A truly effective hiring process has to be more than posting a job opening in as many locations as possible and praying the ideal candidate will see it. Sure, even a broken clock is right twice a day, but posting and praying is never the way to go.
A hiring process needs to be consistent, compliant, and carefully targeted — and that’s only possible when the hiring manager and the recruiter have a strong partnership. Other stakeholders may be involved in the process, but ultimately, hiring success depends on how well these two main players collaborate.
Are you a recruiter ready to take your recruiter-hiring manager partnership to a new level? Follow these five best practices:
1. Get on the Same Page
Your initial intake call/meeting with the hiring manager is key to starting the whole process off on the right foot. This conversation is an important opportunity to establish rapport, gain insight into the role and ideal candidate profile, set realistic expectations, and proactively address potential concerns or misunderstandings.
Before you even begin to source candidates, you need to invest time in understanding the hiring manager’s ideal candidate profile. Compare that to your own idea of a perfect candidate, and then work to reconcile any differences. By the end of the discussion, you and the hiring manager should be 100 percent aligned on key details like the nature of the role, the characteristics of a qualified candidate, and messaging strategy.
This conversation is also your chance to address any red flags that might hinder the recruiting process. For example, if the position or team in question has unnaturally high turnover, you and the hiring manager may want to work on uncovering why. When a hiring manager mentions they can “never find good people” for a certain role, take advantage of the opportunity to have a real conversation about why that might be and what you can do to achieve a different outcome this time around.
2. Follow Up on Your Hiring Manager’s Needs and Concerns
During your discussion of red flags, obstacles, and other challenges, make note of the hiring manager’s concerns. Then, once the conversation is over, follow up with solutions.
For example, if the hiring manager expresses they find interviews to be difficult, consider sharing any resources you may have about how to structure and conduct effective interviews. Not only will this build more rapport by showing the hiring manager you have their best interest at heart, but it also helps ensure the recruiting process stays efficient and compliant going forward.
For more expert recruiting insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:
3. Stick to the Process You Agreed Upon
Strong relationships are built on credibility and trust. You cannot foster either with a hiring manager if you don’t stick to the process you collaboratively established during the intake stage.
Your hiring manager needs to be able to trust you as a partner. If your actions diverge from the process you agreed upon, the hiring manager is bound to lose trust in you. They may even start circumventing you entirely. If this happens, you may start to hear things no recruiter enjoys hearing — e.g., “Can you send me all the resumes, including the ones you’ve already disqualified?” or “Let’s keep interviewing to have someone to compare [your star candidate] to.” Once you get to this point, it can be hard to get the relationship back on track ever again.
Remember, too, that following hiring procedures inconsistently (or not at all) opens the door for discrimination complaints, skews the results, and risks damaging both your and your client’s good reputation.
4. Never Submit Candidates Blindly
The hiring manager should always know exactly why a given candidate is being recommended for consideration. This helps them understand your thought process as you are sourcing, and it gives both sides an opportunity to coach one another.
You can gain better insight into the hiring manager’s perspective while helping them gain better insight into yours. You can teach the hiring manager to evaluate candidates from a recruiter’s point of view, and they can help you evaluate candidates from the point of view of their specific industry and company. Done properly, this two-way coaching will strengthen your relationship and help you identify and submit more best-fit candidates.
5. Continuously Fine-Tune Your Approach Based on the Hiring Manager’s Feedback
While the coaching should be mutual, be sure to keep an open mind and really listen to what your hiring manager has to say. It’s okay to educate when red flags arise — e.g., the hiring manager offers feedback based on criteria that should be irrelevant — but you should also allow the hiring manager’s valid feedback to inform your next steps.
The best recruiting processes are iterative, and the best recruiters continuously tweak their approaches based on the feedback of their hiring manager partners. With the hiring manager’s help, you can uncover valuable information like the best college programs to target, the best channels for connecting with candidates, and other helpful tips to streamline your efforts.
Every relationship, business or personal, is different. No two people are alike. However, taking these steps each time you start a new relationship with a hiring manager can make life easier for everyone — and make your recruiting efforts more likely to succeed.
Charasay Powell is an HR veteran with more than 20 years of recruiting experience.