Hiring Manager – Opponent or Teammate?

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Unfortunately, recruiters sometimes see their hiring managers as an obstacle to overcome rather than a partner. In fairness, this perspective can be justified since the hiring manager is typically the sole decision-making determinant when a hire is not made. But what if these recruiters stopped viewing hiring managers as the “goalie” on the opposite team and started viewing them as a collaborative teammate? It’s an important shift in thinking.

The hiring manager, as an individual, is never the real opponent. Smart recruiters know this and recognize what the real opposing force is—lack of understanding. Sometimes this is because recruiting doesn’t understand, sometimes it is the hiring manager lacking understanding, and sometimes it’s a little bit of both. However, when perspectives are corrected and nurtured on both sides, any hiring manager can become a powerful recruiting partner.

Recruiters can actively work on deepening improving partnership with hiring managers in four simple ways:

  • Be Thorough: Over-communicate to let hiring managers know exactly what actions you are taking and why. Too often recruiters skip over details assuming the hiring manager wouldn’t or doesn’t need to know. Assumptions on either side are the biggest culprit leading to a lack of understanding. Recruiters should be explicit and detailed in explaining everything they and their team are going to do.
  • Be Advisory: Hiring managers need to be educated on the facts so they are armed with the data they need to make good decisions. It is the job of a recruiter to provide all of the baseline explanations and information available to them. However, it is also the recruiter’s job to be predictive as well and explain the impact of a hiring manager’s decision on process timelines, funnel metrics, and the candidate experience overall. This is a critical part of the educational process and an obligation the recruiters have in advising hiring managers.
  • Be Socratic: Recruiters must make “why” their favorite word. Asking for the exact reasons behind a hiring manager’s decision, at any stage of the process, is an essential discovery exercise, which unlocks deeper comprehension into perspectives and motives (e.g. Why did you not like this resume? Why was he not a fit in the interview? Why are you waiting to make a decision/offer?).
  • Be Expansive: Recruiters must go beyond the transactional and seek to understand more about how this hire will impact the hiring manager’s department and the company overall. This deeper understanding will provide better perspective for the recruiter to select the right profiles and sell the job opportunity. More importantly, this more mature understanding will help the hiring manager feel more satisfied with the quality of talent you are showing them.

Mutual understanding must be fostered so both hiring managers and recruiters can gather and give each other the optimal amount of information and perspective to work together towards successful hiring wins and create a true partnership.

Read more about how Sevenstep’s smart TA strategy and empathetic engagement helped create optimal Hiring Manager adoption of recruitment for this client.


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