All posts tagged: hiring manager

The Magic Question: How to Use 3 Powerful Words to Get Anyone Involved in Hiring to Change Their Mind

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There are no silver bullets to fill a job, but there is a silver lining when someone tells you “no.” Everyone in the hiring process hires is told “no” at one point or another. Hiring managers hear candidates reject rock-solid job offers. HR and staffing pros deal with managers who turn down well-qualified candidates. The silver lining in these situations is that you can ask people who say “no” a magic question that lets them talk themselves into a different perspective.

The magic question helps hiring managers see past their initial objections about a potentially good hire. This powerful query gives candidates the opportunity to consider shifting their point of view. The 3 words that comprise the magic question can even allow HR, talent acquisition, and staffing leaders to change their mind about adjustments to the hiring process.

Those 3 words are

Under what circumstances…

If there are circumstances under which someone will change her mind, she knows what those circumstances are. By letting her do the talking, you’re giving her the chance to convince herself while also informing you of the details.

The magic within these 3 words is this: the person who just said “no” always believes her own point of view. She may not believe yours. Because of this, she is the most qualified person to overcome the reasons why she said “no” in the first place.

How’s the magic question work? Here are four common situations.

Candidate has unrealistic expectations
Brad fit the job but wanted $10,000 more than Ivan, the manager, could offer. Ivan asked Brad

Under what circumstances would you take this job for $10,000 less?

He then let Brad do the talking. Turns out there was a circumstance. One that Ivan couldn’t have anticipated. Brad had a three-week family trip scheduled. He said it would be worth taking 10k less if he could take that trip as planned.

Ivan went on to use this question over and over again with success. When a candidate said “no” because of a long commute the magic question let the candidate talk herself into a flex schedule. Then there was the highly talented individual who objected to some of the job responsibilities. Ivan’s use of the magic question allowed the candidate to talk himself into the fact that every job comes with a mix of desirable and undesirable tasks.

Hiring manager has unrealistic expectations
A hiring manager having pie in the sky expectations had sunk many candidate submissions by a financial services firm’s HR team. That is, until they used a little magic.

Now, every time a manager makes requests that cannot be fulfilled, they ask “Under what circumstances…” about that request.

Under what circumstances would you consider someone with less experience?

Under what circumstances would someone from a different college be okay?

Under what circumstances would you pay a bit more in salary?

Under what circumstances could someone without a degree do the job?

Time and time again, these managers would talk themselves into changing their own mind.

Staffing team is stuck in counterproductive habits
Just because you’ve always done something the same way doesn’t make it right. Cecilia, the new COO of a global staffing company, discovered that many of the challenges of the firm were rooted in ineffective business practices. Many of these business practices, including feature-benefit selling and most placeable candidate presentations, had been in place for years. Even though these practices weren’t working, her management team was convinced it was a bad idea to abandon these “best practices.”

Rather than managing by mandate (“change this because I said so”), she asked the management team the magic question.

Under what circumstances would it make sense for us to change these business practices?

Over the next 30 minutes, the managers told one another, instead of being told by the boss, all the reasons it would make sense to change long-treasured parts of their process. Within 60 days, the ideas from this meeting had replaced the ineffective business practices.

HR or talent acquisition team is stuck in counterproductive habits
“Behavioral interviewing has made our hiring better,” said Gilbert, the VP of HR for a manufacturing company. When pressed for details, Gilbert couldn’t provide them. His department had never measured the impact of behavioral interviews. He believed in this style of interviewing. This and this alone was enough proof.

What happened next? The magic question (no surprise).

Under what circumstances would it make sense to change how your company interviews?

Gilbert responded, “Proof. I’d want to see proof there was something better.”

Proof is what he got during the next round of machinist interviews. One group of candidates went through behavioral interviews. At the same time, another group went through experiential interviews. The result? Gilbert said it best: “It was so clear and obvious who we should hire from the experiential interviews. We could see proof that the people we picked could do the job. Behavioral interviews never provided that kind of definitive evidence.”

Talk is cheap when we’re the ones doing the talking. When we allow others to convince themselves, their words are priceless. Everything they say, they believe. Next time you want a job candidate, hiring manager, staffing pro, or HR exec to change their mind, let the most credible person do the talking That’s them, not you.

Scott WintripThe Magic Question: How to Use 3 Powerful Words to Get Anyone Involved in Hiring to Change Their Mind
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Want Hiring Managers to Pay Attention to Your Candidates? Do These 4 Things.

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We live in a world of swiping, scanning, and occasionally scrolling. Reviewing a daily news feed. Looking for new listings on a real estate app. Sifting through posts on social media. Sorting your emails. Finding love on a dating app. Our mobile devices allow us to quickly review lots of topics, messages, posts, and pictures. Every so often one grabs our attention prompting us to scroll through the details.

This common behavior has changed how we process information. And this includes how most hiring managers review candidates. These managers, regardless of age, swipe and scan through emails and resumes with ever-increasing speed. Only occasionally do they scroll through the details about someone who, after an initial glance, appears to potentially meet their needs.

As more of our interactions with information shift to our mobile devices, this behavior will only increase. Which is why people who present talent to hiring managers (including HR professionals, corporate recruiters, and staffing pros), must adapt how they submit talent. Here’s how.

Find the juicy relevant details
When do we go beyond swiping and scanning? When we see something that appears worthwhile. Could be an article offering five compelling solutions for a perplexing business problem. Maybe it’s a picture of the newest model of a popular device. Or it might include a combination of a picture and text, such as a snap of a yummy looking dish and a recipe title that promises low fat and big taste.

Take time to identify the juicy and relevant details about a candidate. Don’t just ask about her skills—have her tell you about the positive business outcomes created by those skills. Don’t just ask him how much experience he has—have him give you the specifics regarding how that experience was praised by bosses and colleagues. Attention grabbing details are there if you take the time to find them.

Create a compelling headline
Actress Renee Zellweger famously said to Tom Cruise’s Jerry McGuire, “You had me at ‘hello.’” That’s what happens just before we decide to scroll through a piece of content—the very first “hello” (what we see or hear) either grabs or repels our attention.

Your headline, be it your first spoken sentence, the voicemail you leave, or the subject line of an email, determines if the hiring manager keeps paying attention or swipes you aside.

When possible, add a picture
Pictures are powerful and are said to be worth a thousand words. We see this today in the success and growth of Instagram, along with the increasing popularity of video.

Presenting talent with pictures is an overlooked opportunity. No, this does not mean you send the candidate’s picture. You can send powerful visual proof of the value the candidate could bring to the job. Examples include a picture of

– a written performance review
– non-proprietary work created by the candidate
– an award plaque

Write an irresistible opening
What keeps us reading content beyond a headline or picture? When what we see next makes it clear that continued interest is worth it.

That’s what you’ll do with the additional juicy relevant details you uncovered in step 1. You’ll write a brief opening paragraph that includes that information. Want to be even more compelling? Tie these details into specific requests made by the hiring manager.

What does this look like in action? Here’s the opening spoken line (headline) and first paragraph from a voicemail message left by a recruiter at one of my clients last week. He also sent this same headline and paragraph as an e-mail after leaving the voicemail message. Included was a pic of the first page of her most recent performance review.

SUBJECT: I have someone for you who’s a combination of Joe Allen and Susan Habib

Hi Roberto. You told me to look for someone who has the skill of Joe and communication abilities of Susan. I have her! Because of her skill, Emily has eliminated $120,000 in expense from the departmental budget. Her manager praises her communication as one of the reasons for this. He also credits her abilities for solving persistent problems, much like those issues you’ve mentioned your department is facing.

Did this work? Like a charm. The hiring manager, who normally took days to reply (if he did at all) responded within three minutes, wanting to set up an interview as soon as possible.

Like it or not, we now live in a world that floods us with information from all directions. To help your candidates stand out, you’ve got to cut through that noise. Hiring managers will swipe and scan your candidate to the side unless you make it clear it’s worth their while to stop and scroll through the details.

Scott WintripWant Hiring Managers to Pay Attention to Your Candidates? Do These 4 Things.
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Dear Hiring Manager: An Open Letter

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Dear Hiring Manager,

I understand that you’re busy. Probably more than ever since your company has likely remained lean following the Great Recession. That’s why I’m suggesting you take on an important task. One that may seem counterintuitive. Your company needs your help generating candidate referrals to fill your jobs.

You may be thinking, “This so-called hiring expert has lost his mind. I’ve already got a full calendar and a desk loaded with work.” A recent story about restaurant chain Cracker Barrel demonstrates why helping with referrals is in your best interest.

Cracker Barrel is known for it’s innovative marketing approaches. One of these has included managers picking random people from the local phonebook and inviting them to a new Cracker Barrel for a home-cooked meal on the house. As the company puts it, “Two weeks later, business picked up. All over town, people were talking about the new restaurant near the interstate and the manager who was calling people to invite them over for dinner.” 

So, how does this Cracker Barrel example relate to generating job candidate referrals? Being invited by a restaurant manager for a free meal is a welcome surprise. Being contacted about career opportunities is a welcome surprise and an ego boost. When you personally reach out to a potential job candidate, you’re sending a message. You’re saying, “You matter. I value you and your background.” You’re also showing people that your company and leadership style are different and attractive.

Why is this important? You have tremendous power. You have a network of colleagues who may fit current (or future) job openings. This same group of contacts can introduce you to dozens of additional people who could also fit your hiring needs.

Now, you may be thinking, “Our corporate recruiter or someone in HR could do this just as easily as I can.” No offense to them, but they cannot. You have something they don’t—shared experience. You have much in common with that prospective job candidate. You talk their talk and understand what they go through each day. This gives you immediate credibility and helps engender trust. A recruiter or HR can help you move things forward following your initial dialogue with someone. But only after you’ve built rapport and captured the candidate’s interest.

Generating referrals now, even if you don’t have any open jobs, will save you time. This part may seem surprising. However, think about what happens when a job opens. Most managers engage in the old way of hiring—keeping a job open until the right person shows up. That means they have to do their own job, handle or delegate the workload of the open position, and conduct interviews to fill that opening. Is it any wonder so many leaders are exhausted and overwhelmed?

When you engage in the new way of hiring—cultivating talented people and waiting for the right job to show up—the exhaustion and overwhelm go away. Spending 20 minutes a week reaching out to talented people helps keep hiring manageable.

So, help your company help you. Set aside a small chunk of time weekly to cultivate referrals. Use these referrals to line up people before you need them. Engage in the new way of hiring and make hiring delays a thing of the past.

Sincerely yours,

Scott Wintrip

Scott WintripDear Hiring Manager: An Open Letter
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The Disloyalty of Customers

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Scott's Monday Morning MessageThere’s an “affair” going on and it’s not just a tacky television series on the Showtime network.

Thousands of people are deemed unfaithful every day, including:

  • Hiring managers who circumvent their corporate recruiters.
  • Managers who work with a staffing vendor not on the approved list.
  • HR leaders who agree to work exclusively with one recruiting firm, yet, still give business to others.

Why does this happen? A human resources executive in Kansas City, Missouri recently said:

“I have a rolodex of ten agencies. One is our preferred staffing vendor; the other nine our backups. If the first one can’t fill the job today, I call the rest. The next one that appears able to fill it gets my business. I know I’m not alone in this. My colleagues tell me they do the same thing.”

Faithful business relationships are a two-way street. On the recruiting side, this means continuing to deliver quality and increasing the speed of delivery. 

If you don’t deliver fast and accurate hires, chances are that your customers are glancing over their shoulders. They’re looking for a more attractive partner who better meets their needs. 

Scott WintripThe Disloyalty of Customers
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