Hiring Managers Are Shopping

Hiring Managers Are Shopping by by massdistraction

Some people tend to have a negative view of the “who you know/knows you” reality of the world. But it’s not about doing ‘favors’ for your buddies…it’s about using all the information you can get your hands on when hiring.


For example, imagine you are shopping for a new kitchen appliance and trying to decide between a few different models. You will likely:

  1. Look at customer reviews
  2. Listen to referrals from people you know and trust who have experience with one of the products
  3. Try it out yourself in the store
  4. Tap into your previous experience with this product/manufacturer
  5. Compare product spec sheets

All of these factors come into a decision; so why would anyone think that in the case of hiring a new employee, you should limit yourself to # 5 – and doing any of the others amounts to ‘favoritism’ or other nefarious motives? One could even argue that # 2 is the most important out of all the factors going into the decision.

We all tend to highly value recommendations from people we know and trust if they have experience with something we don’t.

Hiring is not a ‘special case’

That list above translates to this in terms of selecting candidates for a postion:

  1. Background check with past employers
  2. Referrals from someone the hiring manager knows and trusts
  3. Interview candidates
  4. Hiring manager has direct experience with a candidate in some way
  5. Resume/CV

The resume or CV is important, but it doesn’t even make up a majority of the decision. In the big picture, your ‘spec sheet’ on paper is going to be10-20% of the decision. It’s mostly to ensure the minimum specifications are being met.

And this is why I focus on the whole process, not just the resume/CV.

Hiring Managers Are Shopping is a post from: pmStudent

I love to help new project managers and working project managers further their careers.

I also offer online project management training for you!

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Andrew Krzmarzick

Thanks, Josh. Any thoughts on the use of social media or even something as simple as a Google search to learn more about prospective employees?

Josh Nankivel

Absolutely Andrew. A simple google search of the employee’s name in quotes in combination with their city will turn up a wealth of information about the employee’s fingerprint online. It’s always good practice for a candidate to do this themselves and be sure their online presence is a good one. LinkedIn is a great way to find out more about candidates as well, and you can even connect with people who have experience with them and are near or in your own professional network to find out more.

Josh Nankivel
Blog: http://pmStudent.com
Training: http://learn.pmStudent.com

Recommended PMP Training: http://GetPrepCast.com

Jeff Ribeira

Great analogy, Josh! If we want the best in the everyday products that we buy, and tap into every available resource to get the best value, why would we expect organizations to act differently? It seems like Linkedin is definitely going to be the star in determining value as it has the ability to package many of the things you mentioned in one convenient online location (resume, recommendations, referrals, etc.).

Alicia Mazzara

Having interviewed candidates in a previous job, I would definitely agree that the resume really is just a small piece. A resume can tell you about skills, but speaking to someone who has worked with the candidate in the past or interviewing them yourself can tell you a lot about their personality and ability to work with others. Fit is really important but hard to measure on paper, so it makes sense that hiring managers want to take advantage of every resource they can.

Josh Nankivel

Thanks for the comments Jeff and Alicia!

A good example is about 10 years ago when the MCSE certification was all the rage in some IT companies. Part of my interviews back then included troubleshooting systems I purposely broke in specific ways.

I once interviewed someone with an impressive resume…MCSE certified, Master’s in Comp Sci, etc. I was excited to interview him.

His knowledge was severely lacking, and he could barely navigate around the control panel on a Windows desktop. It was physically painful for me (and probably for him too). He had either skimmed through certifications and degrees without actually learning anything, OR he had outright lied on his resume.

Needless to say, I didn’t hire him. But what stuck with me from that traumatic experience is that you can NEVER trust what’s on a piece of paper, including what certifications or degrees someone has.

Competence must be evaluated from direct experience, referrals, and demonstration; it can not be inferred from any kind of ‘spec sheet’.