Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Tough Talks Tuesday: How to Ask Leadership for Help When Tools or Processes Are Not Working

You’re in the hiring process trenches. You know what holds you back from obtaining top talent and what supercharges your strategy. But you don’t have the final say when it comes to which tools and processes stay or go. 

The steps you take to secure (or remove) tools or stages from your hiring process are necessary for checks and balances. HR leaders must ensure the budget remains intact while keeping the entire HR team productive and effective. 

Unfortunately, those procedures sometimes stand in the way of implementing the tools and processes your team needs to operate efficiently. In fact, 27% of talent professionals say the No. 1 obstacle to using new tools and trends is company leadership, according to our How to Make the Most of Your Hiring Budget report

As a dedicated hiring professional, it’s your job to speak up and let leaders know when their tools and processes fall short. Here’s how you can explain why some solutions look good on paper but aren’t working for your team, and bring new solutions to the table:

Show-up with the facts

Tension tends to run high when unexpected or unwanted information is based on opinions. Decision-makers spend the majority of their time deciphering between essentials and nice-to-haves. When you approach them with issues regarding tools or processes they’ve implemented to better your team, they need more from you than, “it isn’t working out.” You need to dig in and provide data or at least direction so they can make informed decisions. 

Offer metric-based facts proving the current system isn’t benefiting the hiring process. For example, say you’ve noticed issues with processes or tools which have led to slowed time-to-hire. Show leaders the exact metrics over the period from before implementing the change to now. 

Then, use your expertise and insider knowledge to discuss why you believe those metrics have taken a downward shift and how they’re negatively impacting the company’s hiring goals. 

Once you’ve backed up your point, discuss solutions to get back to previous effective processes, or add new tools already proven effective by other companies. 


Ask for back-up

Your sole opinion on the matter isn’t necessarily enough to help leaders make a concrete decision. They need to see the big picture. However, having too many voices in one meeting can be overwhelming. 

Ask colleagues to share specific experiences to reinforce your point and back the data. Collect as many details as possible so leaders can review real employee feedback from different perspectives. 

Consider a colleague who missed an opportunity to connect with a potential candidate because of a software malfunction. Write down every detail leading up to that moment, such as what role the candidate was qualified for, why the hiring pro felt they were a great fit, and how the software caused the missed opportunity. 

You may even want to put together a small team of peers who can speak personally on the issues that arise in various departments and answer specific questions for decision-makers.

Think like a decision-maker

Anxiety increases when there are too many unknowns. The stress of walking into a meeting without being able to anticipate leaders’ reactions to your opening thoughts is intimidating. Decrease your worries and increase self-confidence by thinking like a decision-maker when prepping for their questions. 

Examine why the tool isn’t working from various perspectives. For instance: 

  • Budgeting: You’ve measured the ROI, and it’s not worth the cost
  • Productivity: Your team is spending more time troubleshooting than they are sourcing candidates
  • Public relations: There’s been an increase in negative reviews of the company’s hiring process

Seeing the situation from many different angles equips you with answers for those tough-to-navigate, in-the-moment questions about hiring tools and processes. 


Mentally prepare for pushback

You shouldn’t be entering into a confrontational situation. Unfortunately, that’s often what pushback feels like, especially when it’s coming from leaders. 

Mentally prepare yourself before entering the meeting. Remind yourself to breathe before responding to help you stay calm and keep the discussion conversational. Also, be confident in the fact that you’re prepared to back yourself up with facts. Use this confidence to keep the conversation moving forward while remaining open-minded.

Have solutions prepped and ready

Everyone involved in the hiring process has one goal in mind — hit short- and long-term hiring goals. That’s because accomplishing the objectives leads to hitting short- and long-term company goals. 

Demonstrate to leaders your goals are aligned by sharing effective alternatives. Discuss how the benefits of these alternatives resolve the issues you’re currently facing with other tools or processes.

 


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Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 5,000+ customers in over 100 countries.