Are hiring managers costing you talent?

'Hiring managers are operating in a world with more options and less certainty'

Are hiring managers costing you talent?

In the past, hiring managers knew what their hiring needs were and they could sit back and wait for recruiting to deliver a shortlist before making a final decision, according to Lauren Smith, vice president in the Gartner HR practice.

“Now, hiring managers are operating in a world with more options and less certainty, and they are struggling to make high-quality, timely decisions about talent.”

Indeed, new research from Gartner has found more than three-quarters of hiring managers do not act decisively in the recruitment process, resulting in their organisations losing out on top candidates.

A “hiring manager” is somebody in any business function, for example sales, finance or customer services, who is seeking to fill a role in their team.

According to Gartner, recruiting executives and their teams must change how they partner with hiring managers to help them make quicker decisions.

The research found that in today’s tight labour market, the stakes are high when it comes to getting hiring right. Decisive hiring managers hire 10% more high-quality candidates and 11% fewer low-quality candidates than typical hiring managers.

Moreover, organisations that drive decisive hiring manager behaviours reduce time-to-fill by 17%.

Gartner research shows that the amount of time it takes a hiring manager to make an offer after interviewing is now 33 days — an 84% increase from 2010 to 2018.

“This longer decision-making stage is causing a 16% reduction in candidates’ accepting offers. Ultimately, hiring managers are losing out on prime candidates because of this lag in decision-making,” said Smith.

According to Gartner, the characteristics of decisive hiring managers include focusing on prioritising future talent needs, broadening the candidate funnel, and sharing hiring decisions with experts across the organisation.

Moreover, the Gartner research concluded that three shifts will help them drive decisive hiring manager behaviours:

Diversify inputs on future talent needs
In an era of fast-evolving roles and skills, companies should not rely on the hiring manager alone to determine and articulate future talent needs. Gartner research found that only 31% of hiring managers understand the vision their business leader has for their team.

A better approach is to have recruiting leaders tap into sources beyond the hiring manager to define hiring needs based on the future talent strategy of the organisation, not what the manager needs in the short term.

Potential sources of information on future talent needs include business leaders, the workforce planning team and the analytics team, which can provide their insight into critical questions, including:

  • What skills does the business critically need to grow?
  • What skills and roles are the competitors in this area hiring for?
  • What will the labour market look like in this location in five years?

Make candidate engagement a shared priority
Hiring managers are not spending their time where it matters — engaging with candidates. This is critical as candidates trust a hiring manager nearly four times as much as they trust a recruiter to provide the information they need to make a decision.

To get hiring managers to prioritize candidate engagement, the recruiting function should focus on:

  • Driving urgency for hiring being a shared responsibility
  • Motivating leaders by connecting hiring to their leadership role
  • Enabling hiring managers to easily source talent beyond their existing networks

Align the hiring decisions to expertise
In the matrixed work environment, hiring managers have lost direct insight into the roles for which they are hiring. Even with training on how to evaluate candidates, hiring managers are still making slow, poor decisions.

Leading companies recognise that the hiring manager should not be the default decision maker and they are focusing on identifying the best-fit decision maker.

Determining the right person to make a hiring decision can be based on skills expertise, but also by understanding who will work closely with the person in the role and who has experience in evaluating candidates for the role.

Organisations are finding that instead of the hiring manager making the final decision, skills and/or decision-making experts are often a better fit.

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