When Building Your Team, Delegate Recruiting But Hiring Is Your Job
As a leader, you know that delegation is key to being effective. But you also know that your judgment, experience and bird’s-eye perspective on your organization’s priorities plays a huge role in creating results.
Especially when it comes to an investment as high-risk/high-reward as hiring, it can be stressful and downright scary to turn control over to others. Some elements of the hiring process can be delegated safely and others are sacred territory for you, the hiring manager to oversee every time.
Here’s what you need to know, starting with the parts of hiring you should never delegate:
Final approval on job descriptions. You need to know what prospective employees are reading about your organization and the role(s) that you have open.
Final selection of a top choice candidate from a set of finalists. You need to personally talk to and understand each of the top two or three finalists. At the end of the day, the decision needs to be yours so that you have buy-in from yourself and your team about the choice. Hiring decisions by committee are fine for short listing, but never for the final pick.
If you have a recruiter who is trying to persuade you to take one finalist over another, then you’re working with the wrong one. They should know that, ultimately, you have far greater context about your organization and the role. The final call always needs to be firmly in your hands. If you have a board member or advisor who is doing the same thing, then you need to gently but firmly remind them that it is your decision to make, for the same reason.
Making the offer. Though it is possible to have recruiters or other parties extend the offer, for top talent it is very important that you, the leader, the person they are coming to work for or the person representing the HR function, be the one to extend the offer.
Best practices for making the offer differ depending on the context but, regardless of the delivery of a formal or preliminary/informal offer, it means a lot more coming from you. Start the relationship off on the right foot by inviting them to be a part of the team yourself.
Onboarding. There’s simply too much at stake during a new hire’s first 90 days. You need to personally design and oversee the onboarding process for anyone that you have been responsible for hiring.
There are some parts of hiring you can delegate, but at your own risk. Tread cautiously.
Gathering insights. When you work with recruiters, whether internal or external, or use hiring assessments, part of what you’re paying for is the insights that these third parties provide. This includes profiles, scores, or rankings on individual candidates.
While these insights can be extremely valuable, you also need to be careful about how you use them. While it’s fine to let them form an initial impression or add a different perspective, you must approach your finalists with an open mind and do your own due diligence on them.
Shifting the responsibility for evaluating candidates to someone else (even good recruiters) means offloading one of your core responsibilities: gathering the info needed for you to make a sound decision on whom to hire.
Lastly, there are parts of hiring that you should delegate as much as possible.
Drafting job descriptions. Unless the role being hired for is directly reporting to you, the odds are that people elsewhere in your organizations have a better grasp of exactly what this person will be doing, and exactly what type of work style, personality, etc., would be best fit for the role. Let them do the initial drafting to inform your thinking and avoid having it be a mental obstacle for you.
Also note that not all job descriptions are created equally. In today’s talent market, you need JDs that are as accurate and compelling as possible, not just a list of facts about the job and company. If you’re not a natural copywriter, it’s best to get help from someone who is so that your ideal candidates are compelled to apply when they read about your role.
Sourcing. Since you’re the expert at doing your job, you’re probably not an expert in knowing exactly where to look for the ideal candidates for your roles, especially passive candidates who don’t hang out on job boards eagerly looking for work.
It’s worth your time to delegate the actual detective work of figuring out where to find the candidates that you need to vet. Assigning it to someone on your team if they have a lot of bandwidth to devote to sourcing and are familiar with the role. Working with a recruiter you trust is better still. Sourcing is, literally, what they do for a living.
Screening. Most hiring managers mistakenly spend 60-80 percent of their time screening out bad candidates, leaving only 20-40 percent of their precious time and energy for the really hard and important part, which is choosing from amongst finalists.
Hiring someone else to wade through resumes, do phone screens and even first-round interviews is a perfect example of effective delegation. Just make sure that they are clear in what they are screening for/against. They should be using objective scorecards to avoid random drift or systemic bias in the process.
By following these guidelines, you can safely free yourself from the legwork and confidently dedicate your attention to the most high-leverage uses possible. Place trust in your hiring team and get back to executing on your biggest opportunities – as a strong leader should.
Related: How to Recruit a Top-Notch Recruiter
Nathaniel is the CEO of ReWork, a recruiting firm that specializes in recruiting dynamic professionals for purpose-driven companies. He writes and speaks about hiring and talent in the purpose economy and the phenomenon of meaningful work, and is a contributor for Harvard Business Review, The Muse, and Entrepreneur.