Hiring managers are often a recruiter’s sole window into an organization, building good relationships with them is key to finding talent resulting in a quality hire with low turnover. Strong relationships between hiring managers and recruiters are a key driver of talent acquisition performance. Recruiters and recruitment agencies are responsible for building those relationships, typically through improving the hiring manager experience: e.g., working hard to deliver higher quality talent.
Align with Hiring Managers on Talent Acquisition
It’s critical that recruiters have access to data relating to the organization’s strategy, career development tract, and culture. Building alignment with hiring managers can mean different things depending on whether you’re in the same organization or working externally, but it always means having:
- Access to the hiring matrix
- Access to job profiles and existing employee profiles
- Benchmark data for hiring and talent acquisition
- Performance profiles
- Updated performance requirements from HR
- Access to competency frameworks
Why does all this matter? Having access to performance data, job profiles, and employee profiles allows you to put together a talent pool based on what the hiring manager wants, people already working in those roles, and what success looks like in those roles. In short, you can find significantly higher quality candidates by leveraging the resources that are likely already available in the organization.
Work to Become a Trusted Business Advisor
Hiring managers are often far detached from the talent pool. The smaller the organization or the more the organization leverages internal talent, the more this will be true. Many are aware of this. Recruiters can leverage this to become trusted business advisors, offering sound advice, helping to make decisions, and helping the Hiring Manager to get more from each hire. This ties into the previous tip, because you have to have a strong understanding of the organization, its strategy, goals, and performance metrics in order to make this work. You’ll also likely have to spend additional time on each hire, so that you can add real value to the team:
- Get to know the team in question. Even if you’ve hired for similar roles, spend some time meeting with the placement team to decide what they want and need. If you can, use personality assessments to figure out what personalities are in the team, and what might complement or benefit it.
- Talk to people in similar roles, either in the team or in the organization. If possible, speak to people who are “successful” in their role. What does success look like for them? What do they think the most critical aspects of the job are.
- Create an open feedback loop with the hiring manager, so they can communicate their needs in real time, communicate if what they are looking for has changed, and communicate anything new, such as feedback on declined candidates.
Create Higher Quality Talent Pools
Build talent pools around team, organization, and hiring manager needs. This means pre-screening candidates, using personality tests and behavioral assessments, and asking some interview questions before the candidate ever makes it to an interview.
- Use personality and behavioral assessments to map the candidate to the organization. You can highlight strengths and weaknesses, as well as why the candidate will and will not fit into the organization before the hiring manager ever looks at their profile.
- Conduct an interview. Knowing what to expect, including what the hiring manager will likely get as answers to questions will greatly improve your ability to recommend valuable candidates. This means you may want to conduct a kick-off meeting or interview with every candidate.
- Build candidate profiles using personality assessments, skills assessments, and past experience, so that the hiring manager has easy access to data.
In most cases, hiring managers have little training in how people work or what they are looking for. If your role is influential in the organization, ensuring that hiring managers have this training may be critical to improving the experience of hires as a whole. For recruiters, this means specifically working to tie the candidate to critical competencies and skills, as highlighted by the hiring manager, while highlighting other advantages they might bring to the role.
Many hiring managers lack any real way to communicate with candidates outside of a single interview. This can be a mistake. Creating opportunities for open lines of communication, several meetups, and ways to showcase the real work experience of the candidates can greatly improve the quality of the hire. Here, utilizing tools like open days, where multiple candidates come in for a few hours to visit the organization and get a feel for its culture, trial workdays, trial work assessments, and more casual opportunities for communication can help a great deal.
- Create communication opportunities directly relevant to the importance of the role
- For most roles, “culture days” or “open workdays”, where candidates can come into the office for a few hours or more, can be hugely beneficial in helping teams and hiring managers make a decision
- Allow the hiring manager to schedule several interviews with the candidate.
The more opportunities for communication with the candidate, the more the hiring manager will be secure in their hiring decision. Research by The Talent Board also shows that 70% of candidates research organizations before going into them, and creating more opportunities for communication means building more opportunities for a better mutual decision.
Some hiring managers will have unrealistic expectations, such as “find a candidate within 7 days and make a hire”. Most will be much more realistic and will be happy with a timeframe for the process, interviewing, and hiring. Establishing clear lines of communication so that the hiring manager can update the recruiter, and vice versa, when things change is also critical. Recruiting is a partnership with hiring, whether recruiting is handled by an internal team or individual or an external organization. Clearly communicating what is expected, why, and when is critical in any partnership.
Manage the Process
Hiring managers often wear multiple hats. Hiring candidates isn’t their only job, unless they’re in a very large organization. Even then, hiring managers are often team or department leads, not solely dedicated to hiring. Take charge of the process, scheduling calls, scheduling checkups, and connecting with the hiring manager after interviews to see how things went, how they liked the candidate, and what to do better next time. If you can touch base and use each successful and unsuccessful candidate as a learning process, you can quickly learn exactly what the hiring manager needs and better tailor the talent pool for them.
This may result in managing organizing interviews, negotiating terms with the candidate once the hire goes through, and ensuring that both the hiring manager and the candidate have everything they need.
Hiring managers rely on recruiters and recruitment firms to supply candidates, pre-screen talent pools, and organize interviews and negotiations with clients. Recruiters must always work to balance the needs of hiring managers and candidates, but it is eventually the hiring manager who matters most. Taking time to improve the hiring manager experience by offering data, real communication, and highly targeted talent pools will greatly boost your ability to deliver great candidates to the organization.