How to deal with unrealistic expectations from hiring managers

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 12.57.17As a recruiter, your clients are the hiring managers. And hiring managers want the best possible hire for their vacancy. This is normal and this should be your objective anyway as a recruiter. However, what if the expectations of the hiring manager about what that “best possible” actually entails, are very unrealistic?

With high unemployment rates the last years, many managers seem to think that they can hire employees with 3 master degrees, fluent in several languages and with 10 years of experience for a young professional position.  It is well known that many job descriptions are not realistic at all for the position they are hiring for. And that there are more unemployed people out there doesn´t mean that employees should be downgraded completely.

What are the most common unrealistic expectations of managers and how can you deal with them?

  1. The perfect candidate exists

Many managers seem to think that the perfect candidate exists and will come to you automatically. A rock star has been created in their mind with tons of experience and an endless list of requirements that the new employee should comply with to be that rock star. Every candidate that does not comply with all the requirements gets rejected and since the list of requirements is just unrealistic you will quickly go through your applicant pipeline. It is very likely that the rock star does not exist so you need to make clear to the hiring manager to focus on the most important requirements but especially the potential of a candidate to become that rock star.

  1. Best, fast and cheap

As with anything in business, it´s usually impossible to comply with all three parameters. You can´t have the best, have them fast and cheap. The best candidates out there don´t work for low salaries and are not always easy to find thereby making the recruitment process not very fast nor cheap. As a recruiter, it is your role to make this clear to the hiring manager and to understand what their budget allows to be able to adjust your recruitment strategy accordingly.

  1. Phantom posts

Phantom posts are actually fake job posts because they are set-up in a specific way so that actually nobody complies with the requirements except for somebody already working in the company. Hiring managers can provide these kind of job descriptions when they have a clear preference for a specific employee already working in the company or when they want to hire internally instead of externally. Phantom posts are not only the most unrealistic of all, they are also unethical and they limit your candidate pool significantly. Make sure that your hiring manager understands that by using a real, realistic posting, chances are much bigger to find their ideal candidate.

  1. Cross-over between functions

Related to number one, but many managers seem to expect that candidates have good functional knowledge of the areas they work with. For example, a good technical documentation writer should also know how to code. This is basically packing the responsibilities of various roles into one job description and therefore makes it quite an unrealistic profile you are looking for. Your role as a recruiter should be to explain market trends and profiles to the hiring manager so that together you can create a realistic job description thereby increasing the chances of actually finding that profile.

Every hiring manager wants the best candidate. Of course, they do. However, it is your job to sometimes get them back to earth and to be more realistic instead of wasting time looking for an impossible candidate.

What other unrealistic expectations of hiring managers have you often dealt with?

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