Trust Your Hiring Instincts



When we are tasked to deliver on a search, it’s a major responsibility. The client is often seeking to hire a critically important executive that is going to have a major impact on the business.


In the case of smaller VC/PE backed and bootstrapped companies the responsibility is perhaps even more critical. We’ve all got to get it right. When a larger company makes a bad hire, it might be considered an inconvenience or a solvable problem (Still a major issue though) but with smaller and scale up companies, getting it wrong can be incredibly damaging.


We take what we do very seriously as the decisions that we make and the way we act on the information that we are given has a direct effect on companies and careers.


As I advise and invest in smaller SaaS firms also, it has helped to focus my thinking even more around the importance of what we do and the positive impact that we can have on our clients companies and the people that they hire.


Just a few days ago when I was reflecting on projects that I had delivered on over the last few years, it occurred to me that in a number of cases, the hiring authority had in fact initially rejected the CV of the very person they ended up hiring!


Had I not have stood by my inclination that the candidate concerned was a viable candidate for the shortlist, then the companies in each case would likely have hired someone else. Now, we will never know what might have happened and I am sure that the client would have hired another great candidate, but I do get some level of extra satisfaction knowing that I played my part.


It also reminded me just how subjective CV and LinkedIn profiles really are. The unconscious bias and subjectivity that we are all guilty of when reading a CV is an obvious challenge for all.


As Headhunters, we get to know people over a long period of time and often place people that we have known for many years. Sometimes we place people that we have recently headhunted and so have built up less experience with, but, either way, we build an objective view that extends just beyond a CV and LinkedIn profile.


When we submit candidates for a role, we are considering a number of variables when deciding on whether someone is a fit for an opportunity. When we make that submittal, we do so in the belief that there is value for both client and candidate to engage and that the candidate should be seriously considered for the role and the company can provide value to candidate’s career.


So, going forward, I’m quite comfortable in really making a case to my clients as to why they should interview candidates that they initially reject. Of course, there are going to be exceptions, but I wonder just how different outcomes might have been for companies and candidates had unconscious bias or subjectivity been removed from the hiring equation?


Makes you think. Certainly, does for me!


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