5 Steps in Optimizing the Relationship Between the Recruiter and Hiring Manager

The recruiter/hiring manager relationship is one of the most sacred relationships in the sourcing world. Without constant effective communication good candidates can be lost in the shuffle and potentially lost altogether. Research by Bersin by Deloitte revealed that developing strong relationships with hiring managers is one of the top drivers of performance in a talent acquisition strategy. That same report said that this relationship is four times more influential than all other 15 performance drivers measured.  

So if this relationship is so important why do recruiters and hiring managers fail to take the necessary steps in order optimize their relationship and perform at the highest level?  

Step 1: Understand each other’s job.  

The first step in creating harmony between the recruiter and hiring manager is to understand not only how they work together, but what they’re doing while they’re not working together. The hiring manager doesn’t sit around all day waiting for recruiters to push qualified candidates to them, but they’re busy managing their existing team and projects on top of the entire hiring process. They’re looking to optimize the process just as much as you are by looking at what went wrong in terms of an employee quitting or getting fired. When a recruiter makes a hire and that employee ends up leaving the recruiter will start looking for another applicant to fill that position. In the meantime, the hiring manager is looking at what went wrong, whether it was a culture fit, skills error, or a host of other things.  

Step 2: Learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  

Building a relationship with your hiring manager will get you farther than any other recruiter on your team. While some stellar hiring managers will understand the state of the market, others simply don’t have time to understand anything outside of the state of their current company. Hiring managers will analyze the internal environment of their company and find out what’s working and what isn’t. Meet with your hiring manager and get to know their experience and comfort levels with the hiring process. Give them insight into external market conditions and how to sell candidates on why your company is best in class.   

Step 3: Set clear expectations with each other. 

By understanding what each of you are searching for and what to expect you both are opening the lines of communication and getting on the same page. Without doing this you’ll find yourself pushing candidates who aren’t qualified or who are qualified, but not exactly a match for whatever reason. This will create tension between the two people who must work in harmony to create a smooth and efficient program. One tip for doing this is for the hiring manager to create interview questions or give some type of syllabus that the recruiter can use to screen candidates. This allows both parties to be involved in the process and avoid wasting anyone’s time.  

Step 4: Recruiters and hiring managers who close together, stay together.  

When it’s time to offer the job to a candidate, let the recruiter take the first stab at salary negotiations and and closing the actual candidate. It’s easier for a candidate to talk to a recruiter instead of someone who could be their potential boss. When the candidate agrees to the offer the recruiter can then pass the candidate back to the hiring manager to give them an official handwritten offer. This not only helps the hiring manager as they’re busy managing staff, but it gives recruiter experience that they might not necessarily get in other jobs. Mentorship and cross training can be beneficial to the organization as a whole. The growth potential for both the recruiter and hiring manager is essential for a successful relationship.  

Step 5: Optimize the recruiting process together.  

We’ve talked about recruiting optimization in the past and the only way for your company to survive things like burnout, weak candidate experience, and disorganization is to make sure that both the recruiter and hiring manager are on the same page about everything from start to finish. Recruiting optimization is key to building a successful strategy and a long-term partnership with your recruiter and hiring manager.  

Optimizing this relationship creates multiple benefits not only for sanity purposes but for bonusing, hitting required numbers and building a talented team of individuals who you’re both proud to work with and sometimes for. Talk to your hiring managers or recruiters and start implementing some of these changes inside your own workplace and you’ll see drastic improvements in overall quality of work. 

Will Staney

Will is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Proactive Talent Strategies, LLC and the former Head of Global Talent Acquisition at rapidly-growing startups Twilio andGlassdoor. Prior to that he held recruiting leadership roles at enterprise software leaders VMwareSuccessFactors and SAPwhere he lead strategic programs includingemployer brandingsourcing strategy, recruiting operations and systems process design.

During his over 7 years as a recruiting practitioner, after 10 years in sales and marketing, he developed a passion for building what he calls "modern recruiting machines". He would push innovation from the inside, execute on his vision, and once it was realized he would pass the torch on to those he had mentored and move on to his next challenge. He was destined to start a consultancy so he could help as many companies as possible adopt a more proactive recruiting strategy with community in mind.

In his free time, Will enjoys riding his motorcycle, trying out the newest gadgets, and spending time with his two kids, Foster and Felicity.