Talent management is a team effort: Reimagining the role of the hiring manager

Talent management is a team effort: Reimagining the role of the hiring manager

Hiring managers can’t do it all, no matter how hard they try. Over the past two years, the role of the hiring manager has shifted drastically. This is partly due to the global pandemic and the ebb and flow of talent acquisition and retention amid the Great Resignation.

Phil Nott

Phil Nott—Senior Director, Head of Financial Services EMEA

As organisations struggle to attract new talent in a demanding candidate market, much of the burden has fallen on hiring managers to assess, interview, and hire quickly. In a rush to hire, it’s easy for managers to make poor decisions to the detriment of the candidate and the organisational bottom line.

It’s estimated that the cost of a bad hire is three times higher than the salary paid. Research also suggests that 68% of hiring managers are overwhelmed, but only 14% of companies have taken steps to alleviate managers’ burdens.

Managers don’t have the time or recruiting expertise to make hiring decisions independently. Companies benefit significantly from leveraging the right talent acquisition partners to outsource these responsibilities. These experts can help teams quickly fill requisitions, close skill gaps and hire culturally aligned talent in the right location at the right price. Studies show that expertise from recruitment and hiring partner firms could increase UK productivity by £7.7 billion if they effectively put the people into the right jobs.

Too much control without consultation

Managers with full authority to hire new talent is an outdated strategy. Many people tasked with hiring have blind spots and personal biases that affect their compacity to bring in talent objectively. Hiring new talent is an additional task, a necessary distraction while overseeing day-to-day operations and supporting teams. Do hiring managers have the necessary tools and capacity to be recruiting experts? Giving them complete control over the hiring strategy invites the opportunity for bias in a process that demands in-depth third-party research and consultation.

Taking some decision-making away from hiring managers could be a good thing. They should not be deciding the terms of who and how they hire. Managers only know the skill gap and positions they must fill for a defined period. Filling roles by job title only widens the skills gap, as companies fill requisitions based on obsolete skill sets and job requirements! This needs to be replaced with a focus on hiring on outcomes and what makes the most sense for the future of the role, team, and your organisation.

Without qualified consultation, readily available data and clear direction, managers face a variety of challenges, including:

  • Over-reliance on stale job descriptions
  • Interviewing based only on technical skills and personal biases
  • Increased time to hire – interviewing too many candidates, not shortlisting and afraid of saying “yes” to a candidate
  • Increased time to hire with increased drop-out rate (given the demand for talent)
  • Overvalue first impressions – hiring based on gut and not the best overall candidate

Are you backfilling or right-filling?

Past performance may not be indicative of future results when it comes to hiring qualified talent.

For example, say your hiring manager has an employee vacate their position. Now, there’s a skill gap to fill. The requisition is drafted, and your manager is responsible for filling the role. There is limited time to conduct the necessary reevaluation of the role and skills required to fill it. How has the position changed over time? Have all skills, locations, candidate availability, and compensation been qualified? Have all sources and recruitment channels been exhausted to find the best possible skills available?

Failure to define the ideal skillset contributes to recruiting challenges and employee turnover. Conversations with subject matter experts need to happen before making any hiring decisions. These individuals can help evaluate the skills you need, hiring timelines, candidate availability and appropriate pay grades. Hiring managers don’t have access to critical analytic tools required to see the big picture and gain insights based on market data.

Hiring decisions must be based on insight which results in right-filling instead of backfilling. The talent partner’s job is to advise and consult with the hiring manager. By doing so, we can better understand business needs and provide informed, actionable, data-driven guidance to make smart hiring decisions.

Planning today to take on tomorrow

Finding the right talent takes planning, with skill shortages worse than ever in this candidate market.

Much more thought needs to go into the hiring of your workforce. Organisations must consider the candidate and hiring manager’s experience. This process goes beyond looking to fill a role with the resource that meets the job description criteria the best. As the market and functions constantly evolve, so should your strategic approach.

This is not to suggest that all authority be taken away from managers. There are still valuable acumens into skill capabilities and cultural fit that should stay with hiring managers. That said, everything else should be up for consultation and advisory support.

With analytics, advisory, demand planning, and process analysis, Pontoon recommends and builds customised hiring solutions based on market demand. We help identify the most appropriate talent channels, shortlist qualified candidates and find the right skill mix and best marketing routes that deliver on your desired business outcomes. For example, say you’re about to backfill a requisition for a full-time Data Analyst. However, our market insights indicate an inability to source FTEs for that skillset in the desired location. Thus, the immediacy of hire could result in a contingent hire (need was short, the location was the same, etc.). This level of advisory support is a game-changer.

We need to redefine the role of the hiring manager to take the burden of misguided hiring off their plate and into the hands of experts like Pontoon.

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