Leadership in the recruiting process

The hiring team leader is accountable for the process and result

At the start of the week, I posted on LinkedIn what was meant to be an interactive discussion.

The core message was the hiring manager owns the accountability of the recruitment process and its outcome. Hence, they must be actively involved in the entire process of bringing in a new team member.

A few of my valued colleagues responded. Their views come from deep, relevant, person experience. In summary, the consensus was a strong agreement to my theory.


Observed response on LinkedIn

It was most illuminating, observing the statistics of this post. LI allows the poster to see some helpful, high-level stats on their post. Stats like: Job Title, Location, Company, Industry and Company Size.

Here are the facts:

  • The post received over two thousand views.
  • Of that, around 4% who hold senior executive or board roles.
  • Around 18% of those who viewed the post belonged to large companies of greater than 10,000 employees.

Yet none of the senior business leaders joined the discussion.


Passive leadership response

One may hypothesise a broad range of reasons for not commenting. I won’t give “too busy” credibility, as it holds none. If you’re on LinkedIn and you scroll through your feed, you have enough time to read a short post, if it’s relevant to you. You have a minute to knock out a quick comment, and contribute or improve the discussion. One may say that’s demonstrating leadership.

And that is the point that requires scrutiny. If you are in a leadership role, how can the recruitment of a new team member not be relevant to you?

The absence of commentary from the sizeable number of “top management” people, suggests that the matter is not an issue to them and it’s well in hand.

Furthermore, this suggests they believe their internal team leaders (at all levels) are sufficiently active in the recruitment process, are personally ensuring the process is thorough, transparent and beneficial to both parties and that the result is complete satisfaction to both team leader and new team member.

I cannot accept this suggestion.

We have leadership coaches galore on LinkedIn, you can’t get through your feed without seeing one’s contribution. This is not a criticism of their business. As observed, there must be a market, and a demand for their services. This means leadership is an issue which deserves attention and further development in business.

What I find difficult to reconcile, is so many senior leaders saw the discussion, yet did not comment. Neither positive, neutral, or in rebuttal. An arguable conclusion is it wasn’t important to them.

Let’s consider the current environment. Economic headwinds, rising inflation, reduction in capital, a tougher market. In Australia, unemployment is at decades-long low. This suggests that while there is economic uncertainty ahead, those businesses looking to hire quality personnel to help them ride out their tough times, are competing much harder to do so. Available talent is scarce.

It is reasonable to think that business leaders should be most interested in the current recruitment market, because their future performance depends on it. One exceptional team member may make all the difference to that team and the organisation.

If recruitment and team building isn’t important to them, then are they stagnating, remaining stable, or downsizing? Given every business conversation will broach the topic of how “busy” one of the parties is, it is doubtful that stability or stagnation is prevalent. With such low unemployment, it’s hard to see that downsizing is rife.


The underlying issue

My suggestion is that the issue reflects the senior leader’s organisational culture.

In a recent talk, leadership expert Simon Sinek highlighted that there is a common behaviour of companies to place their people in their top five priorities, but below performance. Sinek argues that by placing people at the top of the agenda, then performance will naturally increase due to their satisfaction and increased interest in the organisation.

The observable suboptimal culture views recruitment (or critical new team member selection) as a transactional process. How can a long-term relationship be transactional?

Good leadership in the process of selecting and inducting a new team member requires personal commitment and active participation from the hiring manager. It’s part of the early steps of forming a trusting and respectful relationship with the new team member.

Reiterating my earlier post – the hiring manager owns the accountability of the recruitment process. They own the risk of hiring the wrong person, as well as the benefit of bringing a new team member on board.


Let’s follow Mr Sinek’s sage advice: Put People first. They produce the results, not vice versa.


What are your thoughts, let me know? Let’s discuss on +61 (0) 4 0908 4008



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