After two months of running around metropolitan DC in my beloved gas-guzzling Chevy Suburban, I decided it was time for a change. With my miles-per-gallon topping 17 on a good day – a drive to Gainesville and back, I wanted one thing – relief at the pump. I was determined to settle for nothing less than 28 miles to the gallon, which was double what I was getting on basic stop-and-go days.  Sounds pretty easy, right? Technically, it was, but that’s where this post begins.

I performed a simple Google search on MPG and came up with a great list of brands and cars. Almost every manufacturer had a model with the MPG I was looking for, but if I really wanted to make fewer trips to the Del Ray Service Center, why not a hybrid? I then looked at the top 10 hybrids and was pretty skittish about the size of the vehicles. Could I really downsize from one of the biggest sport utility vehicles to a coupe to attain the maximum in MPG? I decided a coupe was impractical with teenagers and dogs so the search narrowed to bigger hybrids – Highlander, Prius V, Lexus 450, and the C-Max. Now I was down to 3 manufacturers – Toyota, Lexus, and Ford. Not bad.

A secondary goal then emerged.  What if I could take the $800/month I was spending on gas and use it to cover a payment and fuel? And, wouldn’t it be downright awesome if I had some left over? That would be the equivalent of giving myself a raise!  Hmmm . . . not a bad challenge, I thought. I looked at the prices online and that ruled out the Highlander and Lexus 450. I was now down to the Prius V and the Ford C-Max – two dealers, two cars.

At this point, I decided to engage the services of two professional critics – my husband Lonnie and my daughter Mattie. Before we hit the road for appointments with the two dealers, I briefed them on my priorities for the search. “Mom, those cars look like bugs. I CAN’T let you buy a car that looks like a bug,” Mattie stated emphatically. Lonnie was slightly more democratic phrasing his “demand” as a question, “Are you really sure you can’t live without a BIG car?” This made me laugh out loud as no one would ever describe either vehicle as a big car. Ok, Team New Car, I get your points. With that we set out for an afternoon of test drives that would ultimately result in a new car purchase.

You’re probably wondering what car buying has to do with TalentFront? This process reminded me of the determination the hiring manager has to have to ensure they get what they want in a new hire and the role others play in the process. How do you get the perfect candidate amidst all of the chatter and distractions that contribute to the effort?

Good question! The answer lies in the balance. I’ll explain what I mean in four simple guidelines.

  1. Do your homework ahead of time. I know hiring managers do not have a lot of time, but whatever effort you can put into researching your needs and putting together a realistic job description will pay dividends. Cruise the web and look at other postings. Search the job titles you are considering on LinkedIn. Read the profiles – do these people have the backgrounds you are seeking? You might come up with some possible candidates while you are at it.
  2. Perfect candidates are rare. Your job posting is a description of the ideal worker – someone who has the right doses of skills in the exact right order. It is highly unlikely, but not impossible, that this individual can be found and if he/she can be found that they have compensation or location requirements that match your needs. I am sorry about that, but that is reality. Good news though — there are probably several who come close. Be prepared to compromise . . . or steel yourself for the long wait for Ms. or Mr. Right.
  3. Know what is important to you. Like my search for a new car, there will be a lot of distractions that will cause you confusion. That’s the way a search goes. Engaging others in the process is critical, however, colleagues bring biases that you don’t share. If you are clear on what you need from this hire, it will help you to sort the feedback responsibly and provide clear reasons for your decisions to others who have a different point of view.
  4. Make a decision. At the end of the recruiting process, you need to decide thumbs up or down on a candidate. Do not drift into hiring someone – it is not fair to your organization and it seriously handicaps your candidate. Every new hire needs the full, unconditional support of his/her manager to succeed. There may be other detractors, but if you as the hiring manager are sold, you and your new employee will be able to overcome that negativity together. Without you, his/her success is not assured. Yes, there are stories of new hires going on to prove the hiring manager right, but those are fairy tales. Sink or swim is not a good hiring mentality. If you’re not ready to vote yay or nay on the candidate, start over. Please!

After this big wind-up, you’re probably wondering, which car I bought. I weighed MPG, vehicle size and cost selecting the Ford C-Max over the Prius V. Yes, it is the bigger of the two vehicles, has about the same MPG, and was substantially cheaper than the Prius V. It met all of my objectives, but much bigger than what Lonnie “thought” I needed and yes, it does look like a bug. Sorry, trusted advisors, but  heads I win, tails you lose.

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