hiring manager satisfaction

Hiring Manager Satisfaction: The Canary in the Coal Mine


Back before the advent of modern technology, 1987, British coal miners were still bringing caged Canaries with them into the tunnels to warn of any deadly gasses released during excavation. Canaries, being tiny birds, were hit more strongly by these gasses and would act as an early warning system by dropping to the floor of their cage.

Hopefully your hiring managers aren’t in cages or near any mineshafts. Hopefully they are very satisfied and engaged with their job and hiring manager satisfaction is very high, which is making great hires for your company. On the other hand, if a hiring manager isn’t satisfied with his/her job because they are working with ineffective tools, then they are much like the canaries in those coal mines. They’re warning you that conditions aren’t safe for making a good hire.

Disengaged, frustrated hiring managers don’t make good hires. Neither do hiring managers who can’t make competitive offers on top candidates. If you want the best candidates on the market, you need hiring managers who are willing to go the extra mile for the candidate experience and who are equipped with the right tools for the job.

A Canary in the Coal Mine

In a perfect world, hiring managers would be able to source, screen and hire great candidates without having to involve the army of reporting/superior employees who are usually required to sign off on every step taken. But we live on planet Earth, where the budget is the budget, where everyone wants something slightly different from the hire, and where hiring managers have about as much leverage as a butt in a kicking contest.

Hiring managers are caught between the demands of the role, the demands of future superiors to this role and the realities of the job market, which is a tight spot to be in. The more people interested in the success of the hire, the longer it takes to make sure that everyone gets to pitch their two cents. The longer it takes to qualify/interview candidates and get everyone’s opinion, the less likely you are to make a high quality hire.

A recent study has shown that the best candidates are hired within their first 10 days of job seeking, and if you want to hire “the best candidates,” before your competitors, your hiring managers need to be acting in total harmony with all interested parties. They also need the resources to give top candidates a competitive offer and the support they need in order to work on this accelerated timeline.

Meeting this 10 day deadline, however, is impossible if conditions aren’t right for making a great hire.

To ensure that your hiring managers are able to meet the demands of today’s job market, you need to gauge hiring manager satisfaction and watch them for signs that conditions aren’t right to make a good hire. If conditions aren’t right, then no amount of money thrown or interviews held will help to hire top talent.

Listen to your hiring managers and watch them for signs of distress. Like a canary in a coal mine, they are your early warning system that the way you’re hiring isn’t going to work. When they keep coming up short, despite their best efforts, it can be a sign that critical components are failing in your hiring process.

By keeping an eye on hiring manager satisfaction and watching them work with what they’re given, you can use this data to determine why conditions aren’t right for hiring at your company.

  • A Bad Plan
  • A Bad Position
  • A Bad Process
  • A Bad Manager

A Bad Plan

Like we said, in order for great hires to be made on an accelerated time line, then all parties connected to the vacant position need to get on the same page. Everyone (hiring managers, recruiters, reporting employees/superiors, management, etc.) needs to be on the page that says, Here are the requirements for the position. Let’s make a great hire based on these requirements, as quickly as possible.”

If your people are all on their own page and following their own version of the plan, then you’re going to run into problems. When your hiring managers aren’t on the same page as everyone else, the candidates that they source are much less likely to fit the bill. When other parties connected to the position aren’t on the right page, then the great candidates being sourced by hiring managers aren’t going to be recognized as such.

Anyone who has any kind of say on who gets hired needs to have a working knowledge of the job being hired for. Anything else is bad planning.

A Bad Position

If the plan is right, but the position is undesirable or unheard of, then your hiring manager satisfaction is probably quite low.

So far, in the first half of 2016, 63% of job openings have been for newly created positions, a 10% increase from the end of last year. With the majority of employers hiring for newly created positions, it is essential that these new positions are marketed and screened for effectively.

If no one at your company has ever hired for this position before, you should track the progress of your hiring managers very closely. If they are unable to source a good quantity of high quality candidates, it may be because there is something wrong with the position itself. Maybe it’s the salary. Maybe it’s outdated skill requirements on the job description. Maybe it’s that “creative job title” that you’re using.

Basically, if the position your hiring managers are hiring for doesn’t look like it’s supposed to, then no amount of hard work on their end will make up for this. If your hiring managers are trying to fill a bad position, then you need to go back to square one.

  • What is this job supposed to accomplish/look like?
  • What is the high/low range of salaries for this position?
  • What about this job looks bad or out of place?

If you don’t take the time to evaluate and re-design the bad position you’re trying to fill, then you will have your hiring managers spinning in circles and hiring manager satisfaction will be in the tank. Watch your hiring managers for signs that candidates are clueless as to what you are selling in your job ad, especially with newly created positions.

 A Bad Process

If you have a plan based on the requirements of the position, and you’re sure that you’re marketing a job opportunity that doesn’t look suspect, the next hiring hurtle to watch for is a bad process.

The interview process has always been time consuming, but with the rise of the open plan office and looser organizational hierarchies, more and more people are being plopped into the interview chair. Along with the hiring manager, you have other managers, co-workers, recruiters and even CEOs conducting interviews with candidates. While this hiring process ensures that everyone “likes” the candidates who move forward, it also ensures that it takes far longer to make a hire.

If making a hire feels like a “process” for your interviewers, then you can bet your applicants are even more frustrated by the hoops they need to jump through. Unlike your interviewers, your candidates aren’t being paid to show up and they will drop out of a bad application process whenever they get tired of it.

If your hiring managers are working within the confines of a bad process, they will be unable to secure the talent that you want. If top candidates are annoyed with applying or feel disrespected by any interaction that they have with your hoard of interviewers, they will take themselves out of consideration.

The time has come to pick up the pace and streamline your application process. The best candidates are hired within 10 days, so your company needs to get used to hiring about twice as quickly as you’re used to. No matter how great your hiring managers are, top talent will always drop out of an application process that takes too long or is just a bad experience.

A Bad Manager

Hiring managers are your canaries in the coal mine, warning you when the conditions of your application process are unfit for making a good hire. That being said, your hiring managers can also show you that they are actually the problem with your hiring.

In order to reach this conclusion, however, you need to be sure that the manager in question isn’t being held back by environmental or procedural factors in their work. Start by making sure that their hiring plan of action is based on the requirements of the role, and that they are on the same page as their co-interviewers. Once you’re sure the plan is right, evaluate the position itself for an out-of-place job title, outdated skill requirements, or a salary that is below market value. If the plan and the position are right, then evaluate the hiring process to make sure that it is on an accelerated time line and to make sure that it doesn’t make applicants feel disrespected.

If you find that everything is set up to perfection, but hiring manager satisfaction is still low, then they could be the problem with your hiring. Your hiring managers are the people who your candidates interact with the most, making their satisfaction levels highly relevant to the satisfaction levels of your candidates. If hiring manager satisfaction is low, for whatever reason, it means that your candidates aren’t getting a great application experience. They may not be getting a terrible application experience, but they will be able to tell that something is wrong.

When a candidate interviews at a company, and encounters this sort of attitude, they will quickly look elsewhere. Hiring managers are the gatekeepers to your company, and though it’s an important job, it’s also a hard and thankless job sometimes. It’s a job that isn’t for everyone, and a bad hiring manager will ensure that candidates drop out of your screening process as fast as they apply.

Whether they’re slowing down the interview process or just have a bad attitude, you need to identify your bad managers as quickly as possible. If they remain part of your application process, they will continue to miss-handle top talent, cause candidates to drop out of consideration, and do considerable damage to your employer brand.

Short and Sweet:

Hiring managers are the connection between the candidate and the company, which makes hiring manager satisfaction levels of the utmost importance. When satisfaction starts to slip, it is a sign that you’re about to have some much bigger problems than disgruntled employees. A trend of dissatisfied hiring managers means a trend of bad hiring is either taking place or is on the way. Whether they aren’t satisfied with the hires they’re making or aren’t satisfied with the resources they’re being given, low hiring manager satisfaction means that something is going wrong, and you need to figure out what it is and try to fix it.


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