I have been recruiting for the complex role of IT Project Manager a while ago and I would like to tell you more about this challenging experience today. Not mentioning the important prerequisites such as understanding the role and the client situation, you also need to be resilient and strong enough in communication to be successful.
From my side, this was what I could see:
- 11 months
- 14 candidates presented
- 5 candidates invited to the first round
- 2 candidates invited for the final round
- 2 rounds of interviews per candidate
- 84 calls
- 1320 coffee cups
- 2 candidates hired
- Time to hire for first candidate: 3 months
- Time to hire for second candidate: 9 months
- Mission accomplished successfully
Our little story begins in March last year. I was recruiting for IT Project Managers, two slots, for my client. Not an easy role to be filled, especially these days when hiring managers are focused on the high quality of candidates’ skills as well as personality, and a lot of companies are searching for the talent for the same roles.
I got in touch with several people who seemed suitable for this role, having the necessary experience and outstanding personality characteristics. One of them, let’s call him Tom, was successful almost immediately – after two rounds of interviews we made a deal, and Tom was hired.
Another slot was a little bit more difficult to fill, as it usually happens when you have one great candidate on board already and the hiring manager tends to subconsciously compare some of the skillset and behavior of other applicants with him. Anyway, I got in touch with other candidates, one of whom was an amazing lady, let’s call her Catherine. She was exactly the type of person I thought the hiring manager and the team would be happy to work with. She had the right skills and mindset to shine during the interview. Unfortunately, after the first round, a hiring freeze came into effect due to the Covid-19 situation in spring, and then there was a summer holiday pause in hiring. I was still in touch with Catherine, fully aware that she might lose her interest or simply get another offer in a meantime.
Catherine decided to wait, as she wanted to be sure she was making the right decision when choosing a new job. She went to several other interviews in the meantime, but none of the other roles were as interesting to her as the one at my client was. Catherine was interested in continuing the process and when the invitation for a second interview arrived, she was happy to attend it. We had to face another delay with scheduling the interview since at that point, other candidates were being considered and all of them had to go through the second interview as well. At that point, it was almost Christmas time.
The second interview finally took place near the end of December. Everything went well. Catherine was happy and the hiring manager seemed to be satisfied as well. I believed that we would be successfully closing the hiring process for this role soon. But as the saying goes: if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans and expectations. The hiring manager become ill, and we received no official feedback. We were waiting again, and to make things worse, I got ill too in the meantime.
The good news finally arrived at the end of January when the hiring manager decided to make an offer to Catherine. I called her with the information, the client called her afterwards as well, and the offer was on the way, according to Catherine’s expectations, and she was happy to accept.
This is one of the rare examples of a happy end to an abnormally long recruiting process. We faced so many obstacles and complications, and no one knew, if there would be a success in the end or not. In this case, we were successful thanks to all participants. In situations like this, there is no other option than to search for the best way to fill the role and keep all participants involved. It goes to show that one should not lose hope, even if the circumstances might seem truly unfavorable.