The recruiter-hiring manager relationship: It's complicated. You need each other and want to do right by each other, but you don't always understand each other. This breakdown in communication can lead to feelings of frustration on both sides, driving a wedge between the two of you. Ultimately, a fragmented relationship can bring you further from your ultimate shared goal: matching the right candidates with the right jobs.
When it comes to improving the recruiter and hiring manager relationship, it might take a little legwork on your part. Use the following tips to bridge those communication gaps and build stronger partnerships as a result.
Start on the right foot
First impressions matter. At the initial intake meeting, start on the right foot by clearly explaining your goals and priorities for the hiring process. Work together to determine a candidate profile for the open position. Consider the position's responsibilities, ideal qualifications, and performance measurements. It may be helpful to share examples of past candidates who were successful in the same or similar positions.
Set realistic expectations
Recruiters can't find the right candidates if they're working with impossible expectations. During your initial meeting, use labor market data to set realistic guidelines. For example, supply and demand data can show you which positions may have fewer qualified candidates and result in longer time to fill. Meanwhile, compensation data can help you understand the most competitive pay rates, so you can adjust either the salary offer or the requirements of the role.
The key to any good relationship is communication. Make sure you're communicating frequently throughout the recruitment process. Recruiters can reach out when they need more details about a position or are confused about what you're looking for in candidates. You can send a quick email when you want an update on the process. Even better? Sit down and have a conversation in person. The more time and effort you invest upfront to strengthen communication, the more time — and frustration — you'll save later.
"The more time and effort you invest upfront to strengthen communication, the more time — and frustration — you'll save later."
Ask specific questions
A common complaint among recruiters is that hiring managers expect them to be mind-readers when it comes to fulfilling expectations. Take the time to check in with each other regularly. Ask questions to make sure you both understand the position and its goals. The Society for Human Resource Management recommends asking specific questions to improve communication between recruiters and hiring managers, such as:
- Why is this position open?
- What's the culture of the team?
- What types of candidates would be a good fit for the team?
- When do you need to have the position filled?
Recruiters and hiring managers both have a lot on their plates. Some days, you may find yourself too busy to respond immediately to every phone call or email. However, it's important to understand that when it comes to recruiting, urgency is key. Make sure both of you are clear that you need to act quickly or risk losing quality candidates. Set solid deadlines to respond to each other's questions and updates. For example, you may agree to answer phone calls within 24 hours or have a weekly check-in to discuss updates.
Consult on interviews
You may choose to have recruiters handle initial screening interviews, or you may want to be involved in all parts of the interview process. Either way, consult with recruiters on the best strategy to interview candidates, especially if you have limited interviewing experience. Work together to determine the questions you can ask candidates, and set expectations for quality answers. Recruiters can also be essential in providing feedback after an interview so that you can make the best possible hiring decision.
Metrics are a great way to objectively measure the success of recruiting efforts. Identify the recruitment metrics you plan to use to determine the progress toward your overall hiring goals. Make sure both of you have a clear understanding of those goals and the metrics you can hit to meet them. Some goals for the recruitment process include:
- Application completion rate
- Number of applicants per opening
- Time to fill
- Source of hire
- Cost per hire
You can't build a trusting relationship if you're not honest with each other. Recruiters should be transparent about their capabilities and limitations. You can provide much-needed feedback throughout the recruiting process to guide the recruiter's strategy. For example, if you're not impressed with the quality of candidates you're seeing, have an honest discussion with the recruiter. Provide helpful feedback, supported by data, to show them exactly what you're seeking in candidates. With honesty and transparency, you can work together to find the top talent for your business.
Building a better recruiter-hiring manager relationship takes work on both sides. From the beginning, make your expectations clear, ask plenty of questions, and stay in touch throughout recruitment to avoid miscommunication. By choosing to invest in the relationship, you can feel confident in collaborating to find the top candidates for your next opening.
More tips on collaboration in the recruitment process:
Whether you're working with one recruiter or an entire hiring team, use these best practices to find and reach qualified candidates.