The LandaJob Blog:
Expert Perspectives and Industry Trends

Manager Missteps, From Beginning to End

While the work world is full of truly great managers and mentors, we’ve been reminded lately of mistakes that some managers make that cost their employers a ton of money and grief.

As hiring has increased significantly over the past several months and especially in hiring for marketing jobs, we’re seeing things turn very quickly into a “candidate’s market.” That means that good candidates have choices, and for the first time in several years, great candidates are receiving multiple offers. For those hiring managers who have been indulging in overly-long interview processes, they’re starting to lose candidates to competitors who concluded their process and made an offer more quickly. We’ve been surprised to see this happen twice in just the past two weeks.

Holy dueling job offers, Batman! What can be done? We think it’s time for many employers to take a critical look at their hiring process to see where there may be redundancies or extra steps that are unnecessary. (Here’s another LandaJob post on hiring process.) During the several years of the recession when candidates were plentiful and jobs were few, we all suffered through interview processes of thirty days and longer because it was what everyone was doing. But now the labor market is shortening those processes as desirable employees become harder to find and more heavily courted.

We also are seeing a lot of confirmation of the common wisdom that people take a job because of the opportunity, team, or company, and they generally leave because of a bad manager. Since the middle of last year, the numbers have made clear that people once again have the confidence to change jobs, and research shows that 75% of those people do so because of their bosses. Lack of communication, lack of empathy, lack of leadership and vision, and lack of empowerment are among the most common qualities cited. Whatever the combination of poor management behaviors, bad managers make it much harder for the company to hang onto good people, and they make it much easier for those people to be recruited away to another job.

We know it’s hard to be a good manager of people and processes, and it’s too bad that more people aren’t trained in these skills. Becoming more mindful of being a good manager can start all they way back in the interviewing process for new team members. Training managers to be better interviewers can attract better talent as well as keep development and process goals in mind as employees progress. Nick Corcodilos of Ask the Headhunter suggests that hiring managers interview themselves before interviewing candidates. Some suggested questions include:

  1. A year from now, how do you want your department to be different as a result of filling this job?
  2. What’s the one thing you wish you could quickly figure out about every candidate in an interview?
  3. At what point in your search for the perfect candidate will it start to cost you more to keep interviewing than to hire and train a talented person in the necessary skills?

It seems to us that better management training can help to solve both the problem of bloated interview processes and the retention of top talent in an increasingly competitive job market.

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