Who makes the final decision in the hiring process?
You would think it was the hiring manager, but does he or she really have the final say?
There is an exact correlation in understanding who is the decision maker in hiring and who makes the decision when negotiating any sort of business transaction.
In Jim Camp’s book, Start with NO…The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don’t Want You to Know, he writes:
WHO’S CALLING THE shots? Who are the real decision makers within the adversary’s bureaucracy? This might seem, at first glance, to be a fairly mundane issue, but it’s not. It is a critically important issue in any negotiation, even though you can read book after book on the subject and never find a single acknowledgment that the question of who’s calling the shots demands immediate attention. How can you create a vision and paint the pain effectively without knowing who the decision makers for the adversary really are? You can’t, so the decision-making process within your adversary’s organization must be discovered and understood at the very beginning of the negotiation, or as soon thereafter as possible.
You need to know—at the beginning of the hiring process—who is calling the shots and who can make the final hiring decision.
Who is calling the shots?
In 2006, I left teaching high school math and decided to try my hand at working for a non-profit. In most small to medium non-profits, the decision maker is often the CEO, Executive Director, or even the Board of Directors. I attended a non-profit conference specifically to target the Executive Director or CEO of five non-profits. I met face to face with all five.
The following week, I was offered an interview for a junior level corporate fundraising position at the local Jewish Community Center (JCC). You have to understand, I am not Jewish, but I had a lot of business connections and I was a JCC member. I was a really odd fit for the position.
I interviewed and was subsequently offered the position. The hiring manager was NOT the decision maker. I had convinced the CEO that I was worth taking a chance on. It was a new endeavor that the organization had not pursued in the past. The CEO was the real decision maker, yet I never interviewed with him.
I lasted a year before I resigned. Being a non-Jew as the face of a Jewish organization is…interesting.
If I had not pursued the CEO who made the hiring decision, I would have never been given the opportunity to interview. By the way, I learned I could not work for a non-profit.
Recruiters and Hiring Decisions
Recruiters and other HR professionals do not make hiring decisions. They can hinder or block you from getting hired, but they do not make the decision to hire you.
Recently, one of my clients was told the following by a recruiter, “The hiring manager, Mary, is not going to like that you cannot start until September. This is a deal breaker.”
My client calmly told the recruiter, “Please relay my requirements to Mary and let me know what she says”
The recruiter was expressing her opinion, but she was not the decision maker. She took the message to the hiring manager. A September start date did not make the hiring manager happy, but she was willing to wait.
If a recruiter acts like the decision maker, you need to tell them to pass your messages directly to the hiring manager. Stay cool, calm and collected in telling them what you want.
Who do you need to impress?
The decision to hire you may be made by a key member or members of the team.
One local Austin company has a consensus-based hiring process. The entire team has to agree on who to hire. Think of this like a jury. Everyone needs to agree.
During the interview process, you need to determine who the lone juror might be that could prevent you from being hired. In reality, they become the key decision maker in your not being hired.
As you do your homework on the company, it is important for you to understand the hiring process. It will be key to ask probing questions on how they make hiring decisions. Start this dialog during the initial phone screen.
When I have needed to make a hiring decision at both of my tech startups, I relied on the opinions of my team. I will readily admit I am not good at interviewing. The true decision makers on who got hired were my team and not me.
Explore the Past
Who really made the decision to hire you in the past jobs? Think about it.
Was it always the hiring manager, or did a key team member make the decision?
Was the key decision maker higher up in the management chain?
In your current job search, who do you need to convince that you are the right person for the job?
This is 9th post in the Negotiator Job Search Series. You can read the rest of the series here.Marc Miller
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