Taking Ownership of the Hiring Process

When I ask our clients the question, “who is responsible for hiring at your company?” I get a variety of answers:

  • The Human Resources Department
  • The Recruiting or Talent Acquisition Team
  • Outside Agencies or Recruiters

While these groups may perform many of the necessary recruiting and hiring tasks, the one who is actually responsible for the hiring process is you, the hiring manager. From Managers and Directors to Vice Presidents and even C-Suite Executives, business leaders need to take ownership of the hiring within their departments. This approach will reduce the time to hire while significantly improving the success of your newly hired team member.

Don’t agree? Let’s look at some of the common objections.

“I’m too busy to manage this process.”

This is the single biggest objection I hear from hiring managers, and I understand where they are coming from. Everyone is busy these days – companies are asking their employees, especially their managers, to accomplish more, in less time, with fewer resources than ever before. And recruiting and hiring talented employees is definitely time consuming. But complaining that you are too busy to recruit for your team is like the Controller complaining that he is too busy to close the books this month, or the IT Director complaining that she is too busy to complete that system upgrade. Managing your team is your job, and whether you are replacing an employee who has left or filling a newly created role, hiring the members of your team has to be one of your top priorities.

“That’s what HR is for.”

No it’s not. It does not matter if the Human Resources Department has an entire Talent Acquisition Team, just a single staff recruiter, or relies on the HR Director to also handle recruiting tasks – the HR Department is not there to manage the hiring process, they are there to help with tasks like writing a job description, identifying and communicating with potential candidates, and scheduling interviews. They are not experts on your department’s functions, and no one is better positioned than you to know what you need on your team, from necessary skills to cultural and personality fit. By all means, you should use the tools at your disposal, get help and advice from the professionals, and take advantage of their strengths, but you should never assume that HR will be able to conduct this process successfully without your active involvement.

“I don’t know where to look for good candidates.”

Yes you do. You probably have a much better idea of where to look than anyone else does, starting with your team. Where did they work before? Where do their friends, former colleagues, and former classmates work? Before the in-house recruiter can finish creating a list of target companies, you can have everyone on your team reach out to one or two good quality candidates that they already know. If you’re smart, you can invest time in this type of activity even before you have an opening on your team. Encourage your team to refer good people all the time and offer to meet them for lunch or a cup of coffee. Getting to know the employment market in your industry and compiling a network of relevant candidates for future needs will make the hiring process a snap.

“I’m not an interviewing expert.”

So what? Don’t put a lot of stock in fancy interview techniques or trick questions. You are looking for a person who will fit in with the existing team, work hard, and contribute. These qualities are far more important than an exact technical skills match – you can teach them a new system or a new process, but you can’t coach drive or personality. You can make a list of questions to ask each candidate, but don’t just read woodenly from the list. An interview should be a conversation, and you should engage the candidate personally. Others in your company will meet with a candidate before an offer is made. You should listen to their input, but do not be afraid to fight for your preferred candidate, even based on intangibles such as personality, enthusiasm, and work ethic.

Remember that this new employee will be a member of your team, and no one has more incentive than you do to quickly identify, recruit, and hire the best possible candidate. Take ownership of this process and you will be pleased with the results.

One thought on “Taking Ownership of the Hiring Process”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *