Who is the hiring manager? High potential candidates want to know!

This is one of the first questions every high potential candidate asks a recruiter. That’s why the hiring manager is so important to recruiting success, and why getting to know the hiring manager is such an essential part of Qualifying The Search.

The reality is that it is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to interest a top candidate in a position that does not report to a highly competent, influential, and accessible manager.

Below are three key traits hiring managers must impress upon the candidates they interview to ensure these candidates choose in their favor when making a choice between multiple opportunities.

Is He/She Competent?

A competent manager knows the performance objectives of the job, not just the skills required to do the job. They see the big picture. They know what needs to be accomplished at 30, 90, 180 and 365 day milestones to be successful on the job. And they know how to communicate this with authority and flair to the candidates they interview.

Because they know the performance objectives, they’re are able to lead a focused interview that zeros in on job specific competencies. Top candidates respect this type of interview. What they don’t respect are superficial interviews that focus on hard skills and years experience. Competent managers feel the same way. They are most interested in a candidate’s past accomplishments and anchoring them with job specific performance objectives. They are most interested in conducting visualization exercises to determine how the candidate would solve actual problems inherent in the job.

Competent managers are highly objective and do not allow personal bias or first impressions to enter into the equation. Their singular focus is on hiring a person who can do the job, not get the job. As such, they look for doing the job traits such as drive, achievements, team skills and leadership. And they’re not overly impressed with getting the job traits like handshakes, charisma and assertiveness.

In a nutshell, a hiring manager’s competency shines through when they demonstrate that they know what needs to be accomplished, what competencies are required to accomplish it, and what questions to ask in order to find out if the person they’re interviewing can accomplish it.

Is He/She Influential?

High potential candidates don’t make career decisions based on tactical criteria such as salary, title or location. They base their career decisions on strategic reasons like the challenges and upward mobility inherent in an opportunity. This is why being an influential manager is essential to successfully recruiting top candidates. An influential hiring manager is plays a significant role in recruiting success when the candidates they want to hire have a choice between multiple opportunities. The presence of an influential hiring manager ensures the decision will almost invariably tilt in their favor.

Influential managers can always answer the question, Why would a top person want this job? They can always tie their position to a major company initiative and express how the role is critical to company success. Influential managers realize that top candidates always look at the big picture, so they take every opportunity possible during an interview to emphasize the importance of the job to the overall success of the company.

Finally, influential managers inspire others. They are passionate about their work, their team, their projects and they take immense pride in how their personal success translates into success for the company. An influential manager’s confidence and passion is infectious. High potential candidates are inspired by this type of leader and want to work for them.

Is He/She Accessible?

Top people take jobs because of what they will be doing, learning and becoming in a new position. The distance between what they will be doing initially, and what they will ultimately become, is bridged by the knowledge they gain along the way. This knowledge is derived from on the job experience learning new things in combination with insight offered by their hiring manager as a mentor. It goes without saying, that a manager who is distant, too busy or inaccessible cannot serve as a quality mentor.

Nothing accelerates a manager’s career faster than being recognized for their ability to successfully develop and promote others. Accessibility is the key here. These managers understand the importance of helping others to develop. A strong hiring manager realizes that their success, or failure, hinges on the performance of their group or team. So they make themselves readily accessible to everybody and anybody who can influence their success. This is includes recruiters and candidates as well during the recruiting process.
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A poor hiring manager is the biggest roadblock to successfully recruiting top people.

It’s important to understand that we are speaking specifically about high potential candidates here. Second-rate candidates are rarely interested in the quality of the manager. These people only have tactical concerns like salary, title and location on their mind. For the best however, it is amazing how flexible they can be on tactical issues when there’s a first-class manager in the picture.