How Do You Hire?
Sounds like a stupid question. However, during recent interviews with HR Managers this question seems to be the one I end up asking them the most since it seems many businesses have in mind an alternative method of hiring than what is obvious.
Yes, there are millions of job openings being advertised online and if you are one of the unemployed out networking you have more than likely noticed the offline professional recruiters now days are thicker than pharmaceutical salespeople in a hospital. Getting hire today really seems to be more of a game than a process. Unfortunately, it seems many businesses with jobs available are just going through the motions of interviewing applicants with no real intentions of hiring anyone from outside.
Many of the HR Managers I know personally are open to telling me they have a job opening they are interviewing for but already have a candidate in mind who is either from within the company or someone the owner of the company or HR Manager personal associate with. When I ask why they do this I usually get a remark like..Oh you’ve been there. You know the games we have to play!
They are correct, I have been there and I do know EVERY game large companies will play during their hiring process. Personally, it is a shame and angers me that these games are still being played. Now that I am on the other side of the desk from these hiring managers it makes it really hard to play the role of someone who does not know what they are doing. Unfortunately, I am sure my knowledge of what they have been trained to say and do has cost me a few jobs.
Rules of Engagement
Getting hired for a job of interest should be as simple as applying and getting a chance to ask questions about the position to see if being hired is a win-win. If so, it is time to go to work..if not, move on to the next interview.
Unfortunately, businesses seem to be enjoying going thru the very time consuming process of interviewing people a number of times. Actually, all they are doing is attempting to appear politically correct. It is no secret the government has been putting pressure on big businesses to open up hiring to the millions unemployed who are filling the governments unemployment programs. To keep from getting negative press many businesses who have job openings will post their openings on job boards on the internet in hopes it puts a smiley face on their business’ image as supporting the government’s push to reduce unemployment.
Granted, some of the businesses end up hiring someone off the unemployment list, but it usually is for an entry level position, non-management, or non-skilled positions. But, you knew this didn’t you?
From the candid excuses I get when I ask the interviewers why they took four weeks of my time for the seemingly endless interviews with everyone, from the senior vice president of maintenance engineering…janitor to most of us…to the CEO or owner, I am told they want to make sure there are not missing qualified candidates in the market. Of course that is the company line they are trained to say when they come up against someone who knows more they they do of what is going on. The real reason for the endless interviews usually has to do with them being used as stale tactics while they finish the interviews of a number of people who they are also putting through the ringer of endless interviews.
In many cases these tactics are part of the documentation they can use to support them in a dispute that might go to court from someone who files an age discrimination or other violations of employment law. Basically, the hiring company has the ball in the hiring situation and they plan on keeping it during the entire process. Only the businesses who do not go thru this ridiculous process of long drawn out interviews run the risk of losing a labor law dispute.
Of course, I need to make it clear I am not an attorney and this is my interpretation of the process these businesses are going thru. See..I know the process…I also have been trained by the best attorneys in the world.
Having been a hiring manager I know the alternative motive behind this method of hiring. Internally many of the hiring companies are going to alert their internal candidates of the opening and tell them they are on the front row for the position. Some will even go so far as to tell them that they are going to also open the job up to the public for a few weeks, or months, to interview candidates outside, but not to worry, they are just being politically correct.
Now, if you are the person who just got ‘The Tap’, as it is called in the corporate world, for a new position or promotion what would you do? Nearly everyone who gets The Tap is going to step up their performance of their job to show their boss they can do more.
This is great for the company and your assumption would be correct that many companies will trump up a new position to offer someone a promotion to just to get more productivity out of the current workforce. Then after they get their productive up, or meet a goal internally from the increased production, a notice suddenly comes out from HR saying something like…Due to situations out of our control the position currently open has be withdrawn.
You may ask..why are businesses playing the games with the unemployed? It is a good question to ask and the real answer boils down to the businesses being overly concerned with picking up someone else’s problems.
One of the by products of the bust of the economy, that hit the heaviest back in 2008, was that this true catastrophe of the countries economic system was the move many big very top heavy businesses with a butt load of non-productive highly educated executives, were waiting for to unload them. Unfortunately, to do this they had to flush out the good ones with the bad. This was the start of the New Rules of Engagement for hiring people.
Many of these companies who put millions of people on the streets would wait a few months for the dust to settle and then go out to pick up the good people they let go during the ‘Flush’..most of whom were not college degreed but had very good work ethics and knew the business inside and out. Now that they had their ‘A Team’ back they just sit nice and pretty to wait for the economy to improve.
Change Always Causes Problems
Once the economy improved and the pressure was put on them to hire people they set up their defenses at the front door to keep from filling their payroll with the unproductive people they let go a few years ago. To fill the positions they started playing games set up to prove to the government they are playing ball with them when actually they are just screening processes they put in place to keep from having to pick up the unproductive people they let go. It seems businesses learned their lessons from the 80’s when back then all they needed where more hands to get the work done. Today, businesses want people who can think and do instead specialist who either think or do, but not both. The problem is the businesses have a hard time finding people who know how to think and do without taking high risks of hiring someone who tells them they can think and do, but can’t.
The reality is, now that the economy is growing, business’ needs are naturally increasing and they are truly in a bind to finding new people to bring in to do the job. The question then becomes..if they are screening the unwanted thru elaborate hiring games, how are they filling the positions they have open?
New Way of Hiring
Yes, there are many games played in the business world when it comes to hiring someone. Fortunately, there are more and more businesses who are starting to pull away for playing games and just get down to doing business. Most are starting to not post to the public their openings for management positions and doing the more productive thing of turning their employees loose to networking, either online or offline, to finding candidates to offer their executives for review.
Employee referrals are starting to replace the online job boards and the recruiters since these methods of job notifications are attracting people who have a enormous amounts of book sense but no practical experience of working under fire. So how does someone with business experience and has a long track record of being overly productive ever find these businesses who are using social networking to to find their candidates?
Another good question and one answered with explaining how business networking works. Of course, the internet is one of the most creative ways to find people who can make the connections to real jobs, but it is not the ONLY way. Offline networking, thru joining a special interest organization that meets at least monthly, is a start. Finding the group or club that fits your profession is also great. Find an activity that business people participate in is also another great way to business network.
Things are Still Bad
There are also a number of non-productive methods of networking. Putting the word out on the street you are looking of a position with a company is not done by sending an email blast to your 10,000 people on your email list and thinking that the 5000 Friends you have on Facebook are going to work for you either. The only way that works is getting out on the street and letting people know face to face you are available and then building personal relationships with those who have jobs available so you can walk the talk.
Again, unfortunately, there are now millions of people doing just this and it is forcing the hiring managers and business executives to start to be very picky where they network or make an appearances publicly. Most tell me the situation is getting so bad that as soon as their company announces an opening of a job they are reluctant to step out into the public due to them getting covered up with people trying to build a personal relationship with them just to get to the jobs that are opened. Many executives are now hiring people to walk with them as a deflection of people attempting to corner them to give them the elevator speech they paid someone hundreds of dollars to tech them to say.
So what these executive using to screen thru those who are real and those who are just gold digging?
I am asked frequently..like nearly everyday..where and how do I get the information I blog about and do I gain access to executives of companies? It comes from the place where I do most of my job searching..on the golf course. Like it or not..so many of you prefer Not..business golf is one of the most productive ways to find a job, or information on where the jobs are located. Playing business golf with business people also allows you to obtain information you will not get from someone on Facebook or at a chamber of commerce gathering.
The facts are clear, 8 out of 10 people who play golf are decision makes in business. This means there are over 19 million business people out playing golf on a regular bases. However, getting around to playing golf with the business people who are hiring comes from being visible in the arena they network for business opportunities…i.e. networking groups, conferences and professional trade associations. Using basic social skill, online and offline, work to find those businesses executives who are hiring. The golf played only comes about after low key chats with them socially. That then usually leads to a professional meeting.
People who play golf usually will open up to other people who play golf. I say usually because golfers can tell from how someone carries themselves..not necessarily how well they play..on the golf course and will not open up to someone who demonstrates bad social manners. If someone has a tendency to be angry all the time on the golf course it is more than likely how they are going to be in business. If they are upbeat and intelligent while playing golf that will shine through any bad golf shot. So, golf is more than a game, it is a test of someone’s moral character that cannot be masked in a role play like many of the other methods of networking offer.
So that is how I gain the trust of the business people I know. How do you go about it?
The Brass Tack
My many visits with business owners and top executives of companies after a round of golf have furnished me with a wealth of knowledge on how things Really are done in business. It also has allowed me to gain the trust of hundreds of these business people.
The methods a business choices to use to hire someone for a position is purely up to them. However, the games the want to play to find the people they hire is purely up to you if you choose to play..or not. The path is pretty clear to me that the best way to the jobs that matter is thru networking to the jobs that will never be filled from the millions of applications forms people fill out. Formalities are formalities when it comes to correct process to follow for hiring someone but when it comes down to who the hiring manager hires it will be who they can trust to do the job not who produces the fanciest resume. Somehow, trust does not come out on a resume or a job application.
Put forth an effort to go to where the hiring manages hang out or can be accessed. Get to know them as a person and not like the someone holding your life in his/her hands. Things will work out for you in the hiring arena if you just get more social.
Let me know how I can help.