QUESTION: Mike, I need help getting through HR. I contacted a chief technology officer of a firm and spoke for one hour each to all of his directs who have hiring needs. I sent in a good person that the manager wants to interview, but HR is saying there is no role. I looped into the CTO and the hiring manager, but there is no movement yet. How can I push this forward?  – Jen, New York 

Mike answered this question Live on a recent coaching call. Please keep reading to gain insights and experience what our clients experience in our Group Coaching Calls. 

Jen: Hey Mike.  

Mike: How are you?  

Jen: Good. How are you?  

Mike: Good. So, tell me. I figured it would just make my job easier. The conversation you had with the hiring manager or the chief technology officer says there are these roles. HR says there is no role. Have you had any subsequent conversations with the CTO or the hiring managers?  

Jen: Yes, I did. Keeping in mind that any email would be either forwarded or read by the HR person, I was very delicate about how I sent that over. I was like, “You know, hey listen, I had approach HR about this, and they said the role was filled. And enjoy the rest of your weekend type thing.” I said that directly to the CTO and the manager that I reported to, so they were all looped in as to what was happening. I said, “Well, how are we going to do this? I would love to be able to send people into you, but if this guy is saying there is no role, what am I going to do?” They said, “Oh, there is a role. There is a role. There is funding. He just does not know yet”, all this other stuff. Meanwhile, I am sitting here, like with 11 different jobs. I want to work on them, but at the same time do not want the HR cog in the wheel gumming up the works here.  

Mike: Which they love to do.  

Jen: Yep.  

Mike:  You have a couple of things potentially right there. There could be a role, and HR does not want to outsource it. One thing I always ask, would the fee come out of your budget or HR’s budget? I would not ask like that now but in future assignments.  Then I know where the locus of control is. If it is HR’s budget, these guys and gals, sometimes their hands are tied because HR does not want to pay a fee on this because they think their six-year-old internal recruiter with a LinkedIn subscription can fill all of these all by themselves.  

Jen: Right.  

Mike: Generally, though, I would go back to the CTO, and I would leave a voicemail and say, “Can we have an off-the-record conversation real quick regarding these openings?” because they are not going to forward that voicemail. You are right; you have to be very careful what you put in writing because whatever you put in writing is permanent, and anybody can see it. But a voicemail, if you were the CTO, I’d go, “Jen, how do we fix this?”  

Jen: Right.  

Mike: Because I cannot do anything without approval. If they say something like, “Oh, you have got to trust me.”  I do, but you are paying for the sins of your predecessors. I have trusted people, got engaged, and I saw things like this freeze up because they did not have the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed.”  

Hopefully, as a good client who has been with us a while, you uncovered their pain of why the positions are open and its consequences not getting filled. Did you do that? Please say yes.  

Jen:  No. I did not because I knew the CTO was just coming into the role, and I know that they just IPO’d last year, so it was kind of like . . . 

Mike: But they know, he knows. He or she knows.  

Jen: Yea.  

Mike: This is how I go back to them. When I get them on the phone, if you are the CTO, I go, “Jen, you told me,” and I would probably pick, you said there are 11 positions, but I would pick one or two that were like, wow, because there are always one or two they want to be filled first. “You told me, Jen, if this person was not on board in November that your critical, stage one rollout of upgrading the system or designing this or doing that was going to falter. Every week this goes by, we are pushing this into December or January. If it is not filled until January, does that affect your business at all?” That is what you want to do to get them into a panic. If you get them back on the phone, I would still have that conversation. The question that I did not ask you is, “When do you need this filled by?” Then I usually bump it out. “What if it takes a month longer?”  

You will hear one or two things from people. “You know, we are more about hiring the best available person than filling it quickly.” Those were things when I was newer in the business; I would go, “Oh, that makes sense.” The older I got, I go, “They are never going to hire.” It is better that we get the best person than rush through this is looking for Mr. or Ms. Perfect.  

I think what you can do to pull it forward is leave a voicemail and go, “Can I jump on the line with you for like three minutes?  I have an idea.” I have an idea. Then your idea is . . . “Before I share my idea, give me an update on the status of this role because HR says it does not exist. The idea is, are they aware of the business consequences of you not filling this? Have you shared that with them? Can you set up a joint call between me, you, and them where we can iron this out?  Because without an agreement, I cannot start.”  

Jen: Right. Exactly.  

Mike: Then, if they do not get back to you, I would say again, you are the CTO, I would go, “Jen, I have not heard back. My assumption is, as HR told me, the role does not exist, and I will leave you alone.” I wait like two weeks.  

Jen: Okay.  

Mike: Does that give you enough?  

Jen: Yea, yea, yea. That gives me enough.  

Mike: You can always take those steps and bring them to our group Zoom on Monday. Just put, “Hey, Mike, I have a follow-up on our situation.” You can throw that in there, and we will make sure we get to it on Monday.  

Jen: That would be awesome. I would really appreciate that, Mike. Thank you.  

Mike: Thank you, Jen. Great hearing your voice again.  

Alright, ladies and gentlemen, it is all in the setup. It is all in uncovering. One of the ways I could always push things forward is I always related their reason for wanting to fill it when things got bogged down, whether it was HR, whether it was them not getting back because “they were busy.”  

You told me if this is not filled, this person is not going to make the national sales meeting, and it is going to take you two months to bring them up to speed of what you could have handled if they were just at those three days of meetings, whatever it was, people do things for their own reasons. I always want to know, a hiring manager and a candidate, I want to know their reason for why they want to move forward so when things get gummed up, it is not like, “get back to me.”  It is “get back to me because you told me _(fill in the blank)_.  

Awesome question, Jen.

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