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Hiring managers are every bit as crucial to the recruitment process as recruiters. They know their teams inside and out, and they can use that knowledge to provide invaluable insights during the screening and interviewing portions of the process.

Unfortunately, recruiters are underutilizing this resource. According to a CareerBuilder study, only 40 percent of recruiters take time to prepare hiring managers for the hiring process. Among those recruiters who do prep hiring managers, only 40 percent focus on the candidate experience. All told, that means a scant 16 percent of hiring managers receive any training on the candidate experience from recruiters.

If hiring managers lack fundamental knowledge about recruitment best practices, you risk losing talented candidates. To attract top sales reps — really, to attract top candidates for any role — recruiters should spend a bit more time training hiring managers to be better partners in the recruiting process. Here are a few key lessons to cover:

1. Leveraging Personal Brands and Networks

The recruitment process starts long before a hiring manager is ready to fill a role. It begins within the hiring manager’s personal brand and network. Top sales reps want to work for managers who have proven records and meaningful influence in the industry. If they see a hiring manager like that, they’ll be ready to apply for a role at the company right away.

Hiring managers can build their reputations by connecting and engaging with sales reps on social media. They should at least share job openings on LinkedIn and Twitter, but the more a hiring manager posts, the more visibility they’ll have in the feeds of potential candidates.

Even when not actively hiring, a hiring manager should try to post once a week or more. Share industry news, pose questions for followers, or post behind-the-scenes team photos. This activity adds to the hiring manager’s authenticity and makes them a more attractive team leader.

If you’re working with hiring managers who are already social pros, encourage them to write their own content. The LinkedIn Publishing Platform is one good way to share long-form thoughts on the industry. Writing original content helps a hiring manager really solidify themself as a thought leader, which will help them naturally attract top sales reps.

2. Coordinating Team Calendars

Unfortunately, some hiring managers don’t understand why postponing interviews or forgetting to provide timely feedback can be so detrimental to the recruiting process. It’s up to recruiters to teach them that a more responsive candidate experience tends to lead to better talent.

Hiring managers can also play a key role in improving team participation in the recruiting process by specifically asking their team members to block out time for resume reviews and interviews. Getting more people involved can speed up the process and lead to more informed hiring decisions.

3. Putting Culture First

Hiring managers must put their best feet forward in each interview. They represent their team cultures, and they can help candidates picture themselves working and thriving on a specific team.

Hiring managers need to show up to interviews ready to make candidates feel welcome. One good way to accomplish that is by sharing what it’s like to work on the team and why the hiring manager loves their job. Top sales reps will be more interested in your company if they see they’ll be working for someone who loves it, too.

It’s a massive mistake to only focus on the hiring manager’s needs in the interview. A good interview requires a give and take. Make sure interviewers embody the best parts of the company culture when meeting with candidates.

4. Avoiding Unconscious Bias

Hiring managers tend to gravitate toward candidates whose experiences resemble their own, whether it’s a shared alma mater or similar career trajectories. However, this focus on perceived kinship can quickly lead to a lack of diversity on your team.

Building a diverse workforce drives creativity and innovation, so recruiters should help hiring managers understand and avoid unconscious biases. The best hires are made when hiring managers evaluate candidates on their abilities, rather than where they came from.

5. Providing Specific Feedback

Help hiring managers understand the importance of specific feedback and how it helps you, the recruiter, bring them better candidates. It’s not enough to toss an application into the “no” pile; hiring managers should be detailing their likes and dislikes in resume reviews and interviews. That way, you can use their input to source more suitable candidates in the future.

One way to ensure hiring managers provide specific feedback is to set them up with a form or template. You can then compile their feedback over time to inform future recruiting decisions.

The best partnerships are founded on clear expectations. Set yourself — and the organization — up for success by training your hiring managers on key recruitment best practices. They’ll thank you when they see how much better the search turns out.

Karyn Mullins is president of MedReps.com. Connect with Karyn on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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