When you first got into HR, I’m guessing there was nothing written in the script about hiring manager indifference or resistance to your suggestions and opinions as a recruiter. You probably thought that with your qualifications and training — and the fact you are part of your firm’s center of hiring excellence — you could moonwalk into the business department and have them eating out of your hand. You probably assumed that the hiring manager would be open and ready to implement all your suggestions and recommendations.
Unfortunately, this simply is not the reality.
According to a study from CEB Recruiting, hiring manager indifference toward HR is at an all-time high, with just 25 percent of hiring managers saying that their hiring decisions were influenced by their corporate HR/recruiting partners.
This finding should be worrisome to HR departments and corporate recruiters — but it also represents a great opportunity for these same people to up their games and become more effective influencers in the hiring process.
Toward that end, here are four tips for HR professionals and corporate recruiters who want to convince hiring managers to listen to them.
1. Wait for a Clear Opportunity to Add Value
This requires patience and playing the long game. If you are finding that a hiring manager is stubborn resisting your methods, you need to simply get out of their way. Do the bare minimum to make sure they are not breaking laws, and otherwise have faith in their methods.
That being said, you also need to carefully monitor the turnover and performance levels of the hiring manager’s team. If the manager is making good hires, it will be hard for you to make a case that you can add any value.
If, on the other hand, the hiring manager is making bad hires — i.e., turnover rates are high, performance levels are low – you will have a real opportunity to intervene. The manager may be more open to your approach after watching their own methods fail.
2. Use Relevant Data to Make Your Business Case to Hiring Managers
Hiring managers are much more likely to listen to colleagues they respect. One way that HR and corporate recruiters can increase the amount of respect that hiring managers have for them is to bring data into the process.
Research from Bersin by Deloitte shows that HR teams that deploy data-driven decision-making are four times more likely to be respected by their business counterparts.
In practice, this means that HR should be making fewer statements like, “I think you should hire this way, because that’s best practice,” and making more statements like, “If you use this hiring approach, you can reduce your team turnover by X percent.”
One of the best ways to convince hiring managers of your methods is to succeed. This means that you and your hiring methods really need to add genuine value. The hiring manager needs to see that your involvement has led to a real and visible improvement, in terms of speed of hire, cost of hire, and/or quality of hire.
If your methods do not deliver material improvements to the hiring process, how can you expect any hiring manager in their right mind to have faith in your methods? Don’t take hiring manager cooperation for granted. Make sure you can show the value of your methods in terms of real and sustained hiring success, and you will go a long way toward getting any hiring manager to listen up when you speak.
4. Position Yourself as an Insider
Whatever you do, don’t take a generic HR approach when interacting with a hiring manager. Doing so will simply make you seem like an outsider, making it less likely that the hiring manager will listen to you.
If you want to grab a hiring manager’s attention, try to become an insider by demonstrating that you have specific knowledge of the hiring manager’s particular professional area. You can do this by researching the manager’s business strategy. And, as a bonus, you can try to tell them something they don’t already know about talent in their professional area.