Frustrated with hiring managers

by 18 Mar 2008

Q. I am a HR manager who has an active role in the recruitment activities of our business. I find myself frustrated with the hiring managers who always want to hire someone who has done the exact same role before that we are looking to fill. They have unrealistic expectations and cannot see the need to hire someone who has room to grow into the role. How can I get them to see the need to hire on potential and move away from the ‘tick the box’ hiring mentality?

Assuming a business provides great interview training and encourages hiring on potential, a new strategy is required if hiring managers are reverting to old hiring behaviours. There are a number of approaches that can be used to highlight to a hiring manager the need for adopting a more progressive approach, which will ultimately bring them and the business the results they are after.

Before speaking with a hiring manager it is important to understand why they are using this ‘tick the box’ hiring method. Is it because they are lazy, indifferent, don’t have time, or require extra training or support? This should always be checked by asking managers open questions around hiring to clarify the real reasons for their behaviour, as it is never safe to assume. By understanding why they hire as they do, this gives insight into how to best approach them and what support to offer.

The hiring success of the manager is also important to assess. This needs to be done based on their ability to not only hire great staff, but also the retention of these staff. To most managers statistics are very powerful. If their hiring is on the poor to average side, and you have the statistics to show this (particularly in terms of time and money it is costing their division and the business), this can be a powerful wake-up call.

Another approach is to talk to your hiring manager and personalise the issue. One example is to ask them to picture themselves looking to move jobs; what would they be looking for in a position? Would they be looking to go and try something a little bit different from what they are doing now? Would they want the opportunity to learn and grow into a role and have training?

If outdated and poor hiring practices are costing your business money and its reputation, then the business ultimately needs to incorporate hiring into a manager’s performance measurement, to ensure it is taken seriously. This should ideally be a part of their KPIs that measure attraction and retention of staff, and linked to their bonus scheme.

By Kelly Magowan, director, Six Figures. Phone 1300 780 177, email or visit