Having trouble with difficult hiring managers or frustrating recruiters? As a Financial Services and Insurance recruiter of 6 years, I’ve had my share of fantastic and not so great relationships with hiring managers. What I’ve learned is that a successful relationship between a hiring manager and recruiter requires a clear definition of expectations, especially when it comes to strong communication, honesty, transparency, commitment to the partnership, decisiveness, and an understanding of the hiring process. As a part of the blog series Hire Wisdom: The 12 Keys to Successful Hiring, I will dissect Key #3 – Improve Hiring Manager and Recruiter Relations.
The first step in the relationship is establishing a rapport face to face. You can usually sense if a relationship is going to work from the beginning; it’s like any relationship, sometimes you can “just tell”. Remember that you do not have to work together just because you met. Hiring Managers are used to interviewing a few candidates before determining a good fit, so do the same with a recruiting partner; interview a few recruiters to make sure you are working with one you can trust as the foundation for the relationship. Really get to know one another’s goals and motivations.
The strange thing about the recruiter / hiring manager relationship is despite having a common goal and generally common standards for the relationship, it can very easily veer off course. To prevent that from happening, declare your intent and your expectations of the relationship, and ask for nothing less in return: Strong communication, honesty, transparency, commitment to the partnership, decisiveness, and an understanding of the hiring process. Try sending it to the other person in an email as a follow up to the meeting with the terms and conditions for the relationship for either of you to refer back to.
By getting together and creating clear expectations of what you are searching for and what to expect, the hiring manager and the recruiter are opening the doors of communication and commitment to get on the same page. Potential sources for talent should be identified and a plan determined on how to contact and evaluate candidates.
It is helpful if the hiring manager can guide the search towards good talent sources and to create a few interview questions that the recruiter can utilize during initial candidate contact. Both parties should come prepared with knowledge of the role and industry in order to come together on what the desired candidate is going to look like and what it will cost to get them. Collaborate and discuss the opportunity profile until it is completely accurate. Stop the vague parameters and start getting on the same page.
When the candidates begin to be recruited it is important that the hiring manager and the recruiter have a call or meeting to evaluate the candidates’ profiles. The position requirements often change once profiles are reviewed due to the talent available or internal issues like budget or personnel changes. By staying in close contact with weekly scheduled calls and addressing those issues immediately, you can save the relationship (and more importantly, the search) from a fall-out. The more often you speak throughout the search process, the stronger your relationship will be, and the better the outcome of the search.
The high frequency contact will also give the hiring manager or recruiter the opportunity for any corrective action related to the relationship parameters set in the beginning. As the recruiter, if I am not finding the calibre of candidates you are searching for, you may need to reset expectations, or I may need to dig deeper. This is where a recruiter being specialized in the market they are working in builds credibility and a “trusted advisor” rapport. Stop putting off these scheduled calls and start moving the process along with open and honest discussions; it will save you both time and headache in the end.
When it comes to candidate interviews, the hiring manager is the decision maker and the recruiter is the project manager driving the search process along to a successful close. The recruiter’s job is to screen out candidates to save time, and the hiring manager’s job is to provide feedback on the interviews and select a successful candidate. Scheduled post-interview follow up calls will ensure that the communication is clear and easy. A good recruiter will know everything there is to know about the candidate’s background and be able to answer any questions that the hiring manager has.
When it is time to put together the employment offer, the hiring manager should utilize the recruiter as the negotiator to “trial close” the candidate. Not only are recruiters well versed in this type of negotiation, it is also much more comfortable for the candidate to discuss salary and miscellaneous needs with them (i.e. someone who will not be their next boss). When the candidate is satisfied with the offer, the recruiter should call the candidate to present the verbal offer to be followed by the official written offer.
If the roles are well defined from the beginning and delivered upon, it builds trust in the relationship between the hiring manager and the recruiter. If the recruiter does not close the search and someone else does, they had better have been quite strong throughout this process to save the relationship. If the search does not close for an extended period, it may be time to move on and revisit a new search strategy or a new search partner.
Celebrate together! You have just been through a whirlwind of emotions together and it’s time to let loose. You both have to eat so eat lunch or dinner or grab a drink together to allow a meal to create the bond. Then ask, “What could I have done better?” for a very honest assessment; it also shows you care.
Hiring is a relationship business and the relations between hiring managers and recruiters are the most important above all. By using these 7 tips to improving these relations will bring you one step closer to Hire Wisdom. Start today!
Check out more of Ross Campbell’s blog posts and quotes and stay tuned for the rest of the series, where he will break down each of The 12 Keys to Successful Hiring. Missed last month’s Hire Wisdom post? Read all about Hire Wisdom: 5 Tips to Generate More (& Better) Referrals
IQ PARTNERS is a Recruitment Agency with offices in Toronto, Montreal & Vancouver, We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. Our recruiters specialize in Marketing, Communications, Consumer Goods & Services, Retail, Sales, Technology, Finance & Accounting, Financial Services, Life Sciences, HR & Operations, and Construction, Property & Real Estate. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.
Ross Campbell is a Partner and Practice Lead, Financial Services & Insurance with IQ PARTNERS. Celebrating over 10 years of management consulting experience in executive search, recruitment, and training in Canadian financial services and insurance companies, Ross thrives on the belief that business can be done significantly better by investing in the right people.