Improving the Strained Relationship between Recruiters and Hiring Managers

Hiring managers play a crucial role in the recruiting and hiring process, yet many recruiters do not describe their relationships with their hiring managers in a positive light. Likewise, many hiring managers say recruiters fail to truly understand their needs and deliver highly qualified candidates. As a result, hiring and retention suffers, as well as talent acquisition performance.

What can you do to improve your strained relationship? Consider these five techniques:

1. Spend Good, Ole Fashioned Quality Time Together

Leave your computer screen, put down your mobile device and enter each other’s worlds. Understanding each other’s environments, challenges and processes is critical to creating a shared vision for success, which is very important for a successful relationship.

Hiring Managers: Spend time briefing recruiters and giving them the kind of feedback they can learn from. Help them gain a deeper understanding of your business and the challenges your team faces on a daily basis. This enables them to better represent your business and screen candidates for the specialized skills they will need to succeed in the position.

Recruiters: Brief hiring managers on the recruiting process and the importance of a positive candidate experience. It’s your job to provide them with the tools and training they need to make the hiring process efficient and increase their chances of landing top talent. Recruiting, interviewing and selecting the right candidates are skills that many hiring managers receive no formal training for. Helping them develop those skills will not only improve your relationship, it will improve your talent acquisition performance.

2. Implement Service Level Agreements

Many smart talent acquisition firms implement service level agreements (SLAs) between recruiters and hiring managers . SLAs make for smoother candidate hand-offs and set clear expectations for who does what, when and how often.

Hiring Managers: This is your chance to ensure the recruiting process works for your team and that the recruiting team is sending the quantity and quality of candidates you need to hire someone in the desired timeframe. Be proactive about tweaking candidate criteria as your needs and goals change.  

Recruiters: Developing the SLA should be a collaborative process in which you and the hiring manager agree on each step of the hiring process and the timeline of those steps. Implementing an SLA can eliminate many of the frustrations recruiters experience related to feedback, wait time and unresponsiveness.

3. Make Decisions Based on Data

Talent acquisition professionals  have more data and analytic tools available than ever before. Use them to make decisions, answer questions and inform the hiring process.  

Hiring Managers: Choose a recruiting firm that uses analytic tools and trains their recruiters on how to use the data effectively. Part of their value to you is their knowledge of salaries, reviews and competitor insights. Ask for their input on this and have them show you the data to support their claims.

Recruiters: Elevate yourself from simply providing a service to being a trusted advisor. You are the expert in talent acquisition. If you can prove your value by helping hiring managers hire and retain the best talent, many of the barriers preventing you and your hiring managers from having good relationships will disappear. Experience and anecdotal evidence are helpful, but offering recommendations backed by data improves your credibility and sets you apart from other recruiters.

4. Take a More Candidate-Centric Approach

An important part of any healthy relationship is sharing a common interest. In this case, it should be your candidates. Understanding how candidates’ journeys and expectations are changing in the current job market and adjusting your communication and processes to follow suit is important to maintaining a positive candidate experience.

Hiring Managers:  Taking a candidate-centric approach to hiring means gaining a deeper knowledge of the candidates and their journeys, which will not only allow you to improve their experience, it will give you more clear insight on whether or not they’re a good fit for the position.

Recruiters: Keeping your focus on providing the best experience for candidates forces you to iron out kinks in the hiring process and clearly set expectations and timelines with your candidate. This, of course, requires communication with and accountability from the hiring manager. The shared goal of creating a positive candidate experience should create better alignment for recruiters and hiring managers.

5. Review the Recruiting and Hiring Process on a Regular Basis

As the job market, candidates’ expectations, technology and company needs change, so should your hiring process.

Hiring Manager: Keep recruiters informed of changes to your hiring process, team or company structure, management changes, etc. even if you’re not currently hiring for a position. This will eliminate bottlenecks and misinformation during the recruiting process.

Recruiters: It’s your job to apprise hiring managers of changes in the job market or candidate expectations when it comes to the recruiting and hiring process.  If their hiring process and communication strategy doesn’t match candidates’ expectations, it could hurt their ability to land top talent. It’s your job to help them keep their processes efficient and up to date.

Best-in-class talent acquisition happens when great relationships between recruiters and hiring managers exists. Don’t let finger pointing, miscommunications and unrealistic expectations hold you back from reaching your full potential. You know you are stronger when you work together. Start now.

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