This isn't a rant and it's not intended to be a big complainy post about hiring managers. I've been fortunate to work with amazing hiring managers in my career; ones that have really been a highlight of my job (OK, mostly just at Microsoft). The few that are more difficult to work with just needed some guidance. One of the great things about working with marketing people is that if you can frame your recruiting challenge as a business issue, they get it. Most of the time. And many of them can sympathize with the rock finding mission.
The man: Find me a rock
Me: Can you tell me what kind of rock you would like me to find?
The man: No, just bring me some rocks and I'll tell you when I see it
Me: Is this the rock? What about this rock? This rock? OK, this rock thing isn't working for me.
Does this sound familiar? No matter what position you are in, chances are you have gone on a rock finding expedition. It's frustrating. And the rock rarely ever feels like the right one in the end anyway.
Hiring managers are busy people. We get that. But if hiring managers don't have time to write job specs (not just a job description, but actual specs), then how do they have time to interview? Or onboard? And isn't hiring one of THE most important things we do?
This is actually part of the reason why I enjoy pipeline recruiting so much; you find the candidate first and then look for the position to match. It flips the process, makes hiring managers compete for talent (nicely, of course), and it focuses the attention on the candidate versus the position. The position is important, but my passion lies with the candidate experience.
But most recruiters serve a particular business...with hiring managers...with or without job specs. In the best case scenario, they have a manager that is supportive of them firing an uncommitted client. In the worst case, they are on a rock finding expedition. Best case: they are equipped to advise the hiring manager on candidate profiles they should be looking for to fill in skill gaps on their team, advise on the availability of talent in the marketplace. Worst case: they are an order taker (and sometimes, that's fine).
Since we are upstream in the candidate generation process, we see recruiters struggling with this. If the recruiters can't get the specs from the hiring manager, my team can't help them.
I remember back to my line recruiting days, when I advised hiring managers that I was going to close down their search if they didn't have time to work with me on complete job specs. What I was really thinking was "You don't have time for recruiting on your req? Me neither."