5 Steps to Repairing the Hiring Manager & Recruiter Relationship

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“My recruiter is useless – he hands me a stack of resumes and I have to do all the work.”

“The hiring manager has no idea what she wants. How am I supposed to find the right candidate if I have no idea who that candidate is?”

For various reasons, the hiring manager/recruiter relationship seems to often be characterized by dissatisfaction, negativity, and numerous complaints on both ends. These complaints usually stem from a general lack of communication: while the hiring manager often fails to communicate expectations, the recruiter fails to dig for answers.

In order to repair the hiring manager/recruiter relationship, these bonds of communication must be repaired. This requires effort from both parties, as neither is more or less responsible than the other when it comes to making a quality hire.

Consider these 5 steps to repairing the recruiter/hiring manager relationship:

  • Ask Questions: For the recruiter, understanding expectations is key. In order to obtain information regarding the perfect candidate, the recruiter must ask questions regarding the wants, needs, and ranking of such wants and needs from the hiring manager. In this way, the hiring manager will have reason to think over the ideal candidate’s profile. As for the hiring manager, asking the recruiter about their understanding of the project might reveal any miscommunications. At this point, he or she is able to clarify such aspects to obtain the best results.
  • Meet in Person: Meeting and engaging in dialogue prior to the recruiting project can build the foundation of a professional relationship. Both parties must realize that mutual survival depends on the success of the process. Make a deposit in each other's emotional bank account and try to spend time in each other's shoes to gain an appreciation of the value each can bring to the process.
  • Discuss Updates: Rather than handing the hiring manager a stack of resumes at the end of a search, recruiters must communicate throughout the hiring process. Constant communication helps to narrow down the candidate pool in line with changing expectations or challenges. As for the hiring manager, asking the recruiter about the hiring process throughout will prompt updates and responses. Work to ensure that both parties understand how to evaluate not only the qualifications on paper, but the skills, attitude, cultural competency and cultural fit of each candidate.
  • Cut the Negativity: While it is difficult to instantly shift attitudes regarding the hiring manager/recruiter relationships, attitude is still key. Establishing a clear life cycle at the start of the recruiting project can help ease the frustration both parties tend to feel. Establish up front the focus on establishing trust, building a relationship, working as a team, and avoiding finger pointing if things go astray.
  • Problem Solve: Rather than ruminating about the recruiter’s faults, the hiring manager must identify any miscommunication and clarify those aspects. Likewise, the recruiter must voice their concerns to the hiring manager rather than complaining about the lack of expectations, lack of direction, or vague instructions that he or she provides. Failure to address potential issues can harm the reputation of the organization, the quality of the candidate, and the relationship between the hiring manager and recruiter for future needs.

When it comes down to it, miscommunication is the key aggravator in hiring manager/recruiter relationships. In order to end the cycle of negativity and obtain better results, both parties must go out of their way to align expectations that will lead to success.

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