Attention Hiring Managers: Don’t Jump the Gun!

November 13, 2018

The latest hiring advice from Canada’s leading recruiters in Supply Chain Management and Procurement.

The enthusiasm of a hiring manager is one of the most important things  in the hiring process. Just as other business initiatives often rely on an enthusiastic “champion” to get them across the finish line, hiring is way more successful when the hiring manager is engaged and ready to rock. The process goes faster, which keeps candidates engaged – and makes our jobs easier as recruiters. There’s really nothing like it in the business – a hiring manager who’s eager to hire, and eager to collaborate with the recruiter who’s out there finding the best talent.

We love it. It’s especially exciting when our clients are hiring for multiple roles as part of a transformation or expansion. We get to not only prove our mettle and earn multiple placement fees, we also get to help set a company’s strategic direction. It’s a real impact, and it feels great. When a hiring manager calls us with five or six roles at a time, it gives us a rush.

However (Did you sense this was coming?): it also gives us a sense of mild trepidation. Because the overly enthusiastic hiring manager can actually put the cart before the horse and threaten the whole recruitment process – and even their company’s reputation among candidates – in the process.

Here’s what we mean: sometimes, hiring managers will reach out to us because they’ve been given a directive to hire X roles, with only partial approval – or approval for one role at a time.

The hiring manager is enthusiastic, which is great. They maybe also have pressure from leadership to bring on people fast. But they’re still waiting on approval. So they reach out to a contingent search firm (like Argentus), who only gets paid when a successful placement happens. You want to expedite the process. You have preliminary approval, so why not get a contingent recruiter on the case? What do you have to lose if the approval doesn’t get finalized and you have to drop jobs three, four and five?

Obviously, you’ll frustrate your recruitment partner if all their hard work goes up in flames, and those jobs disappear after they’ve put in considerable effort sourcing and screening candidates. As recruiters, we want to make placements, and we only want to work on jobs that actually have a chance. 3rd party recruiters work best if clients are partners in the process – rather than seeing recruiters as “a flyer” to take on the off chance that they end up getting approval for more hires weeks later.

Unscrupulous recruiters will take any job order, and adopt a “see what sticks” mentality. They won’t exactly care if a job goes up in smoke because the hiring manager didn’t get final approval. But recruiters who actually know what they’re doing, those who are tapped into specific talent niches, have a “fool me once” mentality. If enough roles evaporate because the client didn’t have approval – and jumped the gun – we’ll stop taking on roles from those clients.

But it’s more than self-interest that makes us say this.

In a niche like ours (Supply Chain Management and Procurement), the market for talent is extremely tight. More than that, candidates talk. If a company goes out to market without being able to actually pull the trigger on a hire too many times, word gets around. If candidates go in for interviews and the job disappears too many times, they often form a negative opinion of the company. We speak with candidates all the time, and we still hear about companies who made this mistake 5-6 years ago, and now candidates will stay far away.

If your company does the “Lucy pulling away the football” once or twice, it’s not a big deal. More than that, and word will get on the street that you’re not serious about hiring. Even if you are.

So take it from us: please don’t make that mistake. Don’t go to market and try to hire for eight jobs if you only have approval for two. Hire those two individuals, and then keep the process moving with the rest. If you have a job, and then you might have three others, reach out to a recruiter about the first job, and tell them about the other three that might materialize. Don’t make four job orders – even if you’d really like to hire four people – if you don’t have the approvals. It helps build goodwill among candidates, it keeps your recruiters happy, and it helps your reputation.

There are many things that can derail the hiring process – and trust us, we’ve seen them all. But being transparent  at every stage is the best way to be successful.


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