4 Must Ask Questions for a Hiring Manager

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Communication between recruiters and hiring managers can be challenging.

On the one hand, recruiters complain that hiring managers have little idea about what they desire in a candidate. If they do know what they want, they usually desire a purple squirrel, or a candidate with so many talents that he/she simply doesn’t exist. On the other hand, hiring managers complain that they have to do recruiters’ jobs for them. Recruiters don’t listen to their requirements, do little screening, and hand them a pile of resumes to sift through.

With all these complaints, where can we start building a more proactive dialogue?

Hiring managers don’t divulge enough information about what they want, and recruiters don’t ask enough questions. In order to open the lines of communication and truly determine what the hiring manager needs, recruiters must take the first step.

Here are four questions to start with when opening a sourcing project:

What are the must-haves? The like-to-haves?
In order to determine the most crucial characteristics of a potential candidate, have the hiring manager make a list of all relevant experience, skills, etc. Then, have the hiring manager number those items from most to least important. The first few items on that list are the must-haves. These are the requirements for the job, and they will be the recruiter’s starting point in the job search. The remainder of the list are the like-to-haves. These items will narrow down potential candidates but are not as crucial in the beginning stages of the process.

Which skills are you willing to train for?
While some skills can be taught in the training process, other skills, like leadership, cannot always be taught in the classroom. The recruiter must clarify which skills the organization has the resources to teach, which are inborn qualities, and which must be learned ahead of time. This answer will significantly impact the ranking that he/she created in question one.


What made the last person successful or unsuccessful?
If the last person was fired or quit, what made it a poor match? What characteristics would make the next candidate a better match? If the employee did well, what characteristics helped him/her to succeed? Learning from the past is the most efficient way to avoid future mistakes. It allows the recruiter to narrow the candidate pool immediately, based on the answers that the hiring manager provides.

How would you describe our current company culture? Our ideal company culture?
The ideal candidate must not only fit the necessary skill requirements; he or she must also be able to function within the organization’s culture. In order to determine whether that is the case, the recruiter must first determine what that company culture. Furthermore, if the organization is looking to make cultural improvements, one must consider how the prospective candidate will play into those improvements. What does this candidate look like?

How do you jumpstart your recruiting intake process?

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