The Most Important Question You’ll Ever Ask a Hiring Manager

How are those hiring manager “intake” meetings going?

You know, those meetings you have with a hiring manager every single time they have an opening.  You sit down with your hiring manager, face to face, and ask them a page full of questions.  Why is this position open? What would make a candidate most successful in this role?  What color of skin would you like this candidate to have? Boobs or no boobs? Whoops! Scratch those last ones, we would never ask those…

The reality is Talent Pros really only have one question they need to ask hiring managers. That question is this:

“Do you trust that I can find the talent you need?”

Ultimately, this is all that really matters for your success.  If they trust you, they’ll give you all the information you need to be successful.  If they don’t trust you can find the talent they need, they tend to hold stuff back.

Yes, I know that doesn’t make sense, but that’s real world talent acquisition stuff! Welcome to corporate America, a lot of stuff doesn’t make sense!

Most hiring managers have no faith you’ll find them great talent.  They have this belief because of so many bad Talent Pros before you failed them.  So many before you didn’t really go out and find the best talent, they just delivered whatever warm body came into the ATS.

I just come out and ask the question.  The first answer you’ll get from 99% of hiring managers is a weird, “Well, sure, I do.” If you really dig into this answer, you’ll get the true answer which 90% of the time is, “Hell no! Why would I?  Your department has really never gotten this right!”

Thank you! That’s what I really needed.  I needed to get that out in the open, so now we can really build trust, and make great things happen.  They’re mostly right. Talent Acquisition fails many of our hiring managers for a number of reasons. Right now, your hiring manager doesn’t need to hear those reasons, they need to hear why this time will be different.

Then, you have to live up to ‘different’! You have to be better.  You have to get it right. Getting it right earns trust.

Once they trust you, great things will happen. Earn that trust.

One thought on “The Most Important Question You’ll Ever Ask a Hiring Manager

  1. On point as always, Tim!

    Frankly, it’s the only way third party recruiters get work now as it seems most companies have an internal team in the hopes of saving money. Third party recruiters are relying on internal talent acquisition teams to fall on their face and lose creditability with the hiring managers they are supposed to support consistently. The bigger problem is that the majority of staffing firms are also generalists and duplicate the same crappy process the hiring manager is already experiencing..except now it’s going to cost them in upwards of 30% of base salary if they actually hire from a contingency firm.

    I think it’s a tall order for someone to suddenly impress a hiring manager when the talent acquisition group they are a part of has a lousy track record. You have to ask the bigger picture question…why can’t talent acquisition support this hiring manager effectively? What haven’t we gotten right and why? If the talent acquisition’s sourcing and screening processes are broken, automating it won’t solve anything. Some areas are more technical and challenging than others to hire for. Throw a generalist into that scenario and you’re asking for trouble. You’ve got to be able to speak that hiring manager’s language as well as the people he or she is interested in recruiting. That is one key way of building trust. Second, acknowledging where TA stumbled and fell in the past and what you will do specifically to avoid it from repeating going forward. Clients have to feel that you care about their needs and ensuring a terrific outcome. Once you’ve stuck your neck out, you have to deliver and not make excuses. Do that consistently and hiring managers will never doubt you or your department again.

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