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Every Hiring Manager Has the Same Problem

Hiring that next talented person. At some level, the difficulties of attracting, engaging and retaining talent puts all organizations in a boat with uneven waters. Nearly every hiring manager struggles to find enough quality candidates, identity who does what in the hiring process, and when its time to decide who to hire, too often there is uncertainty in the final decision.

This is not a sports article but have you ever noticed that at the end of each season, many coaches and general managers are fired? Usually the reason is because of personnel issues – they don’t have the right players to win. Those coaches and general managers not only lose their jobs but also a lot of sleep thinking about how to make their teams better, how to attract and choose the best player to fit within their organization.

Putting the sports analogy aside; does any of that sound familiar to you? It should because more than a few hiring managers sit up at night thinking about who to select to join their team.

You see every hiring manager anguishes over staffing and personnel decisions.  There is a lot that goes into a hiring decision before the words are said, “You’re Hired!”

The first thing that every hiring manager contends with is finding enough qualified talent. When a hiring manager approves a job ad, it’s because they have a problem that they need solved. So they are looking for problem solvers; someone who can come in and creatively fix the issue for now and the foreseeable future.

The job ad describes the types of duties, skills and education required to be a success in the position. That’s determined through job analysis, performance and desired results so a lot of thought goes into the job posting – after all of that research and targeted job advertising – many times the applicants aren’t qualified, or don’t appear to be qualified. I review resumes all the time, and there are some people who have skills but they aren’t highlighted and then there are folks with no skills to work with.

After the hiring manager sorts through and selects the candidate that meets the minimum qualifications they must then be screened. The screening process is usually handled by the recruiter or HR staff member in order to make sure the person is able to articulate and successfully defend their resume. If the candidate passes this step, and believe me many don’t, then it’s on to the face to face interviews with the hiring manager.

Before the interview process, the hiring manager must communicate the internal requirements, via in person meetings and through their recruiting software.  A hiring manager should meet with people who meet their minimum qualifications so that the conversation can dig into other signs and indicators, such as personality traits, character and overall organization fit. Sure, they ask some of the same questions for consistency and deeper thought but predominately, they are wondering about how will this candidate solve my problem and fit within this organization. I believe most hiring authorities wish they could ask flat out, “Are you a lazy jerk?” There is a best-selling book titled “The No A**hole Rule:  Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t” by Robert I. Sutton in which he really examines all perspectives of being “a**hole.” Wouldn’t the world be a different place if we could just ask “Are you “a**hole”?” 

It’s what keeps the hiring manager laying awake at night, questioning the performance of their potential hire. If your hiring starts well, you end up with 2 or 3 qualified candidates to choose from, and all things being equal, who do you hire?  To avoid making a bad hire and going back to negative square one (where you started minus the cost of a bad hire), you must pay attention to the details of hiring; success is in the details of everything in your process: the input of your colleagues, the resume reviewing, the cover letter reading, the background checking, the interviewing, the assessment tests, and your gut.

It’s the same problem every hiring manager has: enough talent, a defined process, and making the right choice.


chris fieldsChris Fields is an HR professional and leadership guy who also helps job seekers write great resumes and blogs. His work can be found at & Photo Credit IZquotes & LeftHandedToons.

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Chris Fields

Chris Fields is an HR professional and leadership guy who blogs and dispenses great (not just good) advice at Cost of Work & ResumeCrusade.