Recently I made a placement for a company I’d never worked with before. The hiring manager interviewed close to 20 candidates before being ‘wowed’ by the finalist, and everything went smoothly from there to get him on board. Another recruiting slam-dunk, right? A month later, I’m not so sure. I spoke with the manager this week and it seems that the new guy isn’t ramping up as fast as he’d like; I check in with the new guy who says he was sold a great opportunity and got a boss who wants to micromanage every detail. After so many interviews I know we aren’t going to find anyone better than the guy who was hired; how do I save this placement and help them both get on with the work at hand?
So I have a question for you, my friend: when exactly did this hire of yours start to fall apart? Was it at the end when everyone was racing to the altar? Or at the very start, when chemistry was mistaken for real interviewing? Or maybe somewhere in the middle, when assumptions took the place of due-diligence? So many possibilities, so little time. My point is that there’s a lesson in here somewhere, and as the person responsible for making the match it’s probably got your name on it.
It’s a rare and exceptional manager or candidate who enters the interview process with complete clarity, which is why they need recruiters to help them through the minefield of hopes and expectations. We are the advisors who help them explore and separate reality from fantasy; it’s why we debrief everyone after every meeting, and continue to poke and prod and test for the truth until the very last moment when the deal is done and the newbie is sitting in the seat.
It’s time for an in depth chat with your Hiring Manager and New Hire. Review with the manager his original list of Most Important Factors in the selection of a finalist, and identify where his expectations differ from what he thinks he got. In a separate conversation with the new hire, review his list of Most Important Factors for the “perfect” job; where do his expectations differ from reality?
Now compare notes; are the differences reconcilable? Is it a matter of miscommunication, or management style that can be adjusted through awareness? Both parties have made expensive decisions that led to this point; your job is to identify the gap between expectations and reality, and help them understand the pros and cons of other options. For the manager, this means addressing the business cost of re-opening a position; for the new hire, it means the probability that his old job isn’t an option any longer, and it may be a while again before he lands another new one.
I’m guessing that somewhere hidden in that list of expectations you’ll find discussion points that should have been addressed during the interviews; make a note so you can manage this better next time -- but barring any real deal-breakers, I think you stand a good chance of keeping the deal intact.
In my day job, I’m the Head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage quality in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here
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