Hiring managers and recruiters have a shared goal: to hire the best people and fill the role as fast as possible. Having a common goal and working in the same company should theoretically turn hiring managers and recruiters into best buddies.
Yet the reality is too often otherwise — in many cases, there is friction in their cooperation caused by different expectations from each side, and one doesn’t always understand the other’s role in the process. At times, this can make cooperation difficult.
While they are both trying to fill the position as soon as possible, hiring managers’ expectations are sometimes not aligned with the reality of the market. Hiring managers often expect their role to be prioritized by the recruiter, even if the recruiter has other open roles to fill. For example, a hiring manager may expect the recruiter to find dozens of great candidates and fill the role in three weeks because that’s what happened last year, but just because it happened once doesn’t mean it will happen every time.
These misunderstandings can pile up. So what can hiring managers and recruiters do to establish a good partnership and ensure they’re on the same page?
Set the expectations early on
Setting expectations early on could remove much of the friction from the recruitment process. Recruiters should always bring the data to the table for their first intake meeting and discuss with hiring managers factors such as how big the candidate pool is and how quickly this type of role is usually filled. That data could also provide additional insights, such as why hiring a senior candidate for a position could take five months but hiring a slightly less-experienced candidate could shorten the time to fill the position and increase the pool of potential candidates.
Another way recruiters can set expectations for hiring managers is to include them in the first part of the hiring process so they have a better understanding of how it all works. For example, recruiters can provide hiring managers with a list of qualified candidates and ask them to approach these candidates via email. Then check in every few days to see how your hiring manager is doing in terms of replies.
Chances are, candidates are not replying to every message. This is a great way for hiring managers to understand a little more about what recruiters face on a daily basis — and realize that repeatedly asking “How many people responded?” will not influence how quickly candidates respond.
Where are my candidates?
“Where are my candidates?” is another question that recruiters hear every few days or weeks when a role is open. When it is said out loud, it doesn’t matter how many roles recruiters have filled for that manager in the past — it’s as if any previous success disappears in seconds.
Finding people is not only the recruiter’s job; it is also partly the responsibility of every hiring manager.
That’s not to say that hiring managers need to start sourcing or calling candidates, but we know that candidates choose companies not only for their strong reputation but also for the people they’ll be working with. And often, the main influence in a candidate’s decision to accept or reject the offer is the hiring manager. People want to work with people they get along with and who care about helping them learn and grow.
That’s why recruiters should also ask hiring managers, “What did you do recently to attract candidates?” And that could mean “How many events have you attended?” “How many meet-ups did you have outside the company you visited?” “Did you share on social media that you are hiring?” “How many articles have you written to show that you are a person worth talking to?” “How many recruiters’ posts about your open role have you shared?” and “How many passive candidates have you contacted or had a coffee or lunch with?”
The positions that take the shortest time to fill usually have hiring managers that are eager to spread the word about their jobs and companies. When hiring managers share their knowledge and expertise outside of their own companies, that brings benefits like attracting outside talent, more referrals and higher offer acceptance rates.
Recruiter vs. hiring manager: Who is really responsible for hiring?
The answer is both. Finding people is not only the recruiter’s job, it is also the responsibility of the whole company and especially that of the hiring managers. They play a crucial part in the entire process not only because they are going to manage the new hires, but also because their strong personal brand attracts others. Recruiters help to build an employer brand to consistently attract suitable applicants to the company, and hiring managers should do their part here too.
For instance, if you have a candidate for a graphic designer role and that person gets an opportunity to work with your hiring manager or with the hiring manager who is most well known in the community, the candidate will most likely choose the well-known person because they know that they can learn more.
Your hiring manager could be better than that person, but if nobody knows that, it’s impossible to sell it to candidates. It is also about the impression.
If expectations are set during the intake meeting, the role is very often filled faster and the hiring manager is less likely to ask the recruiter, “Where are my candidates?” every second day.
Hiring managers should also act as recruiters and work on their personal brand outside the company. A good personal brand works like a good company brand — it attracts people. And the more the hiring managers are involved in approaching candidates at events, the more information they will have about their companies and why people love to work for them or why they don’t work for them. This will give them information from the market that they will not find on the internet.
A good partnership where hiring managers and recruiters speak freely to each other and the expectations are set early on raises the chance of better hiring results.
Jan Tegze is the author of Full Stack Recruiter and a results-oriented talent acquisition leader with extensive experience in full life cycle recruiting, and broad knowledge in international recruiting, sourcing, recruitment branding, marketing, and proactive, innovative sourcing techniques.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Indeed.