Both talent acquisition professionals and hiring managers are responsible for making that next great hire, yet it can feel like they have drastically different objectives.
As the people on the frontlines of the talent pipeline, recruiters might substantiate that their goals is to go after candidate quotas – often across many departments and roles. Hiring managers, on the other hand, have the final say on the hire and need to get their open requisition filled as quickly as possible and with the highest quality candidate, as it will greatly affect their department, and in turn, their career.
This cognitive dissonance is at the root of the conflict between recruiters and hiring managers. However, for both parties to be successful, teamwork is essential.
Let’s dive deeper into the importance of the recruiter and hiring manager relationship, before uncovering why and how their partnership can be strengthened.
Recruiter & Hiring Manager Relationship
Bersin by Deloitte shared their surprising #1 predictor of talent acquisition performance:
“The most influential predictor of TA performance outcomes is a strong relationship between the recruiter and the hiring manager; in fact, this relationship is four times more influential than other TA performance drivers…And our interviews found that the majority of TA leaders agree that recruiters who have the closest relationships with hiring managers outperform recruiters who do not have such close relationships.”
In terms of determining success in talent acquisition, this relationship between recruiter and hiring manager is more important than any other inter-departmental relationship. How can you, the recruiter, strengthen this relationship?
Strengthening The Partnership
A relationship is a two-way street. Recruiters must make an effort to gain the trust of hiring managers; hiring managers must make an effort to gain the trust of the recruiters… and yet, the burden to strengthen the relationship is on the recruiter. The recruiter is the one who is perceived as the professional in this hiring endeavor; the one who is expected to be the “talent advisor;” the one who is expected to add value to the hiring manager’s life. Let’s talk logistics: how can the recruiter tighten the relationship with the hiring manager, and in effect, move the needle on Bersin’s #1 indicator of talent acquisition performance?
Emily Gordon, VP of Global Transformation Services at Seven Step RPO, argues that recruiters must do these three things to strengthen their relationship with hiring managers: (1) see through the hiring manager’s lens, (2) educate hiring managers on the state of the talent acquisition process, and (3) set them up for hiring success.
Deloitte summarizes how to strengthen the relationship in five steps: (1) assess the current maturity of relationships with hiring managers, (2) develop a strategy for open positions, (3) conduct recruiting strategy kick-off meetings, (4) align expectations with service-level agreements (SLAs), and (5) measure progress.
So those are eight PowerPoint-worthy bullet points… but how will you implement them?
It starts with the recruiter setting clear expectations so the two have one aligned hiring strategy. In order to see an upcoming business objective through the lens of the hiring manager, the recruiter must meet with the hiring manager. In that meeting, the two must agree on what a quality hire looks like and what steps are necessary to make a quality hire happen. Then the recruiter can be clear about what steps of the recruiting process they will help with, and what steps of the recruiting process must be executed by the hiring manager.
The burden of managing expectations is also on the recruiter. As the expert on candidate market conditions, the recruiter should follow up with ways to increase quality candidate volume, tips for evaluating candidates, and ultimately help the hiring manager reasonably understand, ‘is this the best candidate we can get right now?’ Throughout this process, stay in constant contact. Whether offline or online, the recruiter should be on the lookout for the hiring manager’s interview schedule and reviews of candidates.
Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the process. You two, the recruiter and hiring manager, are working together to welcome new talented people into your company. It is a privilege to hire, and it is a privilege to strengthen the relationship with your existing colleagues. If you strengthen that relationship, and pass a bit of your expertise onto the hiring manager, everyone is better off. At the end of day, building all-star hiring managers is worth the recruiter’s time because it serves the recruiter’s interest. Won’t your job be much more enjoyable if every hiring manager knew what they were doing?