The same can be said for a successful job seeker. The secret to a successful job search: putting yourself “in the shoes” of the hiring manager by asking:
What does that hiring manager want and need — and what must they avoid?
With that in mind, let’s make you “Recruiter for a Day” — and put you in the position of hiring the best candidate for a given job, even if the “best” is not you this time…
The Risks Faced by the Hiring Manager
First, let’s understand how the hiring process looks to the hiring manager so you can address those issues and get hired.
The hiring manager faces a big “down side” if they hire someone who doesn’t do the job well:
- You need to explain to your boss why you hired that less-than-stellar employee.
- You appear to have bad judgement in evaluating people as potential employees.
- Your own compensation may drop if the bad employee is in a position to impact how your employer measures your performance and rewards you.
- You must accept sub-standard performance from that new employee, possibly impacting other employees and also customers.
- You must work harder (yourself or your whole team) to fix what isn’t done well.
- You may need to spend the time and money to train that employee to be better at their job, if possible.
Consequently, people in the position of hiring a new employee make their best efforts hire a good employee. You would too, in their shoes.
Finding Job Candidates
So, how do you find the best job candidates to minimize your personal and professional risk?
You Ask Employees for Referrals
You ask other employees and maybe post the job internally so that anyone who knows anyone who might be a “good fit” is identified and contacted. The company may even reward employees (a.k.a. “employee referral program”) who refer someone who is successful in the job.
You check your own network.
Someone you already know personally or professionally might be appropriate and interested. Or, someone in your network might know someone appropriate for the job.
And, most likely, the organization also posts the job for “outsiders” to find and apply.
Who Would You Hire, Jack or Jill?
When the whole process is over — taking much of your time, as the hiring manager, and the time of other employees — you have these two people to choose from:
Jack, the Stranger
Jack responded to the job posting. He has a great resume and performed well in the interviews. In the interview, he made a stellar presentation as a “sample” of his work (and one of the job’s requirements).
Other members of your team who interviewed Jack said he did fine and thought he’d be good at the job. The HR person says Jack meets the requirements specified in the job description. His references said good things about him, and he passed the background check.
Jill, The Former Colleague of a Co-Worker
Jill worked with a co-worker for two years in his last job; she is believed to be smart, reliable, honest, and a hard worker. Your colleague respects Jill and her work and knows several other people who feel the same way about him. Everyone who interviewed Jill liked her.
Jill made a good — but not outstanding — sample presentation in the interview; she probably needs more experience and maybe some training to give better presentations. However, your colleague says Jill is a fast learner. HR says Jill meets the requirements specified in the job description and that her references checked out fine and she passed the background check, too.
If Jill stays in the job at least three months and is a “good” performer in the position, the colleague who recommended her will get an employee referral bonus of $2,000. If Jill stays six months, that bonus goes up an additional $2,000. To be sure that your former co-worker receives that employee bonus, he has promised to help Jill get off to a great start.
And the Winning Job Seeker Is?
Although both candidates seem well-qualified, my bet is that you would hire Jill, even though she isn’t the “perfect” candidate. After all, hiring Jill, the networked applicant, is usually “safer” than hiring than the stranger, Jack. Why?
- Jill already has an ally in the group, helping her to learn the job quickly and fit into the group more easily.
- While Jack was very impressive in the job interview, most hiring managers have experienced hiring people who interview very well, but are poor workers. And, no one in the group really knows Jack, so no one can vouch for him.
Now that you have been recruiter for a day, ask yourself the most important question:
Given your current job search strategy: Would you hire YOU?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Work Coach Cafe!
About the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased WorkCoachCafe.com; Susan has been editor and publisher since. Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.