Who is Really Making the Hiring Decision?

Who makes the final decision in the hiring process?

Decision MakerWho makes the decision to hire you? It may seem obvious, but it’s often a shell game.

You would think it was the hiring manager, but does he or she really have the final say?

There is a 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 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 fund raising 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 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 Career Design Specialist

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Social Disruption – How Job Search has Changed

Social Disruption

social_disruptionSocial media has caused widespread disruption of the hiring process.

The hiring process is very broken.

Anyone who has searched for a job or has had to hire someone knows this is true. The primary culprit of this disruption is social media and technology.

Let me give you some history.

Twenty Years Ago – 1995

Twenty years ago, when you wanted to find a new job, you looked in the newspaper or professional journal. The Internet was in its infancy.

You filled out a paper application or faxed your resume. Yes…that dreaded fax machine.

You then sat by the phone (remember the ones with cords?) for a phone call from the recruiter or a hiring manager. Confirmations and rejections came on paper—definitely not texts. Remember those days?

Ten Years Ago – 2005

Ten years ago is when the disruption started. Social media was in its infancy.

You searched for jobs online. Monster.com was created in 1999. Indeed.com was created in 2005. Most companies listed their jobs online. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) were being used by most major corporations. Jobvite.com, one of the major providers of ATS technology, was incorporated in 2003.

The hiring process was automated. You could find job postings online. You filled out applications via online forms. You waited for an e-mail, rather than a phone call, to see if you would be interviewed.

Nothing had really changed in ten years, except that the process was automated.

The problem was that it became too easy to apply for jobs. Companies were inundated with applications. This has been growing over the last ten years. When a job was posted in 2013, companies received an average of 100 applications. In 2014, this had grown to 180 applications per posted position.

Today – 2015

Depending on who you talk to, 50-80% of jobs are never posted or advertised.

Why are so few jobs listed online? There is no need. Posting a job on LinkedIn, Monster, or Careerbuilder is expensive. Why post a job when you can source your needs instead?

Sourcing?

Wikipedia defines Sourcing as:

Sourcing is a talent management discipline which is focused on the identification, assessment and engagement of skilled worker candidates through proactive recruiting techniques. Professionals specializing in sourcing are known primarily as Sourcers; but also Internet Recruiters, Recruiting Researchers or Talent Scouts.

Sourcing specialists search the Internet for the best talent. They look in:

  • Social Media – Primarily LinkedIn, but also Facebook, and Twitter. Social media provides the bulk of candidates.
  • Resume databases – Monster, CareerBuilder,  Indeed and other websites. Companies have been searching these websites for years.
  • Applicant Track Systems (ATS) – Many companies have collected hundreds of thousands of resumes within their ATS databases.
  • Specialty websites like Github.com where users can display work product. Think of this like Pinterest for software.

Companies may still post jobs on their website for a variety of reasons:

  • Corporate policy – They may have already identified an internal candidate, but they always post the position publicly.
  • To collect resumes for future positions. The position may not be real, but they want find out who is qualified.

Just because a position is posted publicly does not mean there is a real opportunity to be hired.

Qualified Interested Available (QIA)

Sourcing is difficult because of the QIA.

Each sourcing professional needs to create a pool of qualified candidates.

Whether they are sorting through a stack of resumes or a collection of LinkedIn profiles, selection of the most qualified candidates is difficult. This is where hiring is really broken. Often, candidates are deemed qualified based on the types and quantity of keywords they stuff into their resume or LinkedIn profile.

Ain’t that a great way to pick a the most qualified candidate?

Next, sourcers take the pool of qualified candidates and contact them to see if they are interested.

Have you received an e-mail or phone call from a recruiter asking whether you are interested in a particular position? My guess is that, when you do, most of the time you say no. This might be because you truly are not interested or you are thinking, “Leave me alone!”

Lastly, they need to find out who is available when and where they need them. Now they have a list of candidates to interview.

Wow—this is broken!

The chance that the most qualified candidate was overlooked or ignored is really high. It could be:

  • The resume or LinkedIn profile did not properly demonstrate or display the candidate well.
  • When the recruiter called to see if there is some interest, the candidate was having a bad day.
  • The recruiter did a lousy job of communicating with the candidate due to cultural or generational differences.
  • So many other reasons that my head spins thinking about it.

The Social Job Search

How do you fix the broken hiring system?

You can’t.

You can make yourself into an excellent passive candidate.

You publish enough about yourself and your skills that you are easy to find.

You develop the right relationships with the right people so that you are considered for positions that you want.

You do this by leveraging social media to your advantage.

This is the beginning of a series that I am calling The Social Job Search. How to use social media to attract hiring companies to you.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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BoomerJobTips – Curated Content for July 25

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What is the Real Budget for Your Job Search

Real Budget

budgetYou need to establish a budget for your job search. The budget will include time, energy, money, and emotion.

In Jim Camp’s book, Start with NO…The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don’t Want You to Know, he writes:

As with pain, “budget” in my system is almost a technical term. It is much more than your normal budget, much more than an itemization of projected costs,because the real price to be paid in the negotiation goes way beyond dollars and cents. Budget in the Camp System breaks down into three budgets that help us account for and control this real price in time-and-energy, money, and emotional investment. (I unite time and energy because it’s hard to spend one without spending the other as well.) The overall budget is a comprehensive, powerful tool, another means by which we can retain control in the negotiation by making certain that our investments are working for us, not against us.

Only the money budget is numerical. The other two employ a different kind of assessment, but one that we can keep up with quite accurately. My rough-and-ready formula for calculating the overall budget for a negotiation gives “time” a value of x, “energy” 2x, “money” 3x, and “emotion” 4x. Obviously, these are not empirically based numbers. They’re a way to drive home the point of relative importance. If you are spending only time and energy in a negotiation, you have a budget of 1x × 2x, for a total budget of 2x. If you start throwing real money around, your budget is 2x × 3x, or 6x. The real budget has tripled over the budget for time-and-energy alone. What happens if your emotions enter the negotiation and the equation in a powerful way? Multiply that 6x by 4x. You’re up to 24x, a large relative number that serves mainly to demonstrate how important the budget for emotion is, how dangerous emotional investment is.

Budget Formula

The formula for calculating your job search budget is:

Budget = 1 x Time + 2 x Energy + 3 x Money + 4 x Emotion

Notice that time is the smallest piece of the budget and emotion is the largest. Most of us would instinctively say it was the opposite.

Time

Time is a crucial piece of any job search budget. I currently have two clients who are swamped at work. Even though they are miserable in their jobs, they have not carved out time to make their job search a priority.

When you are unemployed, time is available. When you are employed, you need to create time to dedicate to finding your next job. You need to create a budget where you dedicate a few hours per week to your job search.

The days of working for the same company for many years are over. It helps to look at yourself as an independent contractor where you are always looking for that next job. You absolutely need to budget time for this effort.

Energy

If you feel low, tired, or sapped, you will not make a good impression when you meet someone in networking or an interview. Managing your energy is critical. This might mean being picky in the networking events you choose to attend, or meeting people during the time of day when you are at your best.

I am a morning person. I attend a breakfast meeting every Wednesday morning at 7 AM. This is not for everyone. What is the best time of day for you to meet people?

Are you exercising? I recently had a client climb stairs before hopping on a phone interview. He felt tired, but getting some mildly aerobic exercise before the interview perked him up. This contributed to him getting to the next round of interviews.

Money

Ah money…yes, you will need to add money to your budget. Here is a list of things you might consider when adding to your budget:

  • Personal website – I will be doing a blog post next month on a new website branded.me
  • Resume and LinkedIn profile assistance – You may want to get one or both spiffed up
  • Career Coach – You might want to spend time with someone like myself to help you
  • Lunch, coffee, or networking – Allocate a certain weekly amount to spend on these
  • Transportation – This might be gas or airfare.

Emotions

How much are you willing to invest emotionally in your job search? We all know the emotional letdown when we are:

  • Not selected to get an interview
  • Passed over in the next round of interviews
  • Declined a job offer

Each time you pursue a company or position, there is a high probability you will not be selected. Remember: this is like dating and marriage; you will date a lot of people before you decide to get married. Just like in dating, it is emotionally draining when we are rejected.

Camp says:

The thrill of victory! The agony of defeat! I’ll bet you recognize those words almost immediately, because they have become clichés in our culture, thanks to ABC’s Wide World of Sports. I still remember the ski jumper whose goggles fly off as he crashes over the side of the ski jump and the American hockey team celebrating their unbelievable victory over the Soviet squad, back in 1980 when the United States and the USSR were bitter adversaries. And when it comes to my son’s college football games, I know all about thrill and agony. For sports fans, these extreme emotions are fine. They’re mandatory for the fun. For negotiators, they’re dangerous.

 Do not underestimate the need to manage your emotional budget.

Hiring Manager’s Budget

Everything I have written about in this post also applies to the hiring manager. They have a budget:

  • How much time are they willing to put into the hiring process? Are they in a hurry, or can they wait?
  • How much energy are they expending to make the hire happen?
  • How much money are they willing to spend? Are they willing to fly you out for an interview?
  • How emotionally involved are they with you? When a candidate turns down an offer, it is emotionally draining for the hiring team, as well.

You need to create—and control—your budget. You need to know their budget.

If you do both success will follow.

Have you created a budget for your job search?

This is the 8th post in the Negotiator Job Search series.

Here is the rest of the series so far:

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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BoomerJobTips – Curated Content for July 18

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BoomerJobTipsWelcome to this weeks BoomerJobTips Update the central point to get current career information for the Baby Boomer Generation!

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Assume Nothing – The Negotiator Job Search

Assume Nothing

assumeIn negotiations like your job search, you should assume nothing.

This is the 7th post in the Negotiator Job Search series.

Here is the rest of the series so far:

In Jim Camp’s book, Start with NO…The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don’t Want You to Know, he writes:

Now what about assumptions, the other chief obstacle to effective blank slating? They’re just as dangerous as positive and negative expectations, and just as common, because most of us come to believe that we’re pretty good at reading other people, at understanding what they’re really feeling and thinking. Negotiators, in particular, tend to pride themselves on their people skills. A thousand times I’ve heard someone say:

“I know what they’ll do if we make that offer.”

“This is the way they operate.”

“If you raise the price, they’ll want a volume discount.”

“I’m pretty sure she makes the decisions over there.”

“There’s no way they’ll make an offer today.”

You have probably had similar thoughts as it relates to your job search.

“When they make me an offer, it will be take or leave it.”

” If I make a counter offer, they will walk away.”

“If I don’t immediately accept the offer, they will walk away.”

 These kinds of assumptions can get you into trouble. Remember to assume nothing.

Practical Examples

When I headed off to teach high school math, I assumed that high schools would want me. I was an engineer with significant training and experience. I had taught for over 20 years in close to 40 different countries. There was a shortage of math teachers. Of course they would want me!

Boy, was I wrong! Schools want highly compliant people. I was a male and over 40 years of age. A demographic that is not typically considered to be compliant. It was very difficult to even get interviews.

I had a client who was offered a position in the headquarters of a major retailer. He assumed that vacation and health insurance would be included. Before he signed anything, I insisted he go through the offer carefully. Two items popped out:

  • Company health insurance did not start until being employed for six months
  • Paid Time Off (PTO) was not accrued until six months of employment

It would have been easy to assume that both of these benefits were not negotiable. That would been a bad assumption.

For more:  (Assumptions – How They Create Career Sinkholes)

Research

You need to do your research. Through our research, we found an HR professional who had left the company. She informed us that the company had a policy that, if asked, they would pay the employee’s COBRA payment until the company health insurance was available. Also, the company would fill the PTO account with a negotiated amount of days on the first day of employment.

Research is key.

You will need to reach out to current and former employees of the business. Ask them about the hiring process. Ask them what they wish they knew before they were hired.

Carefully research the company on the Internet including websites like Glassdoor.com.

For more: (How to check out a company before….)

Remember to assume nothing in the job search process.
Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Emotions and the Job Search – Creating a Blank Slate

Emotions and the Job Search

emotionsManaging your emotions is as key in the job search as it is in negotiations. It is important to become a blank slate!

This is the 6th post in the Negotiator Job Search series.

Here is the rest of the series so far:

 Blank Slate

In Jim Camp’s book, Start with NO…The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don’t Want You to Know, he writes:

In my system, “blank slate” is a verb. As negotiators, we actively blank slate in order to create a blank slate in our own minds, which then sits ready and waiting to receive any new information, new attitudes, new emotions, or new anything that our adversary wittingly or unwittingly beams our way. It is through blank slating that we learn what’s really going on in this negotiation— what’s really holding things up, what the adversary really needs.

Maintaining a blank slate or keeping your emotions in check is key in the job search.

Managing Positive Emotions

During a recent interview, a client of mine was told, “We needed you in this job yesterday!”

It would have been easy for her to think she basically had this job! She could have let down her guard and not listened with the same level of attention. She could have stopped asking probing questions. Instead, she said thank you and moved on to the next question.

You have to remember to not get caught up in your positive euphoria. You need to stay focused and not let your positive emotions get you to lose sight of the goal. Remember your Mission and Purpose of the job search.

Managing Negative Emotions

Many of you have encountered a situation wherein the recruiter calls you and starts to discuss money very early on. They throw out a low ball number, and you think:

Oh crap! I can’t work for that amount of money. What the heck should I do now?

It would be easy to lose your excitement for the position.

In late 2007, I was called by a recruiter from a sexy startup. They had a newly created training position, and wanted to know if I was interested. We got into a discussion of compensation, and I asked her what she had budgeted for the position. She gave me a really low number.

At this point, I could have easily said I was not interested. Instead, I responded that they will not get anyone with any real experience at that price. They really needed someone with a fair amount of experience for this position. She asked me about my current salary.

My current salary was not relevant because I was working for a non-profit.

I gave her an approximate number of what I made when I left high tech sector four years earlier (which was double what she had budgeted!).

She asked me if I was still interested.

I told her we should keep talking.

I could have easily become negative, and it would have come out in our conversation. Instead, I maintained a blank slate. They eventually made me an offer that was close to my previous compensation.

Have you been able to maintain a blank slate and control your emotions.

Can you tell us about your experiences?

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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BoomerJobTips – Curated Content for July 11

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BoomerJobTipsWelcome to this weeks BoomerJobTips Update the central point to get current career information for the Baby Boomer Generation!

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Art of Questions – Nurturing and Reversing

Art of Questions – Nurturing and ReversingArt_of_Questions

The art of questions is the next phase in the Negotiator Job Search.

This is the 5th post in the Negotiator Job Search series.

Nurturing

In Jim Camp’s book, Start with NO…The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don’t Want You to Know, he writes:

Art of QuestionsYour ability to nurture will be the key to bringing the negotiation back to the table after a breakdown. Your ability to nurture your adversary, to put him or her at ease, is the key to assuring her that you are listening and that you value what she has to say. Nurturing is also just another way to allow your adversary to feel okay.

Nurturing should be part of your body language. When you’re seated, refrain from a sudden forward movement. Lean back. Relax your neck, face, and hands. If you’re standing, lean against the wall, lower your posture. No one is going to deal effectively with you if you’re towering over them. This is common sense, and even an average negotiator would pretty much adhere to this principle. 

When in doubt, slow your cadence of speech, lower your voice. As the old saying goes, laughter often is the best medicine, especially laughter directed at ourselves. Laughter is a way to nurture everyone in the room— including ourselves.

Your goal is to put the interviewer and yourself at ease. How you use your tone of voice is key. No need to get touchy-feely, but if you see an opportunity, ask your interviewer, “What is your budget for this position?” If you use a non-confrontational tone and fairly casual manner, you’ll be surprised how the interviewer will respond.

How you say things matters! It is an important part in the art of questions.

Reversing

reversingCamp writes:

This is a behavior that you must hone to perfection for successful negotiations. The reverse is the behavioral tactic that answers a question with a question, the answer to which will do you some good. When your adversary asks you a question, you do have to say something, but not in the way in which you were trained in school.

“How are you?”

“Great. How are you?”

It is highly likely that you will be asked a couple of questions that you will not want to answer.

This is where the art of questions is really needed. Let’s look at how to answer the following question:

What is your current salary?

I have written about this topic before in my post What is Your Current Salary? How to Answer!

You will need to use your nurturing voice and answer with a question. Here is an example:

I presume you are asking about my current salary because you want to know if I am a good fit for your budget. What is your budget for this position?

You need to practice this ahead of time. You will want to use a low key, nurturing tone of voice. It is important that you are casual in your delivery of the question.

Another question you will not want to directly answer is the following:

Why do you want to leave your current job?

You absolutely do not want to go negative. They will think “next” if you respond about how your current boss is a jerk.

You should phrase your response as follows:

My current position is okay, but what I am looking for is a position that can give me…

You will find multiple examples of how to reverse this question in the post Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Position.

There is an art to this. It will take practice to use your nurturing voice and reverse the question. You can do this!!

Have you ever reversed one of these questions?

It is all part of the art of questions!

The next post in the series is called Quiet Your Mind, Create a Blank Slate.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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BoomerJobTips – Curated Content for July 4

BoomerJobTips Update

BoomerJobTipsWelcome to this weeks BoomerJobTips Update the central point to get current career information for the Baby Boomer Generation!

Check BoomerJobTips Daily for the latest curated career content. Content is curated from hundreds of the leading career websites with a focus on baby boomer career issues.

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Social Media

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