the first step that you should take is to make hiring managers aware that slow hiring directly reduces the quality of the hire simply because most top candidates will drop out of a long protracted recruiting process. These top candidates drop out so quickly because the top 10 percent of your applicants will likely have another offer within 10 days. Other top candidates will drop out before an offer can be made in a long protracted process either because they are frustrated with the delay or they see this slow decision-making as an indication that their new manager will painfully slow in all of their decisions. Recruiters should periodically sample the top 10 percent of candidates to see how many days pass before none remains. And then quantify in days the impact that slow hiring has on retaining top candidates so that they are still available for interviews and job offers. Make the hiring manager realize that just like the prom, the very best dates simply won’t be available weeks after the event is announced.
  2. Show hiring managers the dollars that they lose every day that a position is vacant — if you ran an airline and you had a position vacancy in a pilot’s job, you would obviously lose a great deal of money during each day that the plane couldn’t fly because there was no pilot. Therefore, recruiters should make hiring managers fully aware that slowing down the hiring process means that they will generate “excess vacancy days.” And each of those vacancy days results in an avoidable loss in either dollars or productivity. Managers should also be aware that the economic losses from these excess vacancy days will be especially high in revenue-generating jobs and in project jobs, where excess vacancy days may result in missing critical deadlines. Work with the CFO’s office to quantify in dollars how much every vacancy day in key positions costs an individual manager. That dollar loss in revenue, productivity, and missed deadlines should be enough to motivate hiring managers to allocate more time to recruiting.
  3. Quantify the dollar cost and the damage done by hiring weak and toxic employees — hiring managers should fully understand that an extended hiring process will result in the hiring of weak or even toxic employees. These below-average hires will likely negatively impact team productivity and cohesion. These weak new hires will also likely make serious errors and damage customer relationships. And in addition, these mis-hires will take up a lot of managers’ time when they have to be managed, coached, and eventually replaced. Managers need to realize that an extended hiring process almost always results in weak or toxic hires simply because only the unemployed and the desperate may be willing to endure a long and drawn-out process. If your process takes more than 25 days to hire, your only remaining hiring choice may be selecting the best out of a mediocre pool of remaining candidates. Work with the CFO’s office to quantify in dollars the loss in productivity that occurs when you are forced to hire a below average, weak, or toxic employee. If you focus on sales jobs (where performance is already quantified in dollars), you can quickly and easily show hiring managers the percent decline in sales with every week added to the recruiting process.

Next Show Managers the Positive Economic Impacts of Expedited Hiring

After you show hiring managers the costs of slow hiring, next show them the positive economic benefits that result from hiring that is expedited because managers devoted more time to recruiting.

  1. Quantify the dollar value added when a manager hires top performers and innovators— showing the losses created by the high candidate dropout rate as a result of slow hiring might not be enough to get the attention of some hiring managers. Shift to the positive and show them how shortening the hiring process increases the quality of the hire (the on-the-job performance of new hires). But you must also demonstrate to hiring managers the many economic benefits that result from hiring top performers. Work with the CFO’s office to quantify their increase in productivity, teamwork, and strategic thinking. You should also demonstrate the economic impacts that accrue to a team when because of expedited hiring; they can now successfully land the highly valuable innovators and those with exceptional skills covering high demand areas like artificial intelligence and robotics. Also, show individual managers how poor hiring may reduce their chances of earning a bonus and getting promoted. And that after successfully recruiting a single star they may act as a magnet to attract many others.

And Finally, Take Some Administrative Steps to Increase the Motivation of Your Hiring Managers 

Here are three additional actions that may increase the amount of time that hiring managers spend on recruiting.

  1. Show hiring managers that they are the major contributor to slow hiring — in many cases hiring manager simply don’t believe that they are a significant part of the problem. So you should research your recruiting process to determine precisely where the effort seems to stall. In most cases, you’ll find that a majority of the delays are caused by hiring managers. Every firm is different, but the largest delays generally come from a hiring manager’s slowness in scheduling interviews, followed by slowness in screening resumes, and finally slowness in making a final hiring decision. Obviously, it makes sense for recruiters to subtly let managers know how and where in the recruiting process that individual hiring managers are unintentionally hurting their own recruiting results. Suggest timelines and alert hiring managers just before a suggested due date is approaching.
  2. Show them how they compare against other hiring managers — managers are almost always highly competitive individuals. So one way to get them to spend more time on recruiting is to show them their high, low, and average “time to fill” and quality of hire. And then compare to the results produced by other hiring managers. Not only will this comparison information likely spur them to improve their recruiting speed and quality, but it also allows them to seek advice from those hiring managers who have demonstrated that they know how to produce superior results.
  3. Eliminate recruiter errors that frustrate hiring managers  some hiring managers begin the hiring process with the best intentions, and they fully intend to make it a priority “this time.” But they quickly lose their enthusiasm when a major error caused by a recruiter occurs midway through the recruiting process. For example, getting even one “ugly resume” in a candidate slate (i.e. those passed along that are so unqualified that they should have never been) may discourage a hiring manager. Having their top candidates drop out before the interview process or having numerous interview no-shows may also cause a manager to give up on the hiring process temporarily. As a recruiter, it’s your job to minimize these frustrating events so that hiring managers continually maintain their focus on completing the recruiting process quickly. You can also help them to expedite the process by analyzing the process for their last hire and then showing them the areas (like unnecessarily high job specifications) that created unnecessary delays.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a single answer on the best way to get managers to devote more time on hiring, the best answer is “show them the money.” Because managers are almost always money focused, the key is to show them how their business results will improve with great hiring and how their results will suffer from slow or weak hiring.

Next, showing them that other hiring managers within your firm are hiring better and faster may also stir their competitive spirits.

Also, when you see that an individual manager is continually delaying at a particular point in the recruiting process, work with them to find out if there is an easy solution that may eliminate the delay or problem.

Finally, learn more about a hiring manager’s business problems and opportunities, because that is a critical factor in building the relationship between a manager and their recruiter.


If you found this article to be helpful, please follow me on LinkedIn

Image: Pixibay 


About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.