William Uranga, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board

William Uranga

Please welcome William Uranga to the HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board. William Uranga is the Director of Talent Acquisition at TiVo, Inc. William loves to explore and deploy new technology that makes business sense for and magnifies the best of his company’s culture. William has worked in not-for-profit, retail, software, web and consumer electronics over the past 15 years in the Silicon Valley. Full Bio »

Hiring Manager Problems Require Therapy

by William Uranga

I’ve been at a loss over how to effectively parent one of my four kids.  My youngest adopted child is 7 years old according to the calendar, but she is behaving like she’s 4. I’m not the problem, but I’m the one in therapy. Go figure.

You learn a lot in therapy. Age 0-3 years is where kids begin building up their brain as it relates to survival.  The most basic question is: “Will my needs be met?”.  Normally, a stable family environment is sufficient to address a child’s needs.  In other environments, such as an orphanage, survival is different.  Survival delays a child’s development in areas of long-term memory, cause-effect correlation and the ability to predict.

You can’t run before you walk.  I’ve learned that my expectations were unrealistic. I’m treating her by her calendar age (7yo), when she can only function at her developmental age (4 yo).  I’ve had to unlearn my assumptions and go back to the basics – covering things my child hasn’t learned. There is no class to send her to, no pill she can take, and no short cut.  It simply requires a different perspective – and a lot of time and attention.

Figuring out how to handle people challenges usually requires a different perspective, time and attention.

Does your recruiter have a challenging hiring manager?  Note that I’m not talking about a difficult search – but client management problems.  Most managers operate in a survival-mode; they are hiring to solve a problem, not necessarily to build a world-class team.  Being stuck in a downward cycle of frustration, complaints, and no future change in sight, may be sign that “therapy” is in order. If so, prescribe some to your recruiter before you lose the client, your recruiter, and your street cred.

I’m not a therapist, but I play one when teaching and coaching recruiters.  Here are some areas to discuss with your recruiter when you sit down with them:

  • A different perspective.  Assumptions can hurt.  Just because you have a hiring manager doesn’t mean they have hired at all, let alone hired well before.  They may be in pure survival mode at this time. They may have had the worst experience with previous recruiters, or never been taught the right way to interview someone.  No matter how experienced they appear to be, the title they hold, or how eloquent they speak – you cannot assume they know how to be a contributing partner in their hire.
  • Time. Perhaps, you’ve been a student of recruiting.  Now you need to turn your challenging manager into your thesis.  This involves time.  When was the last time you sat down with them over coffee or lunch?  Do you know what their world looks like from their perspective?  Attend the team meeting with his/her peers. Take a class in their discipline – my team found a project management helped us communicate better with our employee population who are mostly engineers.  Being able to speak their language or use processes that are familiar can make a big difference in understanding the skills needed for a new hire and how everyone works together.


  • Attention.  Recruiters take off running with their req hell-bent on the offer finish line.  The problem is they can only go as fast as their hiring manager—so it’s more of three-legged race.  John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, vblogs because he cannot do as well penning his communications.  What impediments does your hiring manager have in your recruiting process?  Are they constantly travelling? Not clear on their vision for this role?  Don’t think they need to sell the role to candidate?  Prefers voice communication to email (harder to document)?  Address those details.  Help them to walk better before you start the flurry of candidate slates.

As you help your recruiter handle those challenging hiring managers, both you and your recruiter(s) will be sought after more and more.  That’s good – no matter what economy we’re in.