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At hiring meetings, think like a consultant

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in Hiring,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

When new positions open up, HR professionals often meet with hiring managers to gather information about the job and develop hiring strategies. The problem: Too many HR pros take the wrong approach—a passive “order taking” approach—to these intake meetings.

Instead, it’s wiser—for the organization’s success and the HR professional’s reputation—for HR to take a consultative approach to these meetings, says Jeremy M. Eskenazi, founder of HR consulting firm Riviera Advisors in California.

A more consultant-like approach helps HR define the job’s qualifications and improves the chances of hiring the right employee. Plus, it enhances your role as a trusted advisor and boosts your value to management.

Here are ways to make the switch from order-taker to hiring consultant, according to Eskenazi: 

Do research. Prior to the intake meeting, use the information you already know about the job opening to find possible sources for candidates. Search résumés on file for some that may match the opening, which at least gives you and the hiring manager a starting point.

During the meeting, discuss the résumés to better understand the experience and qualifications sought by the manager. Suggest potential sources for candidates to solicit feedback from the manager.

Be more than a job order taker. Some HR professionals avoid disagreeing with the hiring manager. Instead, HR should ask questions and politely disagree about issues such as candidate sourcing, says Eskenazi.

Use a template to guide the discussion. Including questions and topics to cover can save time and help focus the meeting. Adapt template questions to specific job openings. Key questions to ask (see a full list below):

  • What are the preferred soft/hard skills, years experience and educational background?
  • Cite examples of the decisions the person will make.
  • What goals must the person accomplish during the first year?
  • What are the most difficult job duties?
  • Which companies do a good job of hiring for similar positions?

Use the information gathered to do two things: Determine the strategy and sources to use for posting job openings and finding top candidates. Create job-specific questions to ask candidates during interviews.

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