Should Your CEO Be Interviewing Every Single Potential Hire?

Marissa Mayer seems to be single-handedly turning the corporate hiring world on its head.

First, the new Yahoo CEO made national headlines when she became one of the only pregnant women in history to be promoted to a top-level executive position at a publicly traded company. Now, she’s sent another shock wave through the HR industry with her announcement that she will personally be reviewing every new hire that Yahoo makes.

Mayer’s hands-on approach to the hiring process has a lot of people talking. While some HR pros are lauding her for taking the bull by the horns, many others are complaining that such micromanagement will actually hinder Yahoo’s recruiting efforts.

Maybe this works, given the circumstances at Yahoo

All in all, the controversy begs the question, “Should CEOs really review every new hire for their company, or should they focus their energies on more pressing issues?”

As seasoned HR professionals, here’s what we think: A CEO who possesses both the time and enthusiasm to review all of the hiring decisions made by their company is about as common as an albino alligator. This is why Mayer’s policy has become such a spectacle. But as unusual as the policy may be, it makes sense when you consider the circumstances of Mayer’s promotion.

Yahoo was having major recruiting trouble before it brought in Mayer. As a current (but anonymous) employee told Business Insider, one of the company’s biggest problems over the past few years was that “B-players” were hiring “C-players” who “were not fired up to come to work” and were “tolerated for too long.” So the company was in drastic need of someone who could really whip the HR department into shape.

Mayer’s pedigree must also be taken into account. She’s a former master of Google’s legendary hiring system and is famous for her analytical tendencies. Where she’s from, the CEO doesn’t just review new hires – he or she meets them personally during the 16th interview. As such, it makes sense for her to carefully manage Yahoo!’s hiring system until she can get her new hiring chief, Jacqueline Reses, settled in.

Probably not a long-term strategy

But the fact that Mayer is running her company’s hiring system this way doesn’t imply that other CEOs should do the same. Her policy, though temporary, is already taking its toll on the company’s recruiting efforts. According to the anonymous Yahoo employee, the company has already lost out on two top candidates who accepted other job offers while they were waiting for Mayer to review their resumes.

Clearly, this is not a viable long-term strategy for the Internet giant.

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That said, there’s a big difference between a company with 15 employees and a company with 15,000 employees. If you’re the CEO of a small start-up, you should review every new hire. You’ll be working with these folks personally, so it’s important to make sure that they fit with your vision for the company.

Not a one-size-fits-all process

However, when your company has a few hundred employees and a competent HR department, there’s no reason for the CEO to be directly involved in the hiring process. If the system isn’t broke, as they say, then don’t fix it.

In the end, hiring isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. What Marissa Mayer is doing may be working at Yahoo, but that doesn’t mean that it would work for other companies.

If you’re the CEO of a medium-sized company and you genuinely want to improve your hiring, there are better ways to go about it than personally reviewing every serious candidate’s resume. Here’s what we believe: hiring software can make your hiring process far more efficient, and it’s a great place to start.

This article originally appeared on The Resumator Blog.


4 Comments on “Should Your CEO Be Interviewing Every Single Potential Hire?

  1. An effective but inefficient technique, best used when you want to slow hiring down for example during a restructuring or downsizing.  Clearly not sustainable.  Seems like she’s trying to send a message to hiring managers to get serious about their decisions.  Management by intimidation of a sort.  She’d be better off shaking up HR and giving them the means to evaluate hiring decisions and authority to challenge hiring decisions.  Also, given her analytical tendencies, I think she’d want some data on decisions that went wrong and identify common factors/underlying causes to root out the responsible systemic issues and/or individuals.  As a next step take a hard look at performance management.

  2. 1. B players hiring C players!.
    Shouldn’t she be focussing her energies in fixing the root cause?. .  
    2. So you whip the HR Department for tolerating poor hiring. Yep, that makes sense.
    Only time will tell, if Mayer & Reses will succeed and tell us all about how they did it.

    All HR should wish them luck because we could use them to convince CEOs and top management as business case. The downside is, proving the point that a non-HR background person like Reses could make a better HR leader, at least in addressing the C & B players.  

  3. While Marissa Mayer’s involvement in Yahoo’s hiring process is something of an outlier — as few CEOs involve themselves to that degree — many hiring managers make a similar mistake when they micromanage the process, from sifting through resumes, to scheduling calls, to seeing candidates on multiple interviews. As is the case with Ms. Mayer, the process becomes labor and time-intensive, adds “lag,” and compromises a systematic, objective, best-practice approach to hiring — which is simply the only way to assure repeatable success, particularly when you’re looking to hire top candidates who are in all likelihood fielding offers from more responsive employers. 
    While the “human” element plays an integral part in hiring, many of the initial phases of candidate evaluation are  more subject to human error than they have to be. Today, the best candidate processing and assessment technology makes the initial screening and assessment more systematic and reliable, makes each candidate engagement meaningful and revealing, combining speed and precision — without even requiring candidates to submit a resume. In short, it offers a better mechanism for skimming the cream of the cream —  enabling staffing professionals — or the Marissa Mayers of the world — to focus their expertise where it has most value: separating the good from the great, while shortening the hiring window and making sure you don’t lose top candidates because you’ve got a busy schedule!

  4. Funny she wants to do that. Sandberg in her recent speech to college grads said that she stopped every interview when her team finally told her she was the bottleneck that was slowing down the process.

        I guess it is fashionable to come up with a crazy idea in the guise of shaking things up even when everyone around you knows it is b.s. But they just shut up and don’t call out the idiocy because who wants to challenge the new boss and her/his shenanigans.

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