How Successful Managers Hire the Best People

05/04/2015 02:56 pm ET | Updated May 02, 2016


I seem to have struck a nerve on Tuesday when I wrote 3 Things Job Candidates Wish They Could Tell HR. I called out three frustrating aspects of hiring: forcing candidates to jump through too many hoops, inaccurate job descriptions, and poor communication.

More than 32,000 read the post, and judging from the more than 100 comments, there is plenty more that candidates would like to say, given the chance. I have really tried to avoid these mistakes as the CEO of three companies, including now at Aha!

Here are a few of my favorites:

I am immediately turned off when a recruiter asks for references and a social security number on the initial application. How about we get to know each other a little bit before I give you access to my identity and professional network?

I'll add another point about job descriptions. Many include so much detail that it's hard to determine what the most important aspects are. I recently saw one that when printed went more than two pages, single spaced.

But this last comment really got me thinking about how successful managers approach hiring:

In today's world of big data, cloud computing and so many awesome technologies, the hiring process is taking out the human factor from the equation. Hiring managers (not just recruiters) should be involved in the hiring process from the start.

This reader raises an important point -- is the "human" in human resources disappearing? I suggest that if the current hiring landscape seems inhumane to candidates, perhaps hiring managers are the very humans who can turn that trend around.

One big problem is that hiring managers are usually too far removed from the search process. From the very beginning, hiring managers should be actively involved in bringing the best people for their company.

As a manager when you get more involved in hiring, you will hire better folks. This happens because you:

Communicate directly
Email can be a great tool, but too much back-and-forth can result in disconnect with the candidate, especially when recruiters and other outside parties are still involved. Once hiring managers are having conversations with candidates, they should communicate directly with them rather than relying on the recruiter to convey next steps.

Respond quickly
Great candidates are in high demand. They make their job decisions fast when they have multiple offers. Many companies drag their feet for so long that they lose out on the best people, who accept positions elsewhere. Hiring managers must step up and make sure the process continually moves forward. When in doubt, take the lead in responding to candidates with urgency.

Are transparent
In an effort to sell candidates on the position, a recruiter or hiring manager may omit important details or build up the position to be more than it actually is. However, you do a disservice to the job candidate -- and your whole organization -- when you stretch the truth about the position. Speak the truth about the job at all times, and you will eliminate the chance of unwelcome surprises.

Hiring managers have a responsibility to find the very best talent. They should approach hiring with the same care and diligence that employees take with their job search.

In doing so, they can help restore a little more humanity to the hiring process. Successful managers always look for ways to improve their work, and this should extend to hiring. And the best ones eliminate barriers that stand between them and the best people.

What is your strategy for finding rock star talent?