We all have that memory of working with a particular hiring manager, you know, the one which seems impossible to satisfy; the one who no matter how great the candidate is that you present, always wants to see more or the one who nitpicks at the littlest things on every resume you send over. When I first started getting into higher level sourcing, I was given a role that had been open for over six months, and they were desperate to get it filled. “This hiring manager is impossible to work with,” the recruiter said. “He only talks to people from specific companies and has no desire to look at anyone else. He also highly favors someone with an MBA.”
The region that we were recruiting in was small, and relocation was not an option. After looking at the candidate pool to see who had applied, sourced and been rejected, I knew this was not going to be an easy task. Although I had been told he only wanted to talk to candidates from specific companies, at this point the majority had been reached out to or rejected so I had to look at other options.
I began pulling different pieces of data and articles to find new places to source from. I wanted as much ammunition as possible for our next meeting with the hiring manager and was determined to present three to five qualified candidates for the role. Our meeting was two weeks from the day I took over the position, so I knew I had to act fast.
I put together a presentation of relevant information that I wanted the manager to see and broke it down into three different pieces:
External data: I pulled information on the number of similar jobs posted versus the number of candidates who were in the region for the role. I looked at the top business schools in the area to find new candidates who attended these colleges. I also found four companies who had been featured in news articles within the past year for their work related to what this person would be doing for our company. I then went and found the people at these companies doing the work, and reached out to them to see if they would be open to talking. They weren’t from the targeted companies the manager wanted, but they had solid backgrounds and were obviously doing good work, so that had to count for something, right?
Internal Hiring Data: I pulled an internal report to see where everyone who had been hired in the marketing department within the last two years came from and was pleasantly surprised to see that less than 20% had come from one of the targeted companies. I looked at each employee’s background and made a graph to show the percentage of our hires that had industry experience and the percentage of hires that had an MBA (less than 35%).
Candidate Profiles: I listed out each person I had spoken to with a link to their resume/profile and three to four detailed bullets on why I thought they warranted an interview. I focused on the accomplishments that the candidates had, as well as the hot buttons that the manager had mentioned during our initial meeting. I was excited about the candidates I had found, and was determined to make him excited about them too.
After long days of gathering data and doing prescreens, I had five informative slides and three solid candidates to share with the hiring manager. I walked out of that meeting with a giant smile on my face and blocks of time to schedule three phone screens. 95% of the information I shared with the manager was new, and the bullets I had written out on my candidates paired with the excitement in my voice when talking about them were enough to warrant a phone screen for each. He ended up bringing two onsite and making an offer to one, and the candidate was working at a company that the manager was known for always having a strong no!
I’ve learned over the years that presenting my candidates via video or phone gets me a lot farther than just sending over their resume and hoping that the manager sees something that impresses them. Let’s face it; we are all salespeople in some way aren’t we? Presenting a candidate by sending over a resume is like handing someone a pamphlet for a product and assuming they will want to buy it from the piece of paper alone. By getting the manager on the phone (video is even better), this allows you to share relevant information beyond what the resume says and give you the chance to clarify any concerns the manager might have just by looking at the profile of their own.
Depending on the level of role, I now always try to present some information and data to the hiring manager to make them more familiar with the market in case any challenges arise while I am sourcing for it. Not only does this help you source in the long run, but it’s also an excellent way to show the manager you know what you are doing and helps build trust in the relationship.