OK, let’s say you went through a bunch of interviews sometime ago and they all seemed to go well. During the interview, it was all smiles and the Hiring Manager says “We’ll have an answer for you in a few days”, and then a few weeks go by with no word, you are caught in the:
Hiring Decision Conundrum!
So what do you do? You call and either the Recruiter or the Hiring Manager, They tell you that there hasn’t been a decision made yet, they are still interviewing other Candidates, but you are told, “You’re definitely in the running for the job”.
And then a few more weeks go by.
So what’s really going on?
As Recruiter, I always used to wonder just how did my Clients go about making hiring decisions. Like many other Recruiters, I would present Candidates to my Clients, really great ones in fact. I would take the time and effort to write a detailed Candidate Profile explaining each Candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, indicate how they would be successful for my Clients and more importantly – whether they could actually do the job in question, rather simply having some skills, experience and knowledge.
Naturally, I had Candidates I thought were stronger than others but Employers would often choose a Candidate I thought were qualified but not the most ideal to actually do the job and fit exactly into the Employer’s Company Culture.
There never seemed to be a rational reason for the decisions made by the Hiring Manager.
So when I made the decision to change from Poacher to Gamekeeper by creating Recruitment-Guru.com to help Candidates increase their success ratio in gaining the jobs that they seek, one of the things I wanted to evaluate was how does a company make a hiring decision. It became obvious that Hiring Managers, HR Executives and interviewers have pet peeves and sometimes conflicting agendas. It often comes down to subjective reasons – simply liking the person. And this method of selection happens in any organization.
But there were structural issues that create the Hiring Decision Conundrum, that as a Recruiter, and sometime in the past, a Candidate, I had never known about and here are three that have a profound effect on the Hiring Decision Conundrum and how hiring decisions are made:
1) Budget or Hiring Freeze
Usually, new positions are worked into the budget during the budget planning process. But because a Company adjusts it’s budget depending on quarterly results. A position that’s opened in one-quarter may be put on hold until the next quarter or later. Many times, a Company won’t say if a position is on hold because the Hiring Manager believes he/she can get the position hired if he/she finds “the right person”. And companies never let people know that there’s a “hiring freeze” because it makes them look like they’re in trouble. This the number 1 reason behind the Hiring Decision Conundrum
For example a while ago I was tasked by a Software Company in the West Midlands to recruit a Divisional Managing Director for a new software initiative involving for a large and influential Customer. The Candidate’s role would be to manage the team to deliver the software service to this Customer. Three Candidates were put forwards for an interview, one of which was considered by the CEO as exceptional and a perfect fit for the job. The CEO even told the Candidate that he would send her the job offer that evening. However days, then weeks went by. The Candidate and I received nothing from the Software Company. I later found out that the Software Company’s major Customer had required substantial changes to the software that would take many months of development to achieve. This resulted in a hiring freeze. The Candidate was appalled by the poor communication from the Software Company and declined her interest in making a move to the Software Company. A prime example of the Hiring Decision Conundrum.
2) Group Decisions
Many companies are “matrixed” organizations whereby there is a chain of approvals for making a hiring decision. Hiring decisions are therefore made on a consensus basis. So if you’re being interviewing by six to ten people, that’s a sure sign that either the Hiring Manager or the Company wants to make a consensus driven decision. Naturally, one of two things happen in consensus decisions: Greatest Common Factor or Lowest Common Denominator and it’s usually Lowest Common Denominator – someone who is totally inoffensive that everyone can live with. Yes, it often comes down to a weak personality-based decision. This is a hiring by committee Hiring Decision Conundrum.
There’s a reason why Armies have commanding officers. It always takes a long time to get consensus from a large group of decision makers [“chiefs”]. Which is why forward thinking, talent based organizations with a singular Hiring Manager will always win the war for talent.
3) Companies don’t know what they want
Usually, they start out thinking they know what they want but as Hiring Managers see CVs or Résumés and interview people the search often takes on a life of its own. Good Hiring Managers let this happen because they all want great people. But sometimes there’s too much choice and they fall victim to paralysis by analysis a real example of the Hiring Decision Conundrum.
So how can you avoid the delays caused by the Hiring Decision Conundrum?
Sometimes you can’t. Some Companies are institutionally slow. But the best thing you can do is to make sure that you identify the key decision makers when you are interviewed. Obviously, the Hiring Manager is one but you can also ask the interviewers about the Company’s Culture and find out who else is a key decision maker like HR, the CEO and other Internal Clients, and sometimes it could even be the key Customer of the Company.
But the most important thing you can do is to make sure you stick to your guns and be yourself. You must continue to believe that you’re the right person for any job you’re interviewing for. Make sure that you get all the interviewers’ contact information and add them to your network and follow up with them quickly with individual emails.
Sometimes debrief sessions will take place a day or two later within a Company due to scheduling conflicts. You want to be fresh in their minds. Try to build a “supporter” or “recommender” relationship among your interviewers. Sometimes when an organization is on the fence all it takes is one person championing you to move the decision in your direction.
And if a Company takes too long, don’t despair… it might not be the right organization for you. Imagine how frustrated you would be if you were inside the organization rather than on the outside.
Recognizing a Hiring Decision Conundrum situation often happens. Avoid making this a personal situation. Take the initiative to uncover the reason behind it. Manage the situation by either being flexible or simply just by walking away.