Blaming hiring managers for being subjective? You might have to blame yourself instead

Blaming hiring managers for being subjective_ You might have to blame yourself instead

It might be one of the biggest frustrations of any Head of People or Talent Acquisition Manager: Hiring managers acting on their gut feeling.

Choosing subjective assumptions over objective indicators when evaluating candidates and making a final hiring decision. And I completely get why it’s frustrating. After all, it’s your responsibility as a Head of People or TA Manager to ensure an objective selection process. So, the last thing you want is for this process to be undermined.

Something I do not get though is the fact that we all tend to point our finger at the hiring manager when things don’t go as we expected. And yes, it’s always easier to blame someone else. Yet, taking a step back from the situation and taking a critical look at ourselves first should be our initial response. Yes, what I am indeed saying is that in some situations, you as a Head of People or TA Manager, unfortunately, might have to blame yourself instead..

After reading this blog you’ll know:

2 reasons why subjective hiring practices kill your business

I think (or at least hope :-)) that this isn’t new to you, so I’ll try to keep this part short.

Subjective hiring, or to put it more simply, acting on feelings/instinct instead of objective data in hiring, endangers your business in two different ways:

  • It leads to non-diverse teams. The more subjective your hiring decisions, the less diverse your team will become. And we all know that diversity is not only an act of corporate social responsibility, it can be considered an actual competitive advantage (here are 13 reasons why).
  • A (rapidly) shrinking pool of candidates. In case you didn’t know of this already – 3 out of 4 candidates will not join a company if there is no clear strategy in place for ensuring equal opportunities in hiring. And without candidates, you can say goodbye to your growth..

Why the behaviour of the Hiring Managers oftentimes leads to frustration

As a Head of People or TA Manager, you have a vision of the ideal hiring process. After all, it’s your responsibility to create this vision, right?

To define a strategy, create a clear and objective hiring process, and most importantly: make sure that hiring managers also stick to this process and vision. However, especially the sticking-to-the-process part is what oftentimes causes friction and frustration…

Some examples:

  • You want hiring managers to set clear criteria for a job opening, but halfway through the hiring process, the criteria change;
  • You want hiring managers to conduct structured interviews, but they still end up freestyling the interview;
  • You want hiring managers to focus on objective insights, but instead, they act on subjective assumptions;
  • You want hiring managers to critically assess culture fit, but as they are in desperate need of a new colleague, culture fit is not always taken into account. 

So, when a new hire turns out to be a unicorn employee, the hiring manager can pat themselves on the back for their brilliant choice. Yet, when a bad hire happens – it raises some questions. Whose fault is it for selecting the wrong candidate?

And at the end of the day, it’s their decision. They decide who to hire.

Despite your vision of the ideal process, you can’t overrule that decision. 

Why you can’t (always) blame the hiring manager

I get that it’s frustrating. And although you will probably be even more frustrated after what I am about to say, I still have to say it: It’s not (always) the hiring manager’s fault.

When a hiring manager makes a hiring decision that ends up being a mishire – it is not about pointing fingers at someone or finding someone to blame. In fact, I’m absolutely certain that each and every hiring manager knows the level of responsibility they carry within a company.

Hiring managers are managers of their teams. Experts in their respective fields. And that field is definitely not hiring.

All frustrations described above could be considered as hiring managers not sticking to your vision and freestyling instead. But you could also look at it from a different perspective. The less defined the process is, the more a hiring manager will (have to) freestyle. The less HR owns the hiring process, the more a hiring manager will take over that ownership. 

Think about it: Are all frustrations described above caused by hiring managers sabotaging your process? Or might these frustrations also be the consequences of weak spots in the process?

Instead of pointing out the mistakes someone has made, make their lives (and jobs) less stressful by giving them the right information so they can create a hiring process that is smooth and mishire-free! Taking ownership of the hiring process doesn’t mean that you have to take away all responsibilities from a hiring manager.

It just means that you correctly guide them through the process of making the right hire, in the right way. 

How to prevent hiring managers from making subjective hiring decisions: Change their role from Executor to Checker

To prevent hiring managers from executing the hiring process the way they want to, requires changing the role of the hiring manager. And believe me, the hiring manager will thank you for that!

Current role: Executor

Most hiring managers have a lot of responsibilities during the hiring process: Defining hiring criteria, in some cases screening, conducting interviews, and so on.

Let me put it into perspective for you. If the hiring manager needs to interview 50 people and the average interview length is between 30 to 45 minutes, they will end up spending 1500 to 2250 minutes just interviewing candidates. And let’s not forget that this is excluding the time they will be spending shortlisting candidates that applied in the first place.

All of that just to hire one person.

So without a doubt, to do all of this effectively and efficiently, the hiring managers not only need time but also the required expertise. And as we all know, there’s never enough time, and hiring is not the hiring manager’s expertise.

The consequence: Hiring managers having to freestyle. Having to rely on their intuition or past experiences.

And that results in subjectivity. 

Desired role: Checker

Do you want to prevent subjectivity? Then all you have to do is decrease the time investment for hiring managers, as well as the need for expertise in the process. Here’s how.

Hiring managers spend the most time on conducting interviews, followed by screening candidates. And these are also the two stages of the hiring process that require the most expertise. Because what makes a candidate a good candidate? When is there a culture fit? And when is someone smart enough to do the job?

Ideally, you’d want your hiring managers to have fewer interviews (or more importantly: fewer disappointing interviews) and also not have to judge a candidate’s fit purely by themselves. In other words: you’d want them to be the last check only. And in order to achieve this, all you have to do is make sure that you already have the candidate insights you’d normally need an interview for, before the interview even starts: Is someone a fit with the team/culture, and is someone capable for the job. 

How Equalture can help you turn your hiring managers into checkers

What often goes wrong with hiring managers is the following: as they need to make an assumption based on a resume, they enter a job interview with zero objective insights. Or even worse: they reject people even before the interview based on their assumptions, while objective insights could have saved the same candidate from being rejected.

Why? Because they are lacking valuable objective insights prior to the interview.

Here at Equalture, we’ve built our own set of neuroscientific games – validated assessments, but in a gamified format. With these assessments, your Hiring Managers will be able to get to know a candidate on different levels, to objectively and accurately assess someone’s fit with the team, culture and job (all before the first interview)!

Want to try this game yourself?

A visual of one of the games that is non-cheatable and measures a specific skill/personality trait.

Now, I can hear you think: ‘’Alright, just another assessment tool’’. But in fact, there are two crucial differences between us and other assessment tools.

First of all, we let all your candidates complete the assessments, at the start of the hiring process. It just takes 10-15 minutes to complete it, and as a result of that, you (ánd your hiring managers!) will have crystal clear, objective insights into each and every candidate. Second, we let your existing team complete the assessments first, so that you know exactly what to be looking for in the next hire – top-performer indicators, skill gaps in the team, cultural indicators, and so on.

The result: At the start of the hiring process, you already know everything about your candidates that you’d normally only know at the end. And on top of that, you collected this info objectively, instead of subjectively.

That’s the secret that makes everyone happy. You don’t have to rely on subjective evaluations from the hiring managers anymore. And hiring managers don’t have to interview loads of people anymore. Win-win, right? Besides, it’s definitely faster than training your hiring managers one by one. 

Now, let’s use the energy you would normally waste on hiring managers to transform them into Checkers. Good luck, and in case you need any help, you know where to find us!

Cheers, Charlotte

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