Staffing Fundamentals Series - Rising to the Top in Recruiting - Hiring Manager Relations & Hiring Manager Control



Here is my number one and most important topic in staffing - it all starts with the intake session.  The time where you first gather the data with your hiring manager and then recalibrate and redefine. 

First and foremost - it is going to take courage to tell a hiring manager boldly that their expectations for a search are both unrealistic, and causing their search to go longer than it should.  Or in other cases - that the market may or may not support a specific target in the effort.

I digress - my number one recruiting irritation and my friends here at RBC can attest - is the unrealistic hiring manager.  Here are a few things that stand out about being bold and taking control and which require our assertive and stubborn foot to go down upon:

  • There is no real budget for the role: the hiring manager thinks that this candidate with all the bells and whistles they want can be wooed by a tiny carrot - this is becoming a candidate's market again - time to up the ante - if the manager can't put the skin in the game so to speak - well their role will be open a VERY long time.
  • Finance decides that the budget for the role isn't there and a role opens and closes multiple times.  It is here a recruiter must funnel quickly up the food chain the cost of starting and stopping a position to lose momentum. 
  • Managers frequently re-schedule their interviews OR interview no nos: this is both annoying and irritating to the recruiter, and the candidate, imagine calling a candidate when a manager originally requested an interview only to be told: "I have enough candidates, please cancel this interview;" OR "I've got a very important appointment so this candidate needs to wait;" OR "I saw a spelling error on the resume, and I didn't see x, y, and z, and why didn't you screen for this?" - These are some very obnoxious and bad candidate experience items, first off - if your recruiter types their notes, and you are reading into every nook and cranny in the resume and have no flexibility, would that candidate wish to work for you? NO!  Also - if they have the basic skills, have passed a screen and are enthusiastic, the recruiter recommends them, but you as a hiring manager intimidate the candidate providing no real ability to pull out information and then you create a circumstance where you reject the candidate and provided no real experience that the candidate can feel comfortable sharing on - it is here the question resounds?  Is the interview ability is next to none, and your ability to pull out information and set the candidate at ease is well less then reassuring - that is a key issue of coaching which may be needed.
  • Manager wants their cake and can't wait to eat it too: The candidate absolutely has to be perfect, there is no wiggle room, the manager is overly selective, has no real idea of what they want and lists skill upon skill, and then wants a very niche focal point.  Time to fill in these circumstances are until the sun sets, until the seasons pass, and the job is not filled and then this same manager screams to the world that they own the process - it is here that one must push back and level with this hiring manager that their expectations will not be satisfied unless they are willing to come half way to the table.
  • The manager believes people are like widgets - seriously do you treat people like they are a peice of capital, a thing on a balance sheet or worse a commodity?  Beware this hiring manager - they will give your company a bad reputation.

These are a few areas that I have personally run into - it is here our consultative and coaching hat must go on, and where we must take a step and say look Mr. or Mrs. hiring manager - your actions are vital to the success of the partnership - if you do the above I as a recruiter will put your position on hold, and will funnel up the food chain to the powers that be, the issues that came from the hiring manager side.

Now - don't let the above sound too negative - most hiring managers are FABULOUS.  They love their business, commit to their staff, strive for greatness and are willing to go the extra mile.  But when you get a hiring manager like this - it is essential to try some of the following steps - fundamentals of manager control that can help save time:

  1. Set a weekly check-in time where your manager can vent, and on the same token really be honest and sincere when you lay out the ground work and discuss what the manager's strengths are and openly share feedback about what candidates are sharing about their interview experience.
  2. Set realistic timeframes for your commitments - if you say you will get candidates by a certain period of time as a recruiter stick to that.
  3. Managers may be approached by candidates - tell Mr. or Mrs. hiring manager to make you aware of all internal and external candidates that approach the manager.
  4. As folks approach the manager and the manager is impressed and wants to move forward - try to give that manager's request the utmost care.
  5. Win the manager's trust by be forthright and honest about how their behaviors and actions impact the effectiveness of the recruiting paradigm.
  6. Some managers may be open to your style and approach if they are not be candid and let them know that this is what has worked in the past for you - but you will honestly strive to tailor the approach.
  7. Give every manager a window of time to expect resumes, a window of time for recalibration, and your desired timeline - get buy-in.
  8. If you get the manager that is hard to reach - if needed involve the hiring manager's boss and go over their head if needed to ensure the quality of the exchange - many times that manager's boss may know the pain points and can be a valuable asset to the staffing process. This goes likewise for HR.
  9. Try to show a positive and pleasant outlook for hiring managers whom need the extra coaching - they may have had something in the past that is dictating their outlook now.
  10. Be upfront about the pipeline - somewhere a quarter of the way or halfway through the recruiting effort it is vital and healthy to uncover manager concerns, and let them know that the profile they wish for may not be found and that they might have to loosen their edicts to allow the 70-80% of the skills they wish for to be presented.
  11. Often times managers need reminders and a recruiter must be a pleasant pest to get their process done.
  12. If the hiring manager's personality and the recruiter's do not mesh well with each other - it may be time to change things up - ie if other staff can pitch hit, or sub for a spell with a fresh perspective it may be then that that search can be revitalized - it is absolutely essential to know when to push back and provide real time feedback to your own boss to enable this kind of service outcome.  Recruiters may get burn out on one search or another after having given it their all - it may come as a time where the recruiter may have to say "enough is enough" - and I am "burned out" on this search, please help.
  13. It is all about Attitude, if one maintains their trust and resolve with hiring managers and honesty - manager's appreciate not sugar coding anything.
  14. Ask your team for help - never be afraid to shoot your hand up and say what ideas to help this search might you have?
  15. Building bridges of trust through communication and not stopping to give into an order taker mentality but being more than this, being consultative and approachable but still maintaining your courage and your assertiveness when required to point out where the pain points are or what is working well in continuous Kaizen and virtuous recruiting best practices are vital components for success.

In short - the recruiting lifecycle may go through several stages, some searches might be easier than others, and some may have a powerful outcome for success.  If a manager questions your thoughts and your purpose and efforts - push back and share again the accomplishments that got you to the goals before and be firm about what you may have helped that team do before, by so doing you may win over even the toughest hiring manager or even inspire them to rise again to the challenge.

Hiring managers are human beings with the same challenges all face - sometimes we as recruiters may have to try and mirror their approach and think like they do in the screen process.

It is safe to say that in so doing some of the above you can maintain complete control over your desk, reinstigate and reset expectations, win over the tough to please, and even come full circle to help the hiring team see how their actions - vital to the business - are essential for the closing, retention, pipelining efforts, sourcing efforts and recruiting momentum needed.

It is here the partnership, the intake session, the discussion of pertinent skills, and the outcomes so desired can potentially be realized - in the end it may be up to the recruiter to remind the hiring manager that they may have to think outside of their own myopic vision, to a 30,000 foot view about how the staffing process affects the long haul.

Hiring Manager Control and Hiring Manager relations - sometimes just need a little tender loving recruiting care.

At the end of the day - the recruiter and hiring manager both want the same things at heart - it may require a little bit of luck, a little bit of push back, or a little bit of passion to win the staffing day.

**This post is of my own creation and in no way represents the thoughts, opinions, concerns, or beliefs of ADP.  I am a proud ADP Recruiting Associate and take full responsibility for this content.


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