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How Recruiters Can Be Better Strategic Partners with Their Hiring Managers

Good talent is hard to find. Why make it any harder?
Recruiters and hiring managers should have the same goal: finding great talent to move your organization forward. Recruiters understand how critical the right people are to business success. Hiring managers understand how critical the right hires are to their projects and priorities. Getting on the same page takes a little work, but the payoff is a better working relationship that results in more timely hiring of great talent. Here are some tips for making it work:

Tip #1: Align Your Goals

Talent acquisition. For you, it’s a passion. For your hiring manager, it’s a means to an end. But your goals are the same: finding talent that will help your organization outperform its competitors. Talk to your hiring manager about how you each define success. Find common ground and build from that foundation.

Tip #2: Prepare for Success

Help your hiring manager think more strategically about the hiring journey. If he or she hasn’t made a new hire in several years, explain the current job market and its challenges and opportunities. Take some time to educate your hiring manager about how to talk to millennials, how to identify important soft skills, or how to sell your organization as a great place to work.

Tip #3: Set Expectations

Hiring actions can take time. Hiring managers don’t like to wait. Make sure yours has a realistic understanding of how the hiring process will work. Spell out who is responsible for what. Explain potential hiring delays. Underscore the importance of responsiveness. Own the process and it won’t own you.

Tip #4: Dig A Little Deeper

The hiring manager’s #1 complaint about HR? “They don’t understand how the business works.” What can you do to counter that perception? Attend meetings. Interview team members. Learn as much as you can about business challenges. Understand team dynamics. It takes work and time, but it will help you uncover important information, make great contacts, and demonstrate your commitment not just to the next hire, but to the business as a whole.

Tip #5: Nail the Job Description—Together

The recruiter’s #1 complaint about hiring managers? “They write useless job descriptions.” So, help them write better ones. Work with your hiring manager to scrutinize the job description. Does it pitch the position appropriately? Are job requirements identified clearly? Do they align with salary expectations? Are skills mapped sensibly to job requirements? Does it use unbiased language to attract a diverse pool of candidates? Make sure you both understand who you’re trying to attract and then work to communicate that clearly.

Tip #6: Source Collaboratively

You thought sourcing was your job, right? Well, it is, but hiring managers bring a lot to the table. They have networks, contacts, and business colleagues. They belong to professional associations and online communities. Engage your hiring manager early to make use of these outlets. Ask to see the resumes and references of successful candidates they’ve hired. And keep an eye on how these new sources perform. You might discover some new techniques to keep the talent pipeline fresh.

Tip #7: Be Honest

Hiring managers make mistakes. And they are likely to make bigger mistakes without honest and candid feedback from you. Hiring managers are good at knowing how to get the job done. You’re good at identifying the talent who can make that happen. If you have important feedback about someone in the running, share it. If you disagree with your hiring manager’s first, second, or even third choice, explain why. A smart hiring manager will consider your input carefully before making a final decision.

Tip #8: Follow Up

Good hiring managers know that hiring the right people is critical, but even the best ones have other priorities—like managing a department. Help your hiring manager stay on top of the hiring process with steady, persistent follow up. Good candidates today have choices; if your hiring manager gets distracted, that candidate is likely to go elsewhere. Make sure the selection and offer processes keep moving in the right direction.

Tip #9: Talk About Succession Planning

Get your hiring manager to think about staffing as a strategic asset by discussing succession planning. (You probably think of it as filling the talent pipeline, but that’s likely to mean little to your hiring manager). Ask what new projects or initiatives are under way. Discuss whether it will be difficult to fill these new positions. Explore whether you can help your hiring manager with budget requests. When you’ve identified roles to be filled, set alerts in your database to flag potential candidates. You’re the talent expert. Take the lead.

Tip #10: Use Data to Improve Quality of Hire

Most hiring managers respect data, but they still tend to hire based on their gut. Foster a data-driven decision-making process that encourages them to evaluate candidates based on measurable criteria. So be prepared to provide it. Quantifying quality of hire is difficult but not impossible. Identify the factors that attract top performers and make sure those traits are reflected in your job competency profiles. Track which recruiting sources produces the best performers. Demonstrate the cost of hiring errors and why they were made. And don’t forget to look at referral sources and quality of references.

Ready to learn more?

Bottom line, your hiring managers want to make good hires and you want to help them. SkillSurvey’s online reference checking solution can help you provide data-driven insight into a candidate’s job-specific soft skills and competencies. Your hiring managers can compare candidates at a glance, use data to prepare for interviews, and make more informed choices. Take a look at a snapshot example of our report and learn more about how it can help hiring managers and recruiters better understand their job candidates.

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