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What Makes a Great Hiring Manager (part three of three)

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Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

We’re at the end of our three-part series, "What Makes a Great Hiring Manager," and I’ve saved my favorites for last. I’ve talked about what foundational qualities a hiring manager should have and also what specific skills great hiring managers possess, but in part three I’m going to share more of the interpersonal side of great hiring managers.

There’s nothing worse than a hiring manager who just doesn’t know how to communicate. In fact, the very essence of a hiring manager’s job is communicating – with candidates, with other professionals, with management, with strangers. It’s all about whom you know, and for hiring managers, professional relationships are like gold.

Last year, ABC News conducted a study reporting that 80 percent of jobs are landed through networking. You hear a lot of talk about the importance of networking if you’re trying to land a job, but I’d argue that equally important is the need for hiring managers to network. As much as candidates need a job, you need them to fill positions.

Here are some of the interpersonal-related skills that I have seen in great hiring managers.

Great hiring managers…

Exude confidence
If you think back on those you know who are successful and well liked, you’ll probably find a common thread: they’re confident (or at least pretend to be). We’re naturally drawn to those who are confident, though I should note that I’m not talking about arrogance here. Great hiring managers are confident in their abilities, their company, their compensation recommendations, their instincts and the employees they bring on.

Don’t let relationships cloud their judgment
As I said above, one of the main focuses of hiring managers is the relationships they build. However, great hiring managers don’t hire just because they’ve built a relationship or would like to see a friend or a friend of a friend hired. They look at key elements of the position and the candidates and make a decision based on who would be the best match, not necessarily who they like.

Become more than just a liaison
As a hiring manager, you are the liaison between candidates and managers. Both parties depend on you to relay information and questions. This is the simple part. Great hiring managers go a step further and get to know their candidates and managers. They may not take a candidate out for drinks (In fact, I would highly discourage this!), but they do show interest in their needs to help determine the best fit for them. Most importantly, they keep an open line of communication with candidates, even the ones they didn’t hire, because they know that building a pipeline of potential candidates is part of a long-term hiring plan.

Take advantage of networking opportunities
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; take advantage of every opportunity you have to network! Great hiring managers look at everyday situations as a way to meet potential candidates and build their own network. A good hiring manager browses profiles on LinkedIn, while a great hiring manager is out “pounding the pavement,” so to speak.

Care about people
As HR professionals, what our jobs really come down to is helping people. If you’re not looking at your career from that angle, you’re missing out. Great hiring managers recognize this and I believe they subconsciously use it as a somewhat of a filter for the decisions they make. No, you can’t always do what people want or even need you to do, but when you care about people, it changes how you speak to and treat them.

Now that we’ve looked at the fundamental qualities, specific skills and interpersonal skills that are common in great hiring managers, tell us what you think is most important to excel in the position of hiring manager. Let s know in the comments below.

Also check out:
What Makes a Great Hiring Manager, part one
What Makes a Great Hiring Manager, part two

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