By now the selection team has met with all the applicants and graded their interviews. Next we meet to arrive at a consensus.
It’s usually not too difficult to shortlist to three people by tallying the scores from the interviews and getting last minute feedback. Use the keywords provided in their interview to ensure you keep them straight.
In the first part of this series, we alluded to all members of the selection team having veto power. How powerful is the veto? In one large company I worked with, our rookie buyer (who had an impressive ability to read people) represented our team and participated in the Purchasing Manager hiring selection. Four groups represented four different facilities. The lead candidate, a graduate of Harvard, was sponsored by the VP of Manufacturing. After the first round of interviews, the groups met and our rookie buyer stated the Harvard man was not a good fit. She stood her ground and the role was later awarded to an internal candidate. Although we didn’t make an ally of the VP we made the right decision.
If you find the group’s choice is not your own, you need to make a decision:
- Ignore their choice which means you’ve wasted their time and undermined any future group decision making opportunities.
- Try to convince them they are wrong until you wear them down.
- Treat it as a learning opportunity for the team, voice your concerns but abide by their decision. Worse case, you were right and the whole process will be repeated shortly. Best case, the team was right and their confidence grows.
Make the Reference Call
Now is the time to follow up on the references. This can be tricky as legal restrictions are placed on what can be communicated. But most likely you will elicit empathy from their own experiences with the applicant. Most importantly listen to how and what is not being said.
For example: I asked if one candidate could show up for work every day. “Which day?” was his previous employers response.
“Mondays…” I inquired suspiciously and the response was to tell me how well the Toronto Maple Leafs were playing this year. Which, if you know anything about the Maple Leafs in any given year, makes little sense. Answer received.
It’s also important to understand how the reference provider knows the applicant. For one role I spoke with an older gentleman who answered my questions with glowing terms.
My last question for him: “By chance, are you related to Tom?”
After a long pause he responded: “Not really”.
Not really? I followed up to find out Tom was his grandson.
Make the Hiring Call
It’s time to go back to the group and reaffirm the choices and rankings. Assuming a consensus can be reached and no follow up interviews are required, you should be ready to make an offer. Calmly call the top ranked person, confirm they are still available for work, their salary expectations and expected start date before offering them the role. The rankings matter as I have had a vacant managerial position where the first candidate had already accepted another offer. The second had a job offer we couldn’t match. We hired the third choice but made no mention of his placing. He did great and was still with the firm long after I left.
Finally, you need to contact each person who came in to interview. It is best to understand why they didn’t receive the job and if requested, offer them honest feedback on what happened. It may be a case of experience or something which went off the tracks during the interview, but let them know.
If a satisfactory hire cannot be made and a second round is required, take the opportunity to re-evaluate where the process went wrong. Did the job ad accurately reflect the role? Is the job description correct? Are the education and experience requirements “need to have” or “nice to have?” Does the team have the right expectations? Did the process take too long? Find out, correct it, and begin again.
Review the Process
With any luck at all, your team will soon introduce a new employee to their new role. More work will soon follow with probation reviews and follow-ups to ensure everyone is happy. While the experience is still fresh review the whole process and determine what needs to change for the next hire. Then take a moment to bask in the knowledge the best person available has been chosen and they have the support of the team. A team which has grown stronger through their engagement in the hiring process.
This completes our series on the hiring process. We at Omni Circuit Boards hope you have enjoyed them and have been able to extract at least one idea which will help with future hires.