Your Hiring Manager Hates Your Top Candidate? Eat a Chicken Nugget


My pal and FOT contributor, Tim Sackett, wrote a blog post called Sackett’s Top 10 Fast Food Foods Of All Time. It spoke to me.  I’m not ashamed to say I love fast food.  I’m smart enough to only consume small quantities, but damn it, I’m ‘merican. 

However, there was a great omission from this top list.  Tim omitted the greatest of all fast food items > McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.  I was shocked. I couldn’t sleep and dare I say couldn’t eat. Ok, that is a big fat lie, I actually went and got a nugget 4-pack for lunch. 
Doesn’t this sound familiar?  When you forward your hiring manager the candidate that simply rocked your world. And then the hiring manager not only neglects to hire your top candidate, but they don’t even want to interview them.
  • “Dawn, I’m just not feeling this one”
  • “You know, I don’t like they had a misspelling on the resume”
  • “This one has 2 years of experience, I really need at least 2.5 years”
  • “Dawn, you know, we decided to change directions…”
  • Or in fairness to all great hiring managers, “Dawn, you missed the mark on this one”.

So here are a few tips you need to remember when your star candidate, aka your Chicken McNugget, gets the boot quickly:

  • Take a deep breath. Go for a walk. Shake it off.
  • You are not the decision maker. Sorry.
  • I know this is hard to believe, but recruiters/HR pros are biased too. Yes, you may have really liked that guy because you both have a pet pig.
  • It’s your job to keep at it. Just like it’s their job to hire the very best person, based on their team’s needs.  Not your team’s needs.  Your team’s needs include: I’ve got to get this job closed, I must prioritize other positions, or I don’t feel like dealing with this manager anymore.  That is not the hiring manager’s care or worry.
  • Understand the why before you react. Sometimes a manager says, “I’m just not feeling this candidate” because they don’t have the time to say quickly in an email, I’ve worked with Joe before, not a fit”. You’d be surprised how often this happens.
  • Don’t ask for the why in an email. Pick up the phone, jump on a video chat, walk over to their desk. Asking for a why in an email always sounds accusatory.
  • Show me the data.  No data – no credibility.  
  • Most importantly, continue to build up your trust bank. The more a hiring manager trusts you the more candid you can be with giving proper pushback.  

And if none of that works – go buy a Chicken McNugget 10-pack and drown your sorrow with the most delicious fried, processed meat nuggets ever created.




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