HBR’s 5 Ways Managers Sabotage the Hiring Process – Our Take




Hiring seems straight forward. You find a candidate that fits the job description and… hire! Let’s just say that you think you’ve found your candidate. Are there things you’re doing as a hiring manager that hindered or influenced the hiring process? Below is a list of 5 Ways Managers Sabotage the Hiring Process from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) with our take on the “sabotage”.


  1. Fixing and rescuing – Managers assume they can fix major issues they identify during the recruitment process.

Our Take: Do you have the resources or skills to take on any red flags a candidate is waving during the hiring process? Probably not. It's not your job to try to “fix” an employee and the chances of successfully changing someone to fit your business needs are slim to none. Keep looking for the right candidate to fit the needs of your position and company.

2. Validation seeking – Managers focus on candidates who show unbounded enthusiasm.


Our Take: Yes, your company, department, and team are fabulous, we’re sure, but you’re in the market to hire for a reason. It may be that you’re doing so well that your team can’t keep up with incoming work. Maybe your star player just up and left because the workload was too much. Whatever it might be for having an open position, transparency is key. If a candidate only hears the positives of the position, they won’t have the chance to show if they have ideas to implement or if their critical thinking skills will benefit your team. If a candidate does not take the opportunity to offer thought-provoking criticism of your business and only wants to stroke your ego, then they most likely won’t take much initiative on the job. If a candidate did their research, found the holes within your business themselves and brought the solutions to the interview, then that’s your candidate. You are looking for someone to point out and solve issues, not someone that waits for you to tell them what to do about it.


3. Boundary breaching – Managers emphasize the closeness of their team, telling candidates the company is “like a family”.


Our Take: We may push back on HBR on this one when they say “Family-oriented language actually signals a lack of professional boundaries”. A “family” at work is important and every “family” has boundaries and expectations. Your “work family” expectations need to be clear, concise, and professional, but you can still be tight-knit and communicate it; this is a perk to an employee! Share it with candidates. A family culture can be the tipping point for top talent to mosey on over. We spend how much time with our work family? Even remotely, we’re connected in some sort of Slack or Teams meeting for several hours a day. If the culture is right, you care for this work family. Family and professionalism are not binary, they can and should be blended in the workplace. Make this clear to candidates. “We have a family-like culture, but maintain professionalism and work expectations”.. something along those lines!


4. Micromanaging – Managers harp on rules and procedures, glamorize hierarchy, or suggest that all conflict is unwelcome


Our Take: Let’s be honest, if we were a candidate speaking to a hiring manager with this kind of attitude, we’d dramatically get up and run (not walk) out the door with a polite “NO THANK YOU!”. If you’re this manager, your organization needs to invest in some leadership training. At any rate, if a candidate decides this is the right fit despite the hiring manager’s red flag, this person most likely lacks drive or passion and prefers linear work. Is that what you’re looking for in top talent?


5. Detachment – On the flip side, these managers tout “total freedom” to potential hires


Our Take: Let’s think balance. On one end, employees have “total freedom” where they are completely autonomous and there’s no need to connect. On the other end, there’s an overbearing manager that doesn’t trust employees to do anything themselves. Some employees see the former as a perk because they get to manage themselves until loneliness kicks in and are completely detached. The latter feels smothered and untrusted until they are entrapped by a toxic manager – employee relationship. Let potential candidates know that there are work liberties because they are trusted to do the job they’ll be hired for, but there are also checks and balances to create team collaboration and accountability.


Next time you’re looking to hire, ask yourself if you’re sabotaging the hiring process by keeping these 5 do-nots in mind.



Cited: https://www.instagram.com/p/CcSxRKxsDwq/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=





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