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7 Habits of Highly Successful Hiring Managers

Habits_Successful_Hiring_ManagersIf Kermit the Frog thinks being green is hard, he should try being a hiring manager (amirite???).  Faced with the challenge of finding qualified candidates in a labor market where the demand often outweighs the supply, hiring managers don’t have it easy these days. That’s not to say, however, that they can’t be ‘Master of the Universe’ as ERE CEO Ron Mester noted during this keynote speech at the recent ERE Recruiting Conference in San Diego, which focused on how hiring managers and recruiting leaders can maintain control in a rapidly changing workplace.

In a conference panel moderated by John Vlastelica, managing director at Recruiting Toolbox Inc., Yahoo’s Eric Stromberg, vice president of service engineering for search, and Groupon’s Julie Szudarek, vice president, spoke candidly about the tactics that enable them to successfully and consistently bring in top talent.

Based on what they had to say, I’ve assembled some of the best sound bites from the panel, and made a list of the following practices that have brought them success in their ability to attract, engage and retain top talent.

Seven Habits of Highly Successful Hiring Managers

  1. They Understand That Interviews Are a Two-Way Street: “Candidates are interviewing us as much as we’re interviewing them.” It’s easy to forget that you, as the interviewer, are also in the hot seat, so be prepared to both sell your company and answer questions.
  2. They Don’t Settle: “The cost of hiring someone bad is just so expensive. We can’t make mistakes in recruiting.” Indeed, research shows that bad hires cost companies as much as $50,000. So how do they avoid making hiring mistakes? One way is…
  3. They Never Stop Recruiting: One of Yahoo!’s themes is “Always be recruiting,” according to Stromberg. Continuous recruiting has been shown to save companies time and money in the long-term. In a 2012 CareerBuilder survey, 72 percent of employers who recruit year-round said the practice reduced their time-to-hire, and 41 percent said it lowers their cost-per-hire.
  4. They Focus On the Long-Term: “We go to classes and talk to students [about what we do and who we are]. We wanted to create awareness for students and bring our name out there,” says Szudarek. While this approach might not produce immediate results, it’s similar to the way some companies are taking a proactive approach to bridge the skills gap to ensure future success.
  5. They Hire People Who Are Smarter Than Them: “Don’t be afraid to hire someone you think could be better than you.” Why? Not only does surrounding yourself with smarter people make you smarter, it’s also just like Vidal Sassoon says, “When you don’t look good, we don’t look good.” In other words, the smarter your employees are and the better they perform, the better you look.
  6. They Hire Their Replacements: “You want someone who could have your job in the future, because that means you can move on in the future.”  Not to mention that workforce planning (as hiring people who have the potential to take over higher roles essentially is) is crucial for long-term, sustainable growth.
  7. They Know That Great Candidates Are More Than Their Resumes: “[We] won’t sacrifice hard work or emotional intelligence. Show us you can learn.” Certainly skills are important, but as more companies struggle to find candidates with the right skill sets, many companies are finding alternative solutions to find the candidates they need – including hiring for potential and then training on the job.

What would you add to this list?  

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.


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