Say This, Not That: Communicating Better with Hiring Managers

March 25, 2016 Mary Lorenz

The recruiter/hiring manager relationship: It’s complicated. You need each other, you want to do right by each other — but you don’t understand each other. And this breakdown in communication is what leads to feelings of frustration on both sides, drives a wedge between the two of you and, ultimately, brings you further from your ultimate (shared) goal: matching the right candidates with the right jobs.

When it comes to improving your relationship with hiring managers, it might take a little legwork on your part. (Or as Gandhi might say, be the change you want to see in your hiring manager partnership.) Use the following tips to bridge those communication gaps between you and your hiring managers, and build stronger partnerships as a result.

Say This: “Here’s what the data says.”
Not That: “You’re expectations are unrealistic.”
It’s not that hiring managers are trying to be unreasonable in their expectations. They just aren’t always aware of the external factors thwarting your ability to bring in qualified candidates – particularly for hard-to-fill positions. Use labor market data to set realistic expectations with hiring managers. Supply and demand data, for example, could show them which positions are particularly hard to fill and may mean longer time-to-fill or an adjustment of their strategy. Meanwhile, compensation data will help them understand the most competitive compensation rates so they can either adjust their salary offers or their requirements.

Say This: “Do you have a few minutes to talk over the phone?”
Not That: “I need more details.”
Need more details about a position or confused about what the hiring manager is looking for in terms of candidates? Pick up the phone and ask specific questions. A five-minute phone call is all it takes to learn more about the position – and avoid endless back and forth on email. Even better? Sit down and have a conversation in person. The more time and effort you invest upfront to understand the position, the more time (and frustration) you’ll save later.

Say This: “What are some specific ways I can do better?”
Not That: “We good?”
You’re not a mind-reader, but sometimes it feels as if hiring managers expect you to be when it comes to fulfilling their needs. Take the time to check in with your hiring manager regularly and ask if there’s anything you can do to improve. Though you may not like their feedback initially, opening the door to a candid conversation will ultimately strengthen your relationship and make you a more efficient team.

Say This: “You have until [time] on [date] to respond.”
Not That: “Please respond.”
Like many of us these days, hiring managers are often too busy to respond immediately to every phone call or email that comes their way; however, it’s important they understand that when it comes to recruiting, urgency is key. When presenting hiring managers with in-demand candidates, be clear that they need to act quickly or risk losing said candidates. Give them a solid deadline to respond, after which, you will start submitting the candidate to other clients.

Get five tips to make hiring managers fall in love with you (or at least like you a little more) with our free guide, “5 Steps to Make Hiring Managers Fall in Love With You.”

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