Recruiting, Talent

How Talent Leaders Can Improve the Hiring Manager-Recruiter Relationship

There are many steps in the recruitment process and many factors that contribute to its success. But the foundation is largely built on one thing: a strong relationship between hiring managers and recruiters.


Source: Black Salmon / Shutterstock

This tandem must work closely together to source, engage, interview, and hire the talent that will take your organization into the future. The hiring manager is the expert on the job being filled and knows what skills and personality are needed to do it well, while the recruiter brings expertise on the current labor market and what is realistic as far as the talent available and the timeline to bring them in. When they’re both on the same page, talent acquisition runs like a well-oiled machine, improving time to fill, quality of hire, and other important metrics.

In many cases, the dynamic between hiring managers and recruiters is not as strong as it needs to be. A troubling statistic shows that 57% of recruiters feel that hiring managers do not understand recruiting, while 63% of hiring managers feel that recruiters do not understand the jobs they are filling. This disconnect leads to talent acquisition dysfunction, resulting in long vacancies that cost your organization in productivity, morale, and the bottom line.

Let’s examine why this happens and explore steps that you as a talent leader can take to keep hiring managers and recruiters working together harmoniously.

Causes of Hiring Manager-Recruiter Friction

When hiring managers and recruiters hit an impasse, it usually comes down to problems with expectations and communication. Recruiters—and hiring managers—not fully understanding what is expected of them, as well as what they should reasonably expect from the process, often leads to confusion, disappointment, and frustration between both parties.

According to Jobvite’s “2017 Recruiter Nation Report,” 56% of the recruiters surveyed said the biggest bottlenecks in hiring come from hiring managers not moving candidates through the process quickly enough. This often happens because hiring managers are not satisfied with the quality of candidates recruiters submit to them.

Recruiters, in turn, often feel that hiring managers have unrealistic expectations regarding candidates’ qualifications and what is reasonable for the position. Once this pattern of miscommunication is established, it is hard to fix.

Hiring managers must be clear and open with recruiters about what they expect in both procedure and results. They should also expect to play an active role in the process. This includes tapping into their own networks, actively engaging with applicants, and providing timely feedback.

It’s up to recruiters to let hiring managers know about any factors that are keeping them from meeting expectations. Providing feedback is one of those tasks people often say they’re too busy for or that they feel isn’t taken seriously. But it is essential for success. Without it, no one knows what to expect or why expectations aren’t being met.

Create Alignment

As a talent leader, you have the power to build an environment where your hiring managers and recruiters can enjoy an effective partnership. You also can enlist a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider to bring in proven approaches to positive collaboration.

For example, here are steps Cielo takes to foster communication and trust between hiring managers and recruiters:

Encourage teamwork: Hiring managers and recruiters are on the same team working toward the same goal: consistently bringing top talent to your organization. Remind them of this early and often, highlighting aspects they can both impact.

With candidate experience, for instance, recruiters control the early part of the process, but it’s up to hiring managers to make sure the candidate’s impression of the company stays strong once interviewing begins. Aligning shared goals will help the two parties get on the same page for key milestones, deliverables, and turnaround times. Hiring managers should expect to play an active role in sharing their professional networks, as they are functional experts.

Regular touch points: Hiring managers and recruiters need to talk to each other regularly—it should be a scheduled part of the process rather than something that only occurs when there’s a crisis. They need to collaborate early and often to ensure a successful partnership.

So, set up an agreed-upon check-in frequency that will support transparency, collaboration, and progress. Hiring managers usually give recruiters feedback and understand what feedback is and isn’t helpful, while recruiters ultimately trust hiring managers to be up front about results, even if they’re not optimal. And be sure both are making time for voice-to-voice communication and are not solely relying on e-mails.

Train hiring managers: Despite the label, hiring is not the main job for most hiring managers. They are kept plenty busy with their everyday tasks and aren’t always reviewing résumés, interviewing candidates, and managing recruiters. Many may only hire one or two new employees a year. That’s why it’s vital to walk them through your organization’s recruitment process so that they know what they’re responsible for and how best to work with recruiters.

This could include training on how sourcing is done, best practices for job interviews, and reinforcing the importance of regular check-ins on status. The better they perform their tasks within the process, the better they will get along with recruiters, increasing the likelihood of better candidates.

Hiring managers and recruiters are essential to building a strong talent acquisition function, but neither can do it alone. Following these steps will ensure they work together well and get the results you want.

As Executive Vice President of Client Services at Cielo, Tara plays a critical role in enhancing the client experience by applying innovative techniques and creative problem solving to find new ways to meet organizations’ recruiting needs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *