Hiring usually involves three parties: a candidate, a recruiter, and a hiring manager. Yet, when analyzing the hiring process, we tend to focus more on the relationship between the first two parties. Nevertheless, as recruiters, we know very well that the influence of the hiring manager on the candidate experience and the final result is not to be underestimated.

On the one hand, he/she plays the role of a decision-maker. On the other hand, the recruiter acts as a mediator between the candidate and the hiring manager.

In order to establish a successful collaboration, those main characters – recruiters and HM, should follow basic communication practices. After all, the relationship between you and your hiring manager can make or break the whole hiring process.

Use the Red Pen

During the intake meeting for a certain opening, print out the initial job description, and enter the meeting with the full intent of transforming it into an attractive, realistic, and well-targeted job ad. Instead of being just an order taker, we highly encourage you to add your HR input.

Another trick you can apply is to take a CV of a candidate you consider a fit for the team to the kickoff meeting. In this way, you are prepared with concrete examples with the goal to get live feedback and utilize it as guidance when rewriting the job description.

We are the Subject Matter Experts in the Recruiting field and possess the necessary labor market knowledge. Such a reputation is built on mutual trust in the competencies. In order to be a true Business Partner to the Hiring Manager, it’s good to go to these meetings with the clearance of having hard discussions and pushing back when you need to. This leads us to the next point.

Set a Regular Meeting

Maintaining regular contact with your hiring manager gives results and allows you to avoid finger-pointing and excuses. The best part is that if both sides have it on their calendar, it keeps you as a recruiter and the hiring manager accountable for the active participation in the process.

Perceiving these professional gatherings as an opportunity for reality-check on essential skills required, headcount needed, deadlines and other important details around the search could make it easier for you to stay on track of the process and to refine your Boolean search. Thus, you will present candidates with the right profile, get more approvals, and save yours and the time of the hiring manager.

Besides, routine meetings with the hiring manager help build rapport with that person. Regular discussions are a prerequisite for a profound understanding of the team dynamics and the HM’s preferred profile personality.

In case you are currently not working on any openings for the HM’s team, you can always cancel the meeting in advance and that way, each side gets their 15/30 minutes back at their advantage.

Gather as Much Information as Possible

Revise the old and dusty job description with the Hiring Manager into detail to convert it into a fresh, up-to-date, and dynamic job advertisement that draws attention. After clarifying which requirements are must-haves and which ones are nice-to-haves, narrow down the search by proactively asking the HM to choose three from the former category and three from the latter without which he/she wouldn’t preselect a candidate for an interview. Let them describe the requirements with their own words.

We recommend that you inquire about specific aspects of the role such as:

  • Reason for opening – replacement, team expansion, etc;
  • The personalities of the team members and the culture within the team;
  • The deadline for filing the role.

Exploit Research and Reporting as a Preventive Measure

Nowadays, CRM and ATS systems represent a perfect opportunity to showcase your results to the hiring manager by utilizing data at your advantage. You can justify your claims about the labor market trends and position progress as well. Try to provide them with as much relevant! analytics as possible.

For example, displaying comprehensive information from the last opening of the role such as candidates by stages, sources by efficiency and detailed statistics like sourced, screened, interviewed candidates, offers extended, accepted, and rejected is a golden mine for confirming your time and profile estimates. Thus, with the help of this data matching the expectations of the hiring manager with the real-world recruitment trends will facilitate the hiring process on both ends.

Another working strategy is to directly show the hiring manager job boards, ads, and employer branding initiatives of competitors and figure out what your best strategy for this position would look like.

This could be a precondition for building rapport and establishing trust in your own expertise.

“You will immediately gain the respect of the hiring manager if they see that you’re armed with data about the industry, competitors, geographies, and salaries.”

Katrina Collier, candidate engagement expert at The Searchologist consulting firm in London and author of The Robot-Proof Recruiter

Smartly Ask for Passive Collaboration on Their End

We are all familiar with the power of employee referral programs as a recruiting strategy. It is proven that new hires with source referrals show better performance and stay longer with the organization.

A good approach would be to release referral teasers within the team you are hiring for depending on the circumstances. A better strategy would be to add the HM and the rest of the team members on LinkedIn and look for potential candidates in their connections. Thus, your pipeline of warm leads expands and you get an insight recommendation about the person from their former colleague/friend.

As a recruiter, you could even compile a message, send it to the HM/team member so that he can directly approach the candidate. After all, it’s not the message, but the messenger that’s the ace up your sleeve.

Offer a Short Training on The Recruitment Process

Not all hiring managers actually possess interview experience. In light of this potential gap, it would be great to explain the process and even organize a short training session.

Include aspects such as:

  • How to form the perfect question to get the sought answers;
  • What red flags to look for;
  • How to recognize twisting;
  • How to analyze responses in a certain context.

Ask them to pay attention to their own unconscious and confirmation bias.

Show the HM Their Brand Ambassador Role

And last, but not least every person that interacts with the candidate represents the company and/or the team in some way and thus, plays the role of a brand ambassador and influences the employer brand in this candidate’s eyes, including hiring managers.

As recruiters, we are not only capable of conducting an interview and gathering the necessary information. It also comes naturally to us to professionally guard and further contribute to the development of the employer brand.

However, not all HM’s have had the chance to perceive themselves as brand ambassadors and develop such an approach. Our mission here is to take care of this void again through training or a respectful conversation. Because we should certainly make all the effort towards defending the employer brand and ensuring a stellar candidate experience at all steps, counting the interview with the HM.

To Conclude

Like any other relationship, communication moves it in the right direction. Be consistent, be realistic, and be transparent – these characteristics go a long way into teamwork, and cooperation with the hiring managers are no exception.