Realistic Expectations: Do Your Hiring Managers Have Them?

Have you ever come back from a long meeting to find a new requisition sitting on your desk? For many of you, it is probably a common occurrence. You pick up the requisition and look it over to see what your next challenge will be. To your dismay, it is for one of the most difficult positions to fill, a Java developer with three years of experience. On top of that your company does not provide relocation assistance. You sit there scratching your head wondering, first, how long has Java been around? Then you wonder where you are going to find this person. The answer may be with the hiring manager who has this opening. The first step in tackling a difficult order like the one I described is to do a little research. Do some checking around to see how many candidates you can find in your company’s applicant tracking system that currently meet those qualifications. Then go online and search some of the resume databases that you currently subscribe to and make a note of how many candidates come up that match the job description and are in your city. If you have advanced Internet training go on a search engine or two and see what kind of results you come up with. Don’t spend hours doing this, take about 30 minutes just to get a feel of what you are up against. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*> Once you have collected this data, take a good look at it and determine how realistic it is going to be to find this type of candidate with the current resources you have at your disposal. It is then time to set up a meeting with the hiring manager to discuss the job requirements and share some of your findings with him or her. This is the first step in making the hiring manager to be more realistic and to set correct expectations. In your meeting with the hiring manager, find out exactly what this person will be doing in their job. This will further help you understand why a candidate must possess this exact skill set. Once you have gathered this information from the hiring manager, let him in on your findings. There is nothing better than cold hard facts to help you with your case. Position your pitch much like a good salesperson and say something like, “I know you want someone with three years of Java, but what if I am find someone who has one year of Java and has three years of C++ experience, would you want to talk to that person?” This is a tough question to ask, but if you have done your homework and presented your research findings properly to the hiring manager, they will hopefully have seen the light, and may be more realistic about the constraints that you have to work with. The three-year Java person may be the ideal candidate, and just because you have opened up the manager’s specs, it doesn’t mean that you are not going to look for that ideal person. On the other hand if the hiring manager can’t or won’t budge on their original specs, then it is time to set realistic expectations. So many times recruiters will listen to the hiring manager and say “OK, I’ll see what I can do.” This the wrong answer! Let them know that you are going to work hard for them on this position but you may only find a handful of candidates that match the specs. It is then very important to get the hiring managers commitment that they will make interviews for this position a top priority, because they will only have a limited opportunity to land the ideal candidate. As you can see, setting proper expectations can greatly increase your managers satisfaction. If you do your homework, analyze the data, and listen to the hiring manager you should be able to either open up the job specs or set realistic expectations. This will in turn make all parties involved satisfied with the end result.

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Scott Hagen ( is a graduate of San Diego State University, with over 8 years of high tech corporate recruiting experience with industry leaders such as Qualcomm, Cymer, and Pyxis. Scott is also a co-designer of the Recruiters-Aid PERS (Proprietary E-Recruitment System). Recruiters-Aid provides Internet candidate sourcing and screening services, and guarantees results-or the clients do not pay. Recruiters-Aid manages one of the largest free recruiting resource sites ( online. Recruiters-Aid services were created specifically for recruiters who don't have time to source the Internet themselves.


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