Recruiters have two different customers—candidates and hiring managers. It’s my experience that while we often focus on the first customer, it’s the second customer who has the most impact on our success and careers.
For example we have found some great candidates but cannot get the hiring manager to give feedback. At the same time, the “time to fill” is stretching out and we're wasting so much time with multiple follow up emails, calls, or just waiting.
So here is an easy, non-confrontational way to get hiring managers to not only commit but to keep their commitments. It’s just 2 simple steps that you just keep doing until you and the hiring manager are happily committed.
Step 1: Let them commit:
Ask for a commitment as early as possible in the process—ideally when you start the search. But this technique works at any point you need it. For example, let’s say you want to get a commitment regarding how quickly they will get back to you with feedback on resumes you’ve sent them.
Here’s an example of how to ask for that commitment:
“When I send a resume for you to review, how soon do you think you’ll be able to get your feedback to me?”
Now the critical part: Stop talking at this point.
I know it’s tempting to give them options, alternatives, offer to keep tracking them down, etc., but don’t. Let them think it through and come up with their own timetable.
If they ask about what would be best, you could say something like “ 24 hours would be the best way to keep the search moving quickly”. Or some version of that. But let the decision be theirs.
Now you can proceed as if you fully believe they will keep that commitment because they just might.
But in case they don’t, see step 2.
Step 2: When they don’t keep their original commitment:
So you sent resumes and guess what? The hiring manager didn’t keep their commitment about how quickly they would get back to you with feedback.
You say (preferably face-2-face or at least on the phone, not email) “When we spoke earlier, you thought that it would work for you to get back to me (state their original commitment). It seems that doesn’t work for you. What would be a better timeframe for you to get back to me?”
You are certainly justified in being frustration, but don’t let that come out in your tone. It’s important you convey wanting to get a commitment that works for both of you.
Now the critical part: Stop talking at this point….you know the rest.
Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s a great step to strenghten your business partnership with your hiring managers.
Let me know how it goes!