Dear Friends,


What can be some of the steps to handle a project/hiring manager with high and unrealistic expectations. I have experienced through n number of meetings that i had with my hiring managers that they need a resource with a combination of 3-4 technology as a replacement for a resource with single technology.

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Hi Sunil:

My first thought when reading your question was, "Resource?  He doesn't even think of them as people."  Here's a newsflash:  They are not "resources."  Resources are things that you use to achieve a goal.  Coal, iron ore and the like are resources. Engineers, contractors, project managers etc., are not resources.  They are people that you work with to achieve a common goal.  So, first you should shift your paradigm and think of your candidates as people instead of resources.  Once you see them as human beings instead of minerals, you'll be able to make your case.

What you're describing is an all too familiar problem in any industry.  Managers are under pressure to cut budgets so they start thinking of ways to gt more from the people they have or can hire.  A Hiring Manager (HM) needs a network engineer who is also a wireless engineer who is also a web content manager because he has a project to get done and no resources to do it.  So, what is he supposed to do?  He tasks you with getting the magic bullet engineer.  Here is what has sometimes worked for me in the past.

I normally frustrate the HM a little by making him slow down and quantify everything he is looking for by writing a job description with me.  There is also an end customer of some sort and that is the person who also needs to see and agree to the job description.  This is how you get everyone on the same page and, at the same time reign in an overoptimistic HM.  They'll whine and complain about having to work on a job description instead of having you hunt for people but, until you have a real target to shoot at, you're never going to satisfy the requirement.

Once you have buy in from the HM and end customer, run a check on salary for that position.  The HM needs to know how much people with the desired skill set are compensated.  This is how you break the "I want the whole world for a dime," mentality that most HM's are equipped with.  (Budgets are a nice tool but they must be realistic to be useful.)  This is also a good time to show how much one person with each of the required skill sets would normally cost and see how much the HM is trying to save.

If you've laid out your case correctly, by showing some empathy with the HM's problem while laying out the associated costs, you should be able to give a "reality check" to the HM and increase your chances of success.  Sometimes they blow you off and insist on the, silver bullet engineer but, you've given yourself a fallback position and you can prove that the requirement as it stands is unrealistic.

This approach may not work for you but, it's worth a try.

Hi Mark,

Really appreciate your time in replying to this post.

Yes i do agree on the points that you have laid out here. But the problem is with the HM as well. He has to deliver the project within the specific cost and to do so he need multiskilled resource which became a problem for us.

Whenever we start discussing the non availability of such skilled resource he come up with the point that he has such resource in his project (Whom we hired as a single skilled resources and over the time they got hold of other technologies). He start asking for the same skilled resource and since the timelines are stiff, no room for training. Very tricky situation for us as we need to close the position as well.

They do seem to enjoy backing us into a corner.  Sometimes it seems that reality is on one end of the spectrum and the HM is on the other. 

So, I suppose that I would spend a little time each day on the requirement to show some activity and then, devote the rest of my energies to something productive where I could generate some revenue. 

I hope you find a way. 

Yes. It is the only way.

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