Why 75% of Hiring Managers Are Indecisive

75% or 3/4 of Hiring Managers are indecisive when engineering roles open up.

Finding the right people for the job is tough. Companies mean well, but confusion and lack of clarity often lead to missed chances and uncertainty.

Here’s how the process unfolds:

Head of Engineering communicates the urgent need for new talent.

  • Hiring Managers reach out to recruiters
  • Recruiters go on to copy and paste the job requirements from previous similar jobs
  • Then publish on all the job boards they can

This process results in several problems.

  • Unimpressive or irrelevant candidates flood the pipelines
  • Top-tier candidates, in high demand, accepting offers elsewhere but you
  • There is a significant loss of revenue and productivity from vacant positions dragging on
  • Inability to differentiate between ideal candidates and ‘unicorn’ expectations


Picture this hypothetical scenario.

You are preparing for a high-school prom date. You have your top 3 picks. Finally, after 3 weeks, you build up the courage to ask, and all 3 of them have already said ‘Yes’ to someone else.

“Indecision is the thief of opportunity” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Here Are Two Reasons Why, As a Hiring Manager, You Are iIndecisive.


1. “If you don’t know what you want, you end-up with a lot you don’t.” – Chuck Palahniuk

Your Ideal Candidate Profile (ICP) is not crafted. Because there is lack of clarity, you keep chasing the “unicorn” candidates.

According to Gartner, only 31% of hiring managers can actually understand the missions and goals of their company leaders.

2. Blind is leading the blind.

Hiring manager does not have to be technical. But the recruiter HAS to be.  That’s their bread and butter.

Here is the truth.

Most recruiters have no idea about the role they are recruiting for.

Because of that:

  • They are unable to push back if team has unrealistic expectations,
  • Your recruiter is throwing tomatoes on the wall hoping something (or someone) sticks,
  • Decision fatigue sets-in when you have so many candidates to go through,
  • Your engineering teams hours are being wasted on the screening misaligned candidates. (Those hours over the course of weeks/months add-up fast)

I am not saying that a recruiter should be well-versed in programming (although that would be ideal).

But they have to have some domain expertise that goes far beyond “Google” search.

Otherwise how will a good developer over the initial phone screen will take the recruiter seriously?

49% of developers say they are more likely to pass on a job after being interviewed by someone who doesn’t seem to understand the job, or the underlying technology requirements.


What You Can Do If You Are A Hiring Manager

The good news is that these challenges can be overcome.

Let’s address the 1st point:

1. Get clear about the role and what the engineering team needs.
Create an Ideal Candidate Profile (ICP).

Here are a few examples on how you can approach your engineering team:

  • Are technical skills more crucial than leadership abilities?
  • Can the team train new hires, or do they need to hit the ground running?
  • Is the role geared towards technical guidance rather than hands-on coding?

Differentiate between “Rock Star” and “Superstar” attributes based on the team’s needs.

This will help with defining clear strategy for the role, prioritizing attributes necessary for the right hire.

2. “Slow is smooth; smooth is fast” – Jack Coughlin

Reduce the number of hard-to-fill requisitions assigned to each recruiter.

Quality over quantity. Finding and attracting 1 right engineering talent is already overwhelming. And if they are working on handful of positions, it only:

  • Worsens their efforts,
  • Clogs-up your hiring pipeline with below-average or irrelevant resumes and,
  • Slows down your entire org.

Establish filters for recruiters to use before they send the resumes your way.

Yes, most recruiters do have questions to ask before short-listing candidates your way (hopefully), but 90% of the time, those questions are open-ended.

That’s a “No No”!

Instead, prepare questions that are binary. Correct or incorrect, but with a twist in complexity to truly gauge candidate’s knowledge.

Here’s what I mean.

Let’s say you need a senior frontend developer who must have experience implementing RESTful APIs using Microservice architecture.

Here is a sample question a recruiter could ask:

”Integrate the following {APIs} using this {provide a simple component} React component.”

This question is specific.

Either right or wrong.

So what’s the takeaway?

In summary, embrace clarity. In the world of hiring, clarity is your ally. Craft that ICP and guide your recruiting team with precision.

Your hiring process will become smoother, your decisions clearer, your organization stronger, and hopefully you won’t be among the 75% of Hiring Managers who are indecisive 🙂

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