How to have a data-driven conversation

Relationships with hiring managers can be… tricky.

Recruiters- Do you ever feel like a scapegoat?

Salary requirement conversations are a great example of where the dynamic breaks down.

This first example is probably familiar to every single one of you. It’s called an anecdotal conversation and it goes like this:

Recruiter: We’re finding it hard to find people for that $60k – $70k range you gave me

Hiring Manager: Well that’s the salary we have to work with because that’s what I was given (but what they might be thinking is “maybe you’re not looking in the right places”…”maybe you’re not talking to the right people”…”how many people have you actually verified this with?”…etc.)

Recruiter: Okay well I’ll keep looking

What if you introduced technology so you knew the exact salary requirements of every single applicant for that specific role?
That’s called a data-driven conversation and it goes like this:

Recruiter: Okay hiring manager, we’ve had 142 applicants apply for this role, we’ve asked 100% of those applicants what their salary expectations are for this role and here’s what the data tells us…only 6% of applicants are willing to accept $60k – $70k. And by the way, would you like to know how many of those 8 applicants are even 50% qualified per your exact qualifications….zero. So, that leaves us with a few options:

1. You can hire one of the 8 applicants knowing they are less than 50% qualified, but at least your expectations will be lower going in

2. We can hold on this salary and wait until we get an applicant that is both willing to accept this salary and has the qualifications you’re looking for, but again with setting expectations you might want to buckle in because it could be a while

3. We can take this data to both of our bosses, show them the data, and explain that if we at least increase the salary range by $10k that triples our applicants pool, but frankly the majority of the applicants are clearly saying they need $91k – $100k
Any of these options are fine with me, but just know this has nothing to do with me and everything to do with what the applicants are telling us. So which option do you want to go with?

Hiring Manager: Let’s go with option 3

In summary:
Anecdotal conversation – revolving door, doesn’t get anywhere, takes longer, no hard decisions can be made, and opinions and blame run rampant
Data-driven conversation – drives a productive conversation, creates accountability for all stakeholders involved, facilitates faster and more educated decisions, and everyone is moving forward as opposed to in a circle

Which conversation are you having today?

Which conversation would you rather have?