As an HR Director, and a former Director of Recruiting for a Fortune 500 multi-national, I cannot AGREE more with your cast on choosing between two viable candidates, and the need for Managers to be the one that handles communication and make the offer.
Recruiting/hiring IS the most important thing you do as a manager! Who you hire sets the foundation for your team, and your involvement in the hiring process sets the ground work for your relationship with each person going forward. Managers must be front and center in this process.
For those of you that work in a company that requires HR to do all of the interviewing and communication, they are doing this because of the very real legal liabilities inherent to the process. Untrained and unpracticed managers doing interviews earns your company lawsuits and ill will. It is essential to be properly trained and practiced in interviewing/offer/rejection.
If your HR or legal department refuses to let you take the reigns, talk to the head of the department and tell them, “I know how critically important getting the right people is, and the many legal hazards inherent to interviewing. That is why I want to be with the HR person as they conduct this process. I want to be sure I am learning from the pros by sitting in on those interviews and phone calls”. This way you will be as involved as possible and know, first hand, what is being said.
One cheviot; many states/countries require an offer to be made before conducting references/criminal background checks, and/or drug tests. In this case, add to the offer script, “This offer is of course contingent upon favorable outcomes of the drug testing and background checks”. To keep control of the timing, you say, “I can set up your drug test for this afternoon or first thing tomorrow morning, which works best for you?” (Note: You can check their background while they are taking time to consider the offer without delaying the process).
Do not tell candidate 2 no until you have that drug test/background check back on number 1 – you may be making an offer to your number 2.
Thanks for a great and timely cast guys!