Blog post: Comparing candidates - Sometimes you've got to turn into a group therapist in HR...
In his blog post on 12 January, 'The HR Capitalist' Kris Dunn wrote:
Step one: Get the hiring manager(s) and all people who interviewed the candidates together in one room. Harder than it looks, and let's face it - if you don't do it, no one will.
Step two: Lead the session and tell everyone why they are there. I recommend something like, "We're meeting because in the past we've delayed making a decision, and it's ultimately cost us the candidate we wanted. So we're here to go through the candidates, figure out where we are and get an offer out."
I recently did this and had one influencer direct the paraphrased words to me: "Let's stop messing around", which I think was said more in the spirit of "why are we wasting time with a meeting" than "let's make an offer, already". The ego side of me might get defensive about that comment, since it implied I was a bureaucrat that valued meetings more than results. But the more mature and experienced version of KD just sees opportunity in that statement.
Why? Because I called the meeting because we aren't making offer decisions fast enough (and that person may or may not have been part of the problem). And that statement gives me the license to say the following: "Frank, I agree. Let's freaking decide now and make people stop laughing at us."
Which leads directly into the remaining steps for the therapy session:
Step three: Compare the trade-offs between candidates, and if the meeting starts with a statement like "Let's stop messing around", it's my job to push the emotional button more. My style on this is to lead the review on a candidate-by-candidate basis, and make everyone talk (hiring manager and influencers alike). I make each person walk me through the pros/cons of the candidates from their perspectives, then I compare and contrast thoughts and try to draw people out to discuss areas of conflict. I'm like a marital therapist in that regard ("why don't you express yourself to her more"... ha).
Step four: Drag out the elephant in the room: Relative value for salary level and resulting fit for team and position. Becky's great, but she cost 10K more than Ralph, who's not as good but is pretty good. Who's better for us? It's your job to drag the relative $$ value equation out in the open, or no one will do it. Make them talk about it and give opinions. Money concerns and the inability to reconcile the "talent for relative salary" between candidates is a major cause of delay in the hiring process. If you don't lead this, often no one will.
Step five: Make people vote on the offer(s) they would make after hearing the dialog in question. Start with the influencers, then end with the hiring manager in question, who will be making the final decision. (Note: you should have a conversation with the hiring manager in question to ensure he/she understands what you are doing. At the end of the process, if they are weak and go with the consensus rather than what you heard them say in the session, you might have to jump in and challenge that. All a part of you driving a transparent process).
In the final stage of the recruiting process, you're one part closer, one part therapist, one part Mom, and one part shark. You'll need all those things in your DNA to drive people to make a decision/offer at times.
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