Over the past 20 years in this business, I’ve learned that clients often don’t know what they want when filling a position. They think they know, but as they start evaluating talent, it becomes apparent that something is amiss…
One of the biggest “tells” that a client lacks clarity is when they continually ask for more candidates. My interview-to-hire ratio is about 3 to 1. For every three candidates I present to my clients, one gets hired. When my client is interviewing the 7th, 8th, 9th candidate…I know that something is up. It’s time to speak with them to course correct and re-calibrate the search.
The interaction that follows is always both revealing and helpful. Sometimes a poorly created job description is the culprit. Humans are not job descriptions…and few have professional DNA that correlates 100% to all the various position requirements – i.e., the “ideal candidate”. There ARE no ideal candidates. So, it’s important to really distill things down to what’s absolutely required vs. what’s “nice to have.”
Another thing that often surfaces is that there is a lack of consensus among all the stakeholders in the interview process. This is most common when there are “too many cooks in the kitchen” …too many people evaluating the candidate. The way we address that is to pull all the stakeholders together and get them on the same page. The hiring manager must lead that process; after all, it’s their hire. Conversely, the stakeholders must understand that they are being asked for input, and not being asked to dictate the hiring decision.
Lastly, the hiring manager must be decisive. Interview a candidate, seek input from the stakeholders, and conclude on the candidate. Don’t be wishy-washy; don’t expect the group to be unanimous in their opinion. If everyone agrees – great. It’s an easy call. It they’re not – it’s the hiring manager’s job to make the call. Don’t expect someone else to do it for you.