Three Interview Rule

I’ve always suffered a bit of a professional identity crisis. Am I recruiting or am I HR? Am I both? Are they one in the same? I’ve gone back and forth, but one thing I can say without a doubt that fits with both HR and Recruiting is solid relationships with your hiring managers. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to learn how to manage this relationship and the most challenging was when recruiting for a highly technical engineering company. One thing that drove me crazy was the constant need for “more candidates” for one position. If you’re experiencing the same challenge, let me share my three interview rule with you (it’s really simple).

Me to hiring manager: Here are three candidates that fit what you are looking for based on the extensive discussions we’ve had around your current hiring need.

Hiring manager to me: Great, let’s interview all three of them.

*Interviews all of them*

Hiring manager to me: I want to interview more candidates.

Me to hiring manager: What did you not like about these three?

Hiring manager to me: I don’t know.

Me to hiring manager: Then we are starting over.

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Why would I tell them we are starting over? Because if you have found three candidates that fit the criteria you’ve discussed with the hiring manager and they still can’t make a decision, then they do not know what they are looking for. When I talk to a hiring manager we discuss every aspect of the position I can with them- minimum skills required, type of work, who the customer is, who they will report to, personalities of the team members they need to work with, day to day environment, education requirements, length of contract, hours of the schedule, peak seasons, when they might be required to work extra, what materials will they be working with…you get the picture. ANYTHING that is relevant that can help me find the perfect candidate for my customer, the hiring manager.

The three interview rule won’t work when you’ve given them candidates who do not match the job req so you should only pull this out when you’re candidates are a match for what you and the hiring manager discussed. This rule can be applied to any position, not just technical ones. Having the discussion about no more than three interviews the right way will help you build credibility with your hiring managers. Approach it as a way to revisit the job you are working on and what might need to be revisited as a requirement, not as a power move. Use it as a way to show you support the hiring manager and respect their time so you want to make sure you have the right information to get it right and help them make an informed decision. Continuing to give them candidates when they cannot tell you what they didn’t like about the qualified candidates already submitted will only drag out the hiring process.

Give it a shot and let me know how it works! As always, if you have questions, I’d be happy to answer them!

 

Do you mind if I pray?

No, I don’t mind if you pray.

What I do mind is that you asked me that question while I was in the middle of an interview process with your company. I do mind that you were the HR manager of a large organization and still risked asking that question during an interview. I said I didn’t mind, but I wonder if I would’ve got the job if I said I did mind.

What I do mind is that I never called you out on putting me on the spot like that or making hiring decisions based on who people pray to.

6 easy ways to make friends with HR

Happy New Year folks! As another year is behind us and we are all on our way to being another year older and another year wiser, I felt it appropriate to drop some wisdom on you that will help you build a useful relationship with your friendly HR department. If nothing else it will help you steer clear of some comments that kind of make you sound like a douche.

  1. “You probably don’t know the answer…” let me throw some variations out there… “I guess this is an HR question…” “I don’t have any questions you can answer…”. Really any variation of a phrase that implies your HR person doesn’t know whatever it is you need the answer to. A lot of times we know, and if we don’t know we know exactly where to find the answer.
  2. “I’ll save the salary talk for the important people…”. Well, that’s nice. Just take a guess where the compensation strategy comes from? This one really doesn’t matter if you are talking to HR or anyone else. It’s kind of rude to imply whoever you are talking to isn’t important. It’s okay; I know what you meant… You’ll save the salary talk for the decision makers, but please know that I work closely with the decision makers and they are going to call and ask me compensation questions before they make their final decision.
  3. “I didn’t know that” For example: I didn’t know that the 30th was the last day for open enrollment. In the history of open enrollment, I mean all the way back to the beginning of open enrollment there has always been a deadline for enrolling. This isn’t an arbitrary date to complicate your life, there are several players in this benefits game and the deadline is non-negotiable. We don’t want you to miss the date, I promise, but we can’t enroll for you! Good thing we keep track of how many emails we sent you, voicemail’s we left you, meetings we held for you, and smoke signals we sent you.
  4. “I complained about so-and-so, but they are still here.” Well, we aren’t the police. We aren’t going to arrest every person that ticks you off at work, we will handle situations we need to handle, but it doesn’t always happen in one clean action and we can’t just take your word for it. Document. Document. Document.
  5. The other side of that one is “Don’t repeat this.” I can’t promise anything is 100% confidential, but I can promise to treat it appropriately. If you tell me something I have to act on, I’m going to act on it.
  6. “I could do your job.” Yep. Just as well as I can do yours. Don’t be a douche.

hug an hr person

See? Nothing complicated. Just 6 easy things to remember when talking with your neighborhood HR folk. Don’t be rude, we have access to your personnel file 😉 Just kidding! Do come have a conversation with us about what you need, we would love to help you!

Pay negotiations

Probably my least favorite part of being a recruiter is pay negotiations. I cringe every time they come up for many reasons. Reasons like when an applicant puts pay negotiable, gives me a number in the interview and we meet or exceed that number in our offer, but suddenly we need to consider paying more than that. I also cringe because I don’t have a lot of say in the negotiations and most candidates don’t handle pay negotiations gracefully. Because someone told you to negotiate I thought I’d list some things for you to consider when you are about to negotiate pay (from a little ol’ corporate recruiters perspective).

  • Don’t wait two weeks to tell me what your counter offer is. You can tell me what you want it to be sooner rather than later.  Having that conversation with me when you know what you want helps keep everyone on the same page and keeps the company from waiting around on you and losing another candidate. This may seem ideal for you as the candidate, but I can tell you, hiring managers don’t forget when you put them in a corner like that, whether you know about it or not.
  • Know why you are asking for what you are asking for. Another week of vacation? Why? Because you have been earning that many weeks at your current job? Cool. Another 25k? Why? Just because you googled the going rate and that’s what you came up with? Not cool. A lot of companies have someone on staff dedicated to researching going rates for your education and experience level. They will typically take that information and compare it to their contract award or budget and where that compares with other employees already with the company with similar skills and background. There is a lot of work that goes into creating in offer, in most cases, so know why you think you are worth those additional dollars.
  • Do not under any circumstances tell me you are just asking because someone told you never accept the first offer.  I’m not trying to sell you a car, we are talking about a potential career. I have business to conduct. My hiring managers have business to conduct. Don’t say “it never hurts to ask.” It does hurt to ask if you are doing it for no reason. You could be viewed as cocky or ignorant depending on what kind of number you try to counter with.
  • Also don’t tell me you know Bradley Justin that works for our company and you know he makes 88,000/yr so you would like the same amount just because. I will not talk about other employees pay rates with you, I just won’t.
  • And don’t tell me you will save pay discussions for the “important people.” I’ll hope you meant hiring manager or higher and try not to take offense, but I won’t forget what you said and I will always have that in the back of my mind when you need something from me or my department in the future. I will always kill you with kindness and answer your questions because I’m really HR and that’s what I’m here for, but I won’t forget how rude you were from the beginning.

Just a few helpful tips from my desk to yours! I know you’re going to negotiate so by all means, negotiate the right way!

Salary

 

I’m still here!

So you’ve all figured out that I’ve been ignoring the blog a bit lately. Not really intentionally, but I have a LOT going on that is keeping my focus elsewhere! 🙂 So this is where I am… I’ve kind of touched on a fairly recent employment change and to shine some light on that employment change it was not a very well planned employment change! BUT, that is perfectly okay because it’s given me a lot to blog about 😉 so stay tuned! Some of the topics you can look forward to will be along the lines of overcoming upper managements brick walls, planning for failure, interviewing the interviewer, back up plans, corporate spies, culture from the outside in and much more! Right now I’m working two jobs- a lot of fun, I’ve always enjoyed working two jobs and it keeps things interesting, but I’m doing something I never thought I’d do again- waiting tables. Recap: Recruiter by day, Waitress by night, job seeker* somewhere in there with a dash of blogger. *I am currently in the interview process with another company for a pretty sweet job, so hopefully I can remove the “job seeker” soon. I am happy at my current day position, but it’s not a long-term employment situation and both parties were aware of that going into the deal. I really can say that they have been absolutely AWESOME and the thought of leaving them eventually is bittersweet… Speaking of AWESOME I’m getting ready to head to the Hill in about a month for a SHRM visit and I officially have plans to attend the national SHRM conference in Chicago this summer! I expect both of these trips to give me some good content to share with you guys!

right meow

I really just wanted to carve out some time to share with you all that I am committed to getting some good stuff delivered to you as well as thank you for your continued support!

And for your enjoyment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTlc_cK7aKo

 

Secret Squirrel: The candidate guessing game…

As someone who is excited about process improvement I’m always questioning the way we do things. Not in a “that’s stupid” kind of way, more like “I want to know more and I want to understand the process” kind of way (probably a skill that could use some fine tuning). Anyway, the last few days I’ve been meeting with a team of people who are involved in some big hiring decisions for a project I’m working on. Some of these people are HR some are not, some are experienced in the interview process some are just helping us out for logistic purposes. Listening to the group give their opinions on our interviews has become extremely interesting to me. I always tell people when they are asking for advice on how to get hired, how to stand out from the crowd and so on to just be themselves because there is no one way that guarantees you will impress your recruiter, or whoever you are interviewing with. As I heard comments like “If you don’t even have at least a Sunday shirt to wear…” or “his answers sounded too rehearsed…” I thought to myself-how often do we focus on the wrong things? Why do we recruit the way we recruit? I used to always tell the recruiters that worked under me that it was NEVER a deal breaker if a machinist didn’t have an A+ resume… (staffing industry tip alert*) the machinist job is to be good at being a machinist not at writing a resume, our job as recruiters for our clients were to let our clients know why he was going to be a good hire… Now that I find myself recruiting for a company on the inside, I still believe this, I need a forklift driver to be good at driving a forklift not writing a resume. I didn’t explain to the candidates coming in for an interview what to wear specifically, so I don’t care that he wasn’t wearing a sunday shirt. [in fact when a candidate did ask what they should wear I told them to wear what they would feel comfortable in for an interview…a panel interview is intimidating enough I wouldn’t want to force them to wear clothes they weren’t comfortable in too!] I did tell the candidate to expect to meet with multiple people as this was a panel interview and to take the time to do some further research about the company before he came on site, I appreciate that he took that advice seriously and was prepared for an interview. For the record one of my biggest pet peeves is when a candidate shows up for an interview and asks “what do yall do here?”… ughhh? Why do you want to apply for a position here and not even know what we do here?

Anyway, I know I’ve said it before, did we change the way we recruit and forget to tell candidates or did candidates change the way we recruit and we are trying to catch up? Chicken? Egg? Here’s my opinion, 2 generations at once was a triumph, the more you add the more difficult decision-making becomes. Your old school opinions are the “sunday shirt” opinions… Your new school opinions are “Are you available for a Skype interview? BTW we wear jeans M-F and we are okay with the occasional telecommute” and so on. Somewhere in the midst of the generational melting pot we’ve decided we will recruit for skill and culture so we can be forward thinking companies and maximize our potential and run lean and create mentorship opportunities, etc. Ok-I’m starting to run all over the place with this, again, hang with me. Are we expecting candidates to know that’s our goal? No. So we tell them that is our goal. And we wait… and wait… to see how they respond, right? Well we know what we mean & just because we say it, doesn’t mean the candidate knows what that means. It’s easy to recruit for skill, no doubt about that, but culture brings a new element to the table. So tell your candidates what kind of culture you are looking to build, tell them what that means to each employee and the goals of the facility and what the expectations are of the candidates as far as meeting/sustaining those goals. Then wait for the reaction. Then see if they are excited. If they understand. If they are on board. Don’t keep it “secret squirrel” and then be bummed when they didn’t exceed your expectations. Create open communication with new hires on how they can contribute to the culture and the company goals and coach them when necessary. Nurture that from the beginning and eventually those people will be the ones teaching your new hires how to react to the expectations of the culture, start at the beginning! And don’t be afraid to define the organizations definition of the culture they are building. I was talking with an HR friend who said that a recent candidate she interviewed had impressed her because he repeatedly mentioned that he was looking for a second family and that meant something to her because she deals with so many people who “could give a shit less about the people they work with” and later I thought “Well, what if that’s what family means to them?” This is a great example in my mind because people say “I want to be treated like family” or things like that, but family may not be the most important thing to that person so they may define family a bit different from how you or I would.

What is the most important thing, in your opinion, that a candidate must do in the interviewing process to get hired?

recruitingmeme