Article

Confessions of a Hiring Manager-Turned-Job Candidate

Just the other day, I had coffee with a friend of mine who’s in the midst of a job search. He’s been in software sales for as long as I can remember, and was let go during a company re-org late last fall. Because Mike’s served as a hiring manager for many years, I couldn’t resist quizzing him on his recent experiences as a job candidate. And, knowing he’s an observant and witty individual, I expected juicy stuff. What I heard were some smart insights any talent acquisition team might be interested to learn:

  1. Authenticity is a two-way street.  Mike’s been a sales professional for nearly 20 years now, so he’s a corporate veteran with a clear idea of the role and culture he’s looking for.  He’s found it harder than expected to be authentic in the hiring process. It’s not to say he’s being less than truthful, but rather, feeling the pressure of knowing what the interviewers want to hear.  And, just as he’s trying to be as genuine as possible, he’s also evaluating the authenticity of what he is hearing. As Mike commented, “Authenticity about the culture and style of the hiring manager are really important in the interview, because if I know I’m finding a good fit, I can do whatever the company needs me to do. Finding out your potential new boss has a toxic personality – that’s a deal breaker.”

Job candidates and hiring managers are both looking for authenticity during interviews.

  1. Candidates are job-shopping on YouTube. I know many TA teams watch their LinkedIn and Twitter accounts like a hawk, but do they know candidates are getting a preview of their hiring managers on YouTube?  Mike said he often searches for video clips of his interviewers prior to meeting them to gain insight and be as prepared as possible for that face-to-face meeting. So, it may pay to check this social media channel to see what comes up on your hiring decision-makers in addition to the content you’ve uploaded yourself.  Incidentally, this insight also aligns with a practice many of our Modern Hire clients use:  Adding welcome videos and videos of the hiring manager describing the job responsibilities in on-demand video interviews. It’s one way to provide the kind of information candidates need for their own job decision-making process.

Candidates review YouTube videos of their interviewers in advance to gain insight.

  1. Days feel like weeks to job candidates. Mike’s been job hunting for about eight weeks now and he’s currently talking with three companies about professional roles he would surely accept. When I said I was impressed by his speed, he countered with, “I had no idea it would take this long.”  This from a veteran manager who routinely made hires as part of his job! To me it really brings home how different it is to be a candidate versus a hiring manager. It’s also an opportunity: Hiring teams can improve their candidate experience by increasing speed to hire. Video and voice interviewing can help them accomplish faster hiring while maintaining or improving quality of hire.
  2. Candidates can get lost in the Sea of Information. In evaluating his own job search process, Mike knows he is spending lots of time researching companies.  On one hand, it’s empowering because he feels he’s then as prepared as possible when going into a live interview. But, it’s also frustrating because there is so much information out there, and not enough time to be that thorough with every potential employer. When I heard this, I immediately thought, “It’s the same issue recruiters have with high volume hiring, but in reverse - too many job opportunities make it hard to efficiently identify the best ones.” This is one of the clearest calls for employer branding I’ve heard in a while. If candidates see and hear a consistent employer brand message in the Sea of Information, that company is bound to set itself apart from similar employment opportunities.

A consistent employer brand message helps companies catch candidates’ attention.

I’m sure Mike will find his right-fit job opportunity soon. When he does, he’ll be a different kind of hiring manager, having walked in the candidate’s shoes. To learn more on this topic, download our article5 Things Candidates Won’t Tell You.