How Hiring Managers Make Decisions

Hiring managers start off having several drinks at the local bar before heading in to start their round of interviews. Ok, so maybe that’s not true for most of them, but they probably feel like doing that! Being a hiring manager is a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. How else will successful employees start populating companies?

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Imagine the responsibility of having to hire people. When someone turns out to be a raving lunatic, everyone looks at you. Raising your hands and shrugging, you mumble something unintelligible and walk away—hoping the angry mob of managers and fellow employees don’t follow you down the hall. You can’t wait to get back to your office to shut your door and lock it. You barely make it on time before the mob starts pounding on your door. If you work in a cubicle and don’t have a door, then it sucks to be you!

Seriously, though, hiring managers have tough decisions to make. They have to meet with strangers and in the time span of approximately 20 – 30 minutes, make an assessment of this person that is as accurate as possible. Unless you’re a mind reader or fortune teller, that may seem like an impossible task. Is this person actually as superb as his resume claims him to be? If he’s not, the hiring manager wasted his time meeting with this person. If he is, the manager may wonder if the person was simply putting on an act. The hiring process can be broken down into three questions that a hiring manager needs to answer when reviewing a candidate’s viability.

Is the Candidate Qualified for the Job?

The top question on the hiring manager’s mind is whether or not this individual is actually qualified to do the job. That, and asking himself when will these interviews be over! If the manager hires someone who isn’t qualified, work won’t get done. That’s a strike against the employee and the hiring manager. No one wins then. That’s one of the main reasons that the hiring manager needs to go on an excavation to dig deeper than the surface level of the resume. He has to figure out if the candidate’s current skillset is in alignment with the skills needed to perform the job and be productive. The excavation must continue to figure out if he was able to perform to his optimal ability at previous employment positions.

Hiring managers need to effectively review a resume to gather all the facts about the candidate. Sometimes this task can seem as monumental as climbing Mt. Everest because not every candidate submits a clear and concise resume. Sometimes candidates submit resumes that should be crumpled up and thrown in the trash can. It’s a wonder some hiring managers don’t need to participate in support groups to help them deal with the wide variety of wacky candidates they need to interview. Of course, there are professional candidates. Yet, the hiring manager probably sees his share of weird, unprofessional and unpleasant people applying for jobs. Sometimes hiring managers need to read between the lines—regarding the resume and the interview answers. Descriptions of work experience may be convoluted. Interview conversations can seem like he’s speaking to an unintelligent person who shouldn’t even be applying to the job in the first place.

How Dedicated is the Candidate?

Now this can be a tough egg to crack during an interview. How is the hiring manager supposed to conclude during an interview that this candidate is dedicated to doing the job? Most likely during the interview, he’s envisioning the angry mob pounding down his door. That’s definitely not a confidence booster that he needs in order to make a good decision. The candidate may be the most qualified, but what if he turns out to be a slacker? Such an employee won’t do anything to increase workplace productivity.

Just imagine the doubts plaguing his mind as he watches the candidate smiling back at him, responding to a question. How does the hiring manager know that this person will come to work on time every day? What if this guy gets hired and then he calls in sick like three times in one week? Again, with the poor reflection on the hiring manager. The hiring manager needs to figure out if this person is going to be another employee heading out the revolving door because he found a better offer in three months.

During the interview, the hiring manager must see beyond the resume to delve deeper to find out what type of person this candidate is. Would he rob a bank if it meant he no longer had to work another day in his life? Ok, so that’s a pretty unconventional type of question to ask, but you get the idea. The hiring manager needs to figure out how reliable this person is going to be. It’s always a gamble. You can hire someone who seems perfectly reliable like an angel and ends up being the devil in disguise—who stole the company client list and started their own competitive company. So, hopefully, the hiring manager gets it right! Otherwise, he’ll be drowning his sorrows at the bar after work.

Will This Candidate Assimilate Well?

In the end, the hiring manager needs to figure out if this candidate is the total package or rather a bomb that will explode and cause chaos in the workplace. That is a tall order to fill. Effective hiring managers are pretty good at discerning a candidate’s assimilation factor. Yet, no one is perfect. Not every hiring manager is going to get it right all the time. Sometimes, he’ll hire someone who seemed perfect and that he perceived would assimilate well in the workplace.

Only to end up with an employee who had a nervous breakdown the first week simply because one of their coworkers pulled a harmless prank on them by toilet papering their cubicle. News flash to all hiring managers—if you work in a fun atmosphere, don’t hire someone who appears too rigid and can’t handle any jokes. The savvy hiring manager would figure out a way to joke around with the candidate to get a feel for how he would react in their laid back environment. If your workplace environment lives by the motto that everyday is barefoot Friday, maybe someone who shows up in a three piece suit might not be the best candidate for the job.

Successful assimilation means that the candidate was able to work well with everyone on the team. Maybe hiring managers should start handing out personality tests for candidates to complete during the interviews—as well as alcoholic drinks instead of coffee! That would save them a lot of trouble from hiring someone who wouldn’t assimilate well with the company culture. It could also save them from getting clobbered by the angry mob since their hiring effectiveness average would be higher.

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Hiring managers have such an important job. You get it right and everyone loves you. Get it wrong and you become an enemy of the state with a warrant out for your arrest. No place in the office will be safe for you. These managers have to find out if the candidate is actually qualified to do the job. If the candidate is going to end up being a slacker, that needs to be ferreted out during the interview. They need to ascertain if the candidate will assimilate well within the company.

As a hiring manager, what are some important factors that you look for when deciding who to hire for the job? Have you ever experienced making a bad hire and then had to pay the consequences of an angry mob at the office?

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