Let’s Get Serious About Hiring Manager Experience

Candidate Experience is in the limelight as a key focus for Talent Acquisition functions. Whilst CX is significant, TQ shines a light on the importance of Hiring Manager Experience; a way to increase the function's credibility and business impact.

The Consulting team at TQSolutions have been incredibly active in 2021 helping businesses, large and small, rethink their Talent function’s service and operating models. For several projects we have been running virtual design labs to help define the aspirational services we are seeking to introduce.

Crucial to this process is identifying key customer needs, noting the customers are both the candidate AND the Hiring Manager. These projects have caused me to reflect on what appears to be our industry’s obsession with Candidate Experience without the same level of enthusiasm for our other, and some would argue, more important customer group, the humble Hiring Manager.

Is this because it’s ‘easier’ to impact candidate experience through technology and process? Or is it because candidate experience is more within the span of control of Talent Acquisition and something traditionally it is more comfortable dealing with?

We are frequently hearing ‘candidates = customers’, especially for B2C organisations, so TA has done what it can to protect the corporate brand and revenues. However, I think TA has other challenges too, and it should work to protect its own brand in the eyes of  those that ultimately pay for their services, the Hiring Managers.

If the Talent function’s job is to design and execute fabulous experiences for its customers, then we must equally focus our energy on the needs and experiences of Hiring Managers.  Afterall, they are the ones with the budget and can often choose how to spend this money, either on internally procured services or via third party agency and vendors.

We have long seen agencies engaged for roles or activities that an internal Talent function should be able to manage with their eyes closed. This reflects Hiring Manager choice, maybe due to a lack of trust in the Talent function’s capability or because of a history of sub-standard service and experience they have endured.

If Talent Acquisition functions want to develop and transform towards more Engagement & Mobility models and be taken seriously by the business and broader HR organisation then an enhanced focus on Hiring Manager and Employee Experience is critical.

At TQSolutions we believe progressive ‘acquisition’ functions will evolve and morph, with a greater focus on Total Talent, Talent Engagement and Internal Mobility, this is the model we call TEaM which we see as the future of our industry. However, to make this move the industry has to get serious about Hiring Manager Experience to build trust and effective relationships.

So today, I want to constructively agitate our industry to reflect where they are spending effort and dollars. If that is skewed too much towards candidate experience, I’d strongly consider diverting some of this to programs and initiatives that focus on delighting the Hiring Managers - I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Where do you start?

Well, as with candidates, it all starts with a needs assessment. When was the last time you asked a wide group of Hiring Managers what they need from HR / Talent Functions?  At TQSolutions we do this extensively as part of our consulting work and the responses are often surprising. For example, these are some common areas of need:

“All I want you to do is get to know the top 50 people globally that can do this job and tell me when they are ready to move.”

“I want you to make this easy for me, all HR seems to do is slow me down.”

“I really need help and advice to make sure I am making the best decisions.”

“I need to know where we are in the process, when I should expect to be interviewing. I need you to keep me informed.”

“I need to be confident that we are hiring the best people in the market, not just those on the market.”

“I need simple systems and processes, especially given I do not hire very often.”

“I need training and support, I am a new hiring leader, I have never done this before.”

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you genuinely know the top needs of your Hiring Leaders?
  • If so, how many of these needs does your current service model meet?
  • What do you require in the Talent function to meet these needs, is it technology? Is it people? Is it data? Is it market intelligence?
  • What are the priority Hiring Manager needs you are going to solve for?

Service Model and Hero Moments

Once you know your top user needs you can begin to think about an aspirational service and experience model. However, we encourage you to not think process, swim lanes and flow charts, but instead think about the users, experience and journey maps.

  • What will the ideal service and experience look AND feel like for Candidates and Hiring Managers?
  • How will the service model solve for the top needs identified?
  • Where will humans be involved and who?
  • Where will the technology be deployed and what is it?

Your experience-based journey map will be your blueprint for service design and will identify where you need people and technology enablement.

We also encourage you to focus on critical moments that matter, or those that are identified as adding significant value to the users. TQSolutions calls these ‘Hero Moments’. (Think Amazon’s Bar Raisers in the interview process or Enboarder’s 3pm munchie on day 1 for new hires).

Hero Moments could be the first touchpoint a candidate has with your brand, it could be the Hiring Manager briefing discussion, it could be the interview experience, or it could be the pre-boarding experience.

Once identified, these are the areas to invest time, money and effort into fixing or transforming. These moments will be your priority and hopefully the backbone of your future nomination to various awards including the Internal Talent Awards 😊

One thing is certain though, your Hero Moments are unlikely to only be focused on candidate experience. Many should and will support your wonderful Hiring Leaders whereas others will no doubt touch and benefit colleagues in the broader HR and leadership teams.

So let’s hear it for the Hiring Managers and the experiences we will design for them. Let’s shine the light on the great work our teams and organisations are doing to support its people leaders, let’s share content about how we are transforming services and delighting these crucial stakeholders too.  Let’s recognise team members for building trust or for introducing services/experiences that meet the top needs of our Hiring Leaders.

In Summary

Without Hiring Leader support we do not have business support and the Talent Function will continue to operate with a handbrake on, lacking much needed resource and investment.

With Hiring Leader support and advocacy we will gain business support and the Talent Function will see the handbrake removed and the ability to transform and grow become a reality.

Find out more from one of our TQ people today.