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Gartner: Slow, poor decision-making by hiring managers is causing organisations to lose out on talent

26 June 2019 — More than three-quarters of hiring managers do not act decisively in the recruitment process, resulting in their organisations losing out on top candidates, according to research from Gartner, Inc.
A “hiring manager” is a manager in any business function, for example sales, finance or customer services, who is seeking to fill a role in their team. Recruiting executives and their teams must change how they partner with hiring managers to help them make quicker decisions, according to Gartner.
“In the past, hiring managers knew what their hiring needs were, and they were able to sit back and wait for recruiting to deliver a shortlist, before making a straightforward final decision,” said Lauren Smith, vice president in the Gartner HR practice. “Now, hiring managers are operating in a world with more options and less certainty, and they are struggling to make high-quality, timely decisions about talent.”
In today’s tight labour market, the stakes are high when it comes to getting hiring right. Decisive hiring managers hire 10% more high-quality candidates and 11% fewer low-quality candidates than typical hiring managers. Additionally, organisations that drive decisive hiring manager behaviours reduce time-to-fill by 17%.
Gartner research shows that the amount of time it takes a hiring manager to make an offer after interviewing is now 33 days — an 84% increase from 2010 to 2018.
“This longer decision-making stage is causing a 16% reduction in candidates’ accepting offers. Ultimately, hiring managers are losing out on prime candidates because of this lag in decision-making,” said Ms. Smith.
Gartner says the characteristics of decisive hiring managers include focusing on prioritising future talent needs, broadening the candidate funnel, and sharing hiring decisions with experts across the organisation.
Three shifts will help them drive decisive hiring manager behaviours:
Diversify inputs on future talent needs
In an era of fast-evolving roles and skills, companies should not rely on the hiring manager alone to determine and articulate future talent needs. Gartner research found that only 31% of hiring managers understand the vision their business leader has for their team.
A better approach is to have recruiting leaders tap into sources beyond the hiring manager to define hiring needs based on the future talent strategy of the organisation, not what the manager needs in the short term. Potential sources of information on future talent needs include business leaders, the workforce planning team and the analytics team, which can provide their insight into critical questions, including:
  • What skills does the business critically need to grow?
  • What skills and roles are the competitors in this area hiring for?
  • What will the labour market look like in this location in five years?
Make candidate engagement a shared priority
Hiring managers are not spending their time where it matters — engaging with candidates. This is critical as candidates trust a hiring manager nearly four times as much as they trust a recruiter to provide the information they need to make a decision. To get hiring managers to prioritize candidate engagement, the recruiting function should focus on:
  1. Driving urgency for hiring being a shared responsibility
  2. Motivating leaders by connecting hiring to their leadership role
  3. Enabling hiring managers to easily source talent beyond their existing networks
Align the hiring decisions to expertise
In the matrixed work environment, hiring managers have lost direct insight into the roles for which they are hiring. Even with training on how to evaluate candidates, hiring managers are still making slow, poor decisions.
Leading companies recognize that the hiring manager should not be the default decision maker and they are focusing on identifying the best-fit decision maker. Determining the right person to make a hiring decision can be based on skills expertise, but also by understanding who will work closely with the person in the role and who has experience in evaluating candidates for the role. Organisations are finding that instead of the hiring manager making the final decision, skills and/or decision-making experts are often a better fit.
Additional information is available in the Gartner report, “Redefining the Role of the Hiring Manager in the Digital Era.” The report explains how recruiting leaders can help hiring managers become decisive hiring managers.
About Gartner ReimagineHR
Gartner experts will provide additional insight into the labour and talent issues at the Gartner ReimagineHR Conference, taking place October 28-30 in Florida. Gartner ReimagineHR is the premier event for HR leaders around the world. Join Gartner and senior HR executives to hear key insights and learn actionable strategies necessary to support organisational performance. Gartner ReimagineHR will also be held August 6-7 in Sydney, and September 18-19 in London. Follow news and updates from these events on Twitter using #GartnerHR.
About Gartner for HR Leaders
Gartner for HR Leaders brings together the best, relevant content approaches across Gartner to offer individual decision makers strategic business advice on the mission-critical priorities that cut across the HR function. Additional information is available at http://www.gartner.com/en/human-resources/human-resources-leaders.
About Gartner
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities and build the successful organisations of tomorrow.
Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and objective resource for more than 15,000 organisations in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size.
To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit www.gartner.com.
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