In the November 13, 2012 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, a hiring manager asks how to distinguish acting from honest interviewing:
Hiring great people is a noble goal but it raises two challenges: how to attract candidates with those rare, valuable qualities into your pipeline, and how to identify them in the interviewing process when everyone is telling you how talented, motivated, curious, and ethical they are (yada, yada, yada). How do we get past all that so we really know who we’re hiring? How do we avoid hiring in desperation?
Let’s talk about two fatal flaws in the entire recruiting/hiring process. First, we try to attract people when we need them. That limits us to cold, calculated, rushed recruiting methods that don’t work well.
Worse, these methods stimulate rote responses from candidates to trigger our interest in them. We’ve all seen it — candidates with the “I’m your (wo)man” smile on their faces. As you note, that’s the “Yada, yada, yada” interview. You can spend the entire time trying to figure out what’s real and what’s an act. Here’s the problem:
You can’t assess someone in a job interview.
You need to see them in action. That takes time, which employers don’t have in a job interview.
To recruit effectively, we need to attract good people long before we need them, so our relationships will be based on common interests, not common desperation.
Second, we can try to “attract people into our pipeline” all day long. But the ones we want aren’t out looking for pipelines.
We must find and enter their pipelines.
We must meet them on their career tracks, and be present at the critical points in their work lives. People make career changes only at certain points. We can be there waiting for the best when they are ready, or we can be out chasing people who are chasing jobs.
My suggestion: The people we want are all around us on discussion threads on work-related forums all over the Internet, talking shop. Talk shop with them, get to know them, establish your own cred and you’ll always have someone to turn to when you need help.
The Zen of it is this: You can’t really identify the people you want in the interview process. At that point, it’s too late, and it’s all too scripted.
You identify the people you want to hire on the street, on the job, and in the throes of dialogue with their peers. Then you follow them and get to know them. You enter their circle of friends. You should talk to them about a job only when you know them well enough. Not when the pipeline needs to be filled. That’s how you avoid mistakes. But show me one human resources department that recruits that way — they don’t. Last year, the world spent $1.3 billion for “just in time hiring” through one job board alone: Monster.com. How stupid.
Yada, yada, yada, the pipeline needs to be filled. Indeed, but you need to fill the pipeline long before you need to hire anyone, with relationships. If your pipeline is full of just applicants and resumes, you’re hiring in deperation.
Desperation hiring: That’s when you need to fill a job right now and you flap your lips Yada, yada, yada through 20 interviews pretending you’re getting to know someone. You can’t assess someone in a job interview. It can’t be done. If you want to hire the right way, you start last year.
How does your company hire? Do you “Yada, yada, yada” through your interviews? Or do you cultivate relationships? Tell me why it takes too long to do it my way…