How to Build a Better Relationship with Recruiters

Matthew Tarpey


On paper, hiring managers and recruiters should have no trouble getting along. After all, they all want the same thing – to place the right candidates in the right jobs. But, alas, from time to time hiring managers and recruiters just don’t quite see eye to eye. Here are a few tips to avoid unnecessary difficulties and to build a lasting and successful recruiter relationship.

Interact Face to Face

There’s a reason you wouldn’t hire a new employee without first meeting them face to face. In-person interaction is an important and useful way to get a feel for a person and determine whether they’re a good fit. Meeting a recruiter before you start working together can go a long way toward establishing the trust and clear communication necessary for a successful partnership. 

If you already have a recruiter you’ve worked with for a while, scheduling occasional in-person check-ins to touch base and make sure you’re still on the same page is a good way to keep the partnership strong and successful.

Start with Clear Expectations

Clearly communicating what you expect from a recruiter is one of the most essential steps to building a strong relationship. Set up a meeting and be prepared to discuss everything from specifics about the role or roles you’re looking to fill, the essential qualifications and their priority, to potential talent sources and optimal methods of communicating with candidates. You should also work with the recruiter to establish what you expect from them, what they need from you, and a process that works for you both. 

By working with the recruiter to develop a set of agreed-upon expectations, you’re signaling that you respect their expertise and input and you're paving the way for open and honest communication moving forward.

Collaborate and discuss the opportunity profile until it is completely accurate. Stop the vague parameters and start getting on the same page.

Keep Communicating

Finding and hiring quality talent is rarely quick or easy task. The hiring process is just that – a process. And over the course of that process, things may change. Perhaps the requirements of the role are adjusted based on the talent available or because of some internal structural shifts. Changes in needs happen, and it’s important for hiring managers to communicate with recruiters throughout the search process.

Remember, the hiring manager/recruiter relationship is a collaborative effort to find and hire the best talent for the position. If you’re dissatisfied with the candidates your recruiter is sending you, or if the search parameters have changed for any reason, get together to review and update those agreed-upon expectations and work together to get back on the same page. 

In-person meetings are a valuable way to make sure nothing is lost in translation, but having a written record of established expectations for everyone to refer back to that can be updated over time is also a good way to stay in sync. All it takes is a simple email delineating agreed upon expectations and commitments.

Build a Pipeline

When you find a recruiter you work well with, it’s important to keep in touch – even if you’re not immediately hiring. Relationships – even professional ones – require upkeep (albeit varying kinds). Keeping your recruiter updated on current team goals and potential future hiring needs, even if they never actually materialize, is a good way to be prepared to quickly respond should any unexpected shifts in your talent requirements arise.

More than anything else, communication will sink or save a hiring manager-recruiter relationship. Here are 5 more tips for improved communication with recruiters.


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