Trusting your Gut (and your Executive Recruiter): Your Path to making an Informed and Stress-Free Hiring Decision
Hiring the right employee at any level is an important process. To make an informed hiring decision, you want to weigh the pros and cons of every candidate you meet with. Recruiters understand – it’s also how we go about evaluating our candidates. However, the onboarding process doesn’t need to be stressful, complicated, and unnecessarily time-consuming.
Often times, employers may feel that they need to interview a parade of 10-20 candidates before they can be confident in their choice. However, this can make the hiring process much more stressful and reduces efficiency. Chances are, if you’re a high-level executive, you have a relatively strong idea of the qualities you are looking for in a new hire. You already understand the needs of the role, the company, the department, and what it will take to ensure your organization operates at full capacity. The truth of the matter is that you know whether the person you are interviewing is qualified or not. Trust your gut! If the 3rd person you meet with is a perfect fit, you should bring them in for a second-round interview to further asses their skills; sooner rather than later. This will help move the hiring process along because if your initial feeling that they’d be a great employee holds true, and they further impress you, you can stop looking for other people. Holding a series of interviews for the same position, especially after you found someone who is a great fit, may bolster more confusion and encourage you to hold additional interviews, which will only prolong the process. Leaving an unfilled position open for an extended period of time will further delay the work that needs to get done and increase the stress on current employees who are already picking up the slack. If you wait too long, you may even miss out on your opportunity to hire candidate #3 because in the time it took you to make a final decision, they could have been exploring other opportunities, and negotiating and accepting an offer elsewhere. If they’re a great fit for you, chances are, they might be a great fit for other companies they are interviewing with! To keep them interested in working for your organization, you need to be decisive and let them know that you want to proceed to the next level of the hiring process. Whether that is through a 2nd interview, a project to assess their applied skills, or a final hiring decision, they need to know that you are keeping them in mind for the position.
If you are working with an executive recruiter, you have already spent an extensive amount of time discussing your budget, your company culture, the desired skillset, your competitors, and the type of person you foresee doing well in this role. A recruiter’s goal at the end of the day is to find 3-4 qualified candidates that they can present to the hiring manager – let the brunt of the sourcing fall on them, not you. Employers shouldn’t be burdened by the stress of interviewing dozens of candidates – that’s their executive recruiter’s job! When we work with clients, we take the time to fully understand their expectations by asking questions, checking in from time-to-time, and evaluating past experiences with employees that filled the same or a similar role at the organization.
For any given position, a recruiter can prescreen up to 20 candidates – a process that can take up to 2-3 months – before they find the right handful of professionals to present. Though the amount of candidates recommended may be low in number, every professional selected is very high in quality. After all, every candidate has been strongly evaluated and handpicked by your recruiter, based on your expectations. At the end of this process, one member of this handful of candidates should be your front runner. As long as you trust your judgment that at least one of these professionals is an excellent fit, you won’t need to meet any new candidates. If you don’t, or you realize your needs have shifted, your recruiter can reevaluate your needs and source a small number of candidates with different qualifications that may better match what you are looking for. However, when holding interviews, it is important to keep in mind that attributes such as confidence, amicability, integrity, and the ability to act as a leader are all qualities in a person that may outweigh specific job requirements like years of experience, level of education, etc. As a result, when meeting with a candidate that you are certain would be very successful in the role (despite missing something from their resume), focus on the quality they would bring to the organization when making your final hiring decision. If you truly believe that candidate who may be missing a credential or two has a strong work ethic, an aptitude for learning, and can bring immense value to your company, it may be worth it in the long-run to trust yourself and bring them on board. When given an opportunity to prove themselves, people can surprise you.
Remember, if you have authority over the hiring process, your ability to lead, make decisions, and see the big picture got you to where you are today. With an executive recruiter as your partner, you have all the tools you’ll ever need to make the hiring decision that is right for you and your company.
Director – Retained Search