Recruiting: Donut Forget This Part…

Fried dough, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Leave a position open too long and you’ll end up fried yourself, but not in a happy donut with sprinkles kind of way. This is a cautionary tale regarding the crucial internal communication that is often overlooked during the recruiting process.

Open positions will put you in the proverbial hot seat with just about everyone but particularly the powers that be. Turnover is part of business life so a well-thought out system to manage the recruiting period is invaluable and will be an excellent test of your managing up skills. Managing up? Yes, while running the office short-handed, recruiting, providing extra support to your now over-worked and cranky team, you must also demonstrate the capacity to make everyone feel comfortable and confident that everything is fine, just fine. Nothing to see here…

Communication is everything.

You will be juggling more than ever with an open position. As a result, it may be tempting to forego the basic step of conveying the plan to keep your department on track as well as the progress of your recruiting efforts. Many managers fail to comprehend the degree of risk associated with an open position and therefore mismanage communication with internal stakeholders due to a combination of naiveté and time management challenges. D’OH-nut!

While your immediate team may be able to literally see your hustle, higher-ups that don’t interact with you daily are left in the dark to wonder about what may or may not be transpiring. Not that your EVP is imagining you slumbering at your desk while competitors make off with your department’s narrow profit margin, but something close. Similarly, your own team will be anxious to have the role filled so office life may resume to some semblance of normalcy.

Assuming that everyone should just know that you are actively recruiting shines a bright light on a lack of discernment about how to communicate effectively. 

Avoid judgy eyes and needs improvement commentary in the Communication section of your performance evaluation with a few simple additions to your recruiting repertoire.

Think Like The Boss:

  1. Proactively communicate to your superiors on a weekly basis how many people have been interviewed and which candidates are under serious consideration. Presume that an open position is a high priority warranting ongoing feedback until the position is filled.
  2. Engender confidence with the updates by demonstrating that recruiting is your top priority. Burdening your superiors with chasing you for details puts you in a defensive position. Avoid being caught fumbling for specifics.
  3. Leave all commentary free of it’s hard to find the right people sentiment because it inadvertently discredits the author with what may be interpreted as excuses or even whining. This is not the forum to solicit empathy, understanding or emotional support. Stick to the facts.

Keep Your Team Informed:

  1. Regularly sharing progress updates, without specifics about candidates, is advised so that everyone stays abreast of your efforts.
  2. Not all members of a team have the maturity to keep interviews confidential, which can have calamitous consequences. Balancing the right amount of communication with confidentiality may be tricky and only you know what your team can handle. Meet with candidates off-site when necessary and keep the process as quiet as possible out of respect for your candidates.
  3. Be careful with team interviewing as it may be challenging for your group to understand why they are part of one interview and not another so consider this before announcing a policy. It can be both motivating and demotivating depending upon the circumstances and overall experience of your team.

The Plan:

Prepare a checklist and document a plan for the estimated recruiting time. Some ideas to get you started:

  • Hire task force or temporary assistance immediately upon receiving a resignation.
  • Meet with your team and collaborate on the plan of action to cover the open position’s duties.
  • Contact everyone that will be part of the forthcoming interview process to coordinate availability for meeting candidates.
  • Personally call on the top accounts of the former manager. Informing principal clients that you are available to be of assistance during the transition protects your business.

Common Pitfalls:

  • Forgetting to humble brag about your team’s accomplishments along with the recruiting updates in the weekly update.
  • Underestimating the time and resources required for recruiting. Similarly, not properly factoring the on-boarding time into productivity and revenue forecasts.
  • For Sales, dividing the open position’s market segments among the team is an age-old but ineffective practice if done over an extended period. Sales Managers will take the additional inquiries and then not have time for their own account development so it hurts the business exponentially in the long run. Additionally, inquiries get left behind, no matter how good the team’s intentions may be.
  • Not planning for morale boosters. Be sure to have more appreciation scheduled.
  • Leaving the position open to save on expenses in the short run will almost always have negative consequences in the long-run.

How turnover is managed separates the amateurs from the pros. Having a plan and communicating efforts to all stakeholders is a critical part of the process. Please don’t forget to let everyone know what you are doing to replace the position and the collective efforts of the team to keep the business moving forward in the interim. Nothing to see here


Cake Donut

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour Cake Donuts from King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook.

Follow directions in recipe. While donuts are still warm drizzle with sugar glaze of your choice and dust with powdered sugar. Bourbon glaze is a personal favorite which can be made by adding a couple of Tablespoons of bourbon to 1 cup of confectioners sugar.

I cut the recipe in half and then put the left-overs in the freezer. Schedule a clean-up crew for the mess that frying donuts creates in your kitchen. It’s worth it!

Disclaimer: The story and recipe above should not be considered advice as the readers and users of Chocolate Cake Mondays are not clients and therefore CCM is not liable for reader’s reliance on the information herein.