This time out we’re going to look at the other person that can make or break your candidate experience - the hiring manager.
I have some tips on how to become a hiring manager’s trusted partner. But also some questions to help you better understand where you are now. What you’re doing well. Where you can improve. And to work out what to focus on.
And, in case you missed it, the 2018 UK gender pay gap was reported in April. And there was no real improvement on 2017. Could not asking candidates one question help close the gap?
It’s a complex issue. But there is evidence that not asking candidates their current, or previous salary, can make a difference. So what’s stopping us making this small change?
Also, I’m aware these newsletters are getting rather long. So, from the next one, I’ll focus on one topic instead of two. This should make it a better balance of length and detail.
What do you think?
P.S. If you have a great article you’d like to share, please get in touch! Just reply to this email.
Working with hiring managers. Where to begin?
When I was doing my research, I found a common theme. Pretty much all the articles listed out a number of tips and steps to follow. ‘6 ways to develop a great working relationship with hiring managers’. ‘These 5 steps will make sure you and the hiring manager are on exactly the same page.’
Much of it is good advice, and I’ve included the better ones below. But while helpful, they’re also generic. And won’t apply in all situations.
Which got me thinking - how could they be more useful?
My solution is to help you put them in context. To ask questions that help you understand where you are now. What you’re doing well. Where you can improve. And what you need to focus on.
Then you can apply the tips that work for your specific situation.
It seems obvious, but what are you trying to achieve? An excellent candidate experience? To improve diversity? Reduce the time to hire? Is the hiring manager aware of your priorities and why they are important for the business?
And what is the priority of the specific hiring manager you're working with? Speed? Quality?
And what is motivating their choice? Are they pushing for speed due to a business need or a personal one (we all know someone who just wants to get it sorted before their holiday)?
While you live and breathe recruiting, it’s worth remembering that for many hiring managers it’s a sporadic activity. Also, while some may have a lot of hiring experience - it may not have been at your company. And others may never have hired anyone before.
Whatever the situation, are they clear on what they are responsible for? And what you are?
While you may be responsible for the process, is the hiring manager clear that they’re responsible for the outcome - who’s hired?
Ignorance is bliss. At least for the ignorant person. It’s hell if you’re the one doing the work they’re ignorant of.
So make it very clear what you do. Map out your hiring process - from those first discussions about the role to onboarding. Make the hiring manager aware of everything you do. And how long each step normally takes.
Then make an easy to understand diagram or slide show and share it with everyone.
From your side, how have things gone in the past? Why were you successful? And what happened when things went sour?
It’s equally important to put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. What’s their hiring experience? If they’ve hired at your company, what’s their track record? Where have they performed well? And where have they performed poorly?
Do they have everything they need? All the tools and information? Are they aware of their legal responsibilities?
Do they know what makes a great candidate experience? And their role in it? Do they realise that they’re also being judged? And that how they come across in interviews can impact their reputation?
Is there anything going on in their world that could negatively impact the candidate experience? Are they short on time because they’re covering the job they’re hiring for?
Like all relationships, communication is key. Both how often you communicate and whether you’re open and honest with each other.
But the nature of the relationship is also important. Are you there to serve the hiring manager as an internal customer? Or are you a trusted partner whose advice is valued?
While hiring managers may be experts in their field, they’re unlikely to be hiring experts. Are you helping fill in their gaps and weak spots? Are they helping you? Are they giving you the information you need for the job description, advertising, and sourcing?
And are you both checking back in to review the results? Looking at what worked and where you can both improve?
Alright - that’s probably enough introspection. So on to the tips and steps you can use.
According to the consultant John Vlastelica, how recruiters involve and engage hiring managers is the thing that separates great recruiting companies from average ones.
After looking at what other companies have achieved, the article provides John’s five tips:
As the title suggests, this article focuses on aligning expectations. In particular, what you need to get out of your initial meeting with the hiring manager:
A number of recruiting experts offer their advice on working with hiring managers in six tips:
A look at the process Greenhouse used to review and improve the relationships of their recruiters and hiring managers. Some of the key takeaways are:
You may have noticed that job requirements are a common theme. In particular, keeping them clear and narrow. Which is not always easy for someone close to the job like the hiring manager. Often they’ll just write down a list of the skills and qualifications they think someone will need. Or copy those of their best team member.
To help them get away from this approach, try asking:
“What does the person need to do to be successful?”
This article is broader than recruitment. But I’ve included it because you’re likely to have projects or initiatives on the go that will rely on other teams for their success.
It covers five common barriers to effective collaboration - along with potential solutions. Anyone working in a large organisation will recognise all of them.
It has good points but it is a bit of an advertisement for asana. To avoid those parts just skim over the sections following the pictures of software. Also, the solution for point 3 is a bit unrealistic. It’s far better to just avoid using jargon.
Type it into google and you’ll get reams of articles advising candidates on how to respond to this “dreaded” question.
Should we even ask it?
Putting aside that it’s already illegal in some US states (more on this in the articles below), what do you really have to gain from asking it? And what do you have to lose?
I’m sure we’re all aware of the benefits, the two key ones are being:
However, by asking this question, and then paying someone based on their current (or previous) salary, you are reinforcing existing pay gaps. Particularly those between genders and ethnic groups. And you may also be undermining your own diversity efforts.
Also, the amount you save in salary could end up costing the business more in the long run. Research has found that employees’ performance drops when they find out they’re paid less than their peers. And if they leave you’ll have the cost of re-hiring as well.
It can also seem unfair from the candidate’s perspective. Why should they come up with a number at a time when they have no real context of the job? When the employer knows not only what the role involves, but what they’re willing to pay for it?
Nevertheless, the benefit of knowing you are on the same page is an important one to both parties.
So should you just disclose the salary range upfront? Be transparent and make sure everyone knows what they’re getting into?
It certainly makes sense. It also shows you’re serious about paying a fair market rate. Regardless of how someone was treated in the past.
If you’re worried about disclosing the salary in the job ad you can always bring it up with shortlisted candidates before you start interviewing or testing them. This approach may also give you a chance to start a discussion. Potentially a good idea if you have some flexibility at the upper end of the range. Or can offer them a different role better matching their expectations.
It will also reduce the chance of competitors seeing your salary range. Or current employees. Although it’s getting increasingly easier to find this information on the web anyway.
It may not be an easy decision - so here’s some food for thought.
Sets out five reasons why not considering past salary can benefit both parties:
Not asking about previous salary is a step in the right direction. But this article argues it alone won’t solve the pay gap. In particular, it won’t help people once they’re at a company - whether they will all progress at an equal rate.
It’s written by someone from Zendesk and offers good insight into how they are trying to address issues around promotions and salary increases.
A good summary of the issue and the US laws prohibiting employers from asking a candidate’s current or previous salary. Additionally, it has a good summary of recent legal challenges to those laws, notably by Comcast in Philadelphia.
On a side note, you have to wonder what Comcast hope to get out of challenging a law promoting equal pay. Clearly, they hope to save a few dollars. But how many talented people will want to work at a company that clearly doesn’t value them?
In early April this year, the 9th Circuit ruled on Rizo v. Yovino - a result that may set a new precedence for the US Equal Pay Act.
The case relates to a female maths teacher that was paid less than her male colleague. The school district argued that her low pay was due to how she was paid in previous roles. Not because she was a woman. An argument that was successful in lower courts.
However, a panel of judges said that calculating a woman’s pay based on her salary history is a form of gender discrimination - and violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
That’s it for the moment. Look forward to catching up again in a couple of weeks.
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