If you’re anything like the recruiters I’ve spoken with, it’s a fair assumption that you and your hiring managers don’t always see eye to eye.
Okay, maybe not every hiring manager — I’m sure there are ones you’re in sync with like too-good-to-be-true-sitcom-friendships — but whether you work with one, five, or 50, there are moments you’re both frustrated.
That’s because the partnership is often a strange and cruel paradox. Maintaining a strong relationship with hiring managers is the most influential factor in talent acquisition performance, but these relationships are also a top cause of stress for recruiting professionals.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The two of you can work in harmony.
Before we dig into the hiring manager experience any further, let’s meditate on three pillars of the recruiter-hiring manager relationship:
- As a recruiter, you are in the customer service industry. Think of hiring managers like customers for your business.
- Both you and the hiring managers share the same goal: fill open positions with talented candidates.
- Hiring managers spend their days on much more than acquiring talent. That makes you the talent acquisition expert.
With these pillars in mind, here are five ways you can immediately improve your hiring manager experience:
1. You Have to Trust Each Other
Trust is a two-way street, but the responsibility ultimately begins with recruiters earning hiring managers’ — a.k.a., customers’ — trust. Just like a company works hard to earn the trust of a customer who buys its product, recruiters have to work hard to earn the respect of each hiring manager they work with.
Trust starts with transparency. Talk with your hiring managers early in your professional relationship so that you both understand each other’s daily routines and expectations.
A great way to do this is by walking the hiring manager through every step of your recruiting process and your plan for finding the best candidate for the open position. Not only will this build trust, but it will also help you both understand each other’s careers and processes a little more.
2. Discuss the Job Requirements in Detail
One of the best ways you can be on the same page as your hiring manager before sourcing a single candidate is with an initial meeting to discuss two critical points:
- Every detail of the job description.
- Who the hiring manager envisions as the ideal candidate.
Don’t just go off the written job description. Anyone can read this and find someone they think would be a great hire. Ask for 20-30 minutes of the hiring manager’s time to meet and talk about the requirements in detail. Which requirements are dealbreakers and which aren’t? Who does the hiring manager envision as the candidate they want to hire?
When you’re both on the same page after an open and honest conversation, the disagreements and frustrations dissipate.
3. Take Charge of Your Hiring Manager’s Expectations
This is where your expertise in talent acquisition pays off. Oftentimes, hiring managers are simply unaware of the talent market and expect to fill a job opening in a matter of days, as if it were still 2009.
This naiveté can cost a company a great hire. As a recruiter, you have to talk with your hiring manager about interview techniques, how to make a great first impression on a candidate, and how they can sell the job to the candidate using the company’s brand and story.
If a candidate is going to leave their current company (and a significant number of job seekers are already employed), they need tangible reasons to do so — e.g., a better salary, a better company culture, etc.
4. Communicate With Your Hiring Managers Every Step of the Way
One of the top reason for a poor candidate experience is lack of communication between recruiters and candidates.
It’s much better to overcommunicate with your hiring mangers than it is to undercommunicate. Hiring managers want to know the status of each job opening at all times, so take a few minutes out of your day and send them a quick email or pick up the phone and call them.
And when you do contact hiring managers, give them quantifiable checkpoints you’ve passed in your quest for an ideal candidate. Tell them how many meetings you’ve had, how many candidates you’ve found, and how many resumes you’ll be sending over for approval before scheduling interviews.
5. Know When to Cut Your Losses
You can do all of the above and more to establish trust and improve your relationship with your hiring manager, but there has to be reciprocation. If the two of you cannot establish a healthy partnership, you may have to make a hard decision and move on to another company.
This may be difficult when you are trying to establish your client database as a new recruiter, but your time and effort are better spent with other clients or pursuing new business.
What about you recruiters out there? Do you have any other ways you can improve the hiring manager experience? We would love to hear your tips on how recruiters can build better relationships with hiring managers!
A version of this article originally appeared on Zoho’s blog.