How to Supercharge the Recruiter-Hiring Manager Relationship

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According to a Deloitte study, one of the most important factors in a successful hire is the relationship between the recruiter and the hiring manager. Listen here for a sec:

  • 80% of recruiters claim to have a solid understanding of the jobs they recruit for
  • 61% percent of hiring managers strongly disagree
  • 70% of recruiters say they can’t stand their hiring manager
  • 60% of hiring managers say they’ve been burned by a recruiter

What’s causing the disconnect?

Common recruiter-hiring manager conflicts

Recruiters say they have to deal with unrealistic expectations, differing recruitment strategies and timelines, and a near-constant dissatisfaction with the quality of their candidates.

Hiring managers feel like they’re in the backseat; that they’re fed low-quality candidates without much of a voice, and that it takes far too long to make a hire.

Steps to mend the recruiter-hiring manager relationship

Communication is key in every relationship, including the one with your hiring manager. Not just any old communication. I’m talking frank, candid communication, all the time. No exceptions. Like, the kind of rapport you have with your best friend. Here’s how to put this into practice.

Be frank, candid, and direct

You don’t have to go to yoga together, but you do have to make an effort to foster a partnership (not just a relationship). Just as you would a candidate, it’s within your power to establish trust and rapport with your hiring manager.

Take a page from Netflix. They arguably have one of the most progressive recruiting cultures in corporate America. There’s no room for passive, muddied banter. Healthy debates, pointed questions, and direct feedback are encouraged, if not mandatory.

Hiring managers openly discuss ways recruiters could describe the company, source candidates, and pitch opportunities. Recruiters extend constructive critiques about hiring manager-candidate communication strategies. Everything's out in the open. And nobody whines about it.

Open and honest conversations like that are productive. They provide direction for an industry that never sleeps.

Be empathetic and consistent

This progressive strategy works because honesty fosters respect and respect fosters trust. The recruiters and hiring managers at Netflix understand that there’s a difference between combative and constructive communication; between challenges and roadblocks; between compromise and submission.

Any reinvented recruiting culture has to recognize the difference, too. If an openly candid approach to improving the recruiter-hiring manager relationship is going to work, communication itself needs to be a priority—not just authenticity. Kickoff meetings and daily check-ins are a must-have. Constructive criticism without trust and consistency will just make you look pompous.

The more time you spend working alongside your hiring manager, the more you understand each other’s stressors, responsibilities, and obligations. From there, you build empathy. Your ability to empathize with your hiring manager will make developing this type of forward-thinking partnership smoother.

You don’t need tough skin to excel in this environment. Really, you just need to be passionate and have the drive to succeed. Strength is in the numbers. You will never be able to recruit alone—you and your hiring manager will always be a team. You can spend all day breaking each other down, but until you encourage one another to be better, stronger, and more efficient, you’ll never reach your full recruiting potential.
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Sam Sandler
Sam Sandler
Sam is a copywriter and strategist at Qualigence International. She enjoys exercising, eating pizza, and long walks through her Netflix queue.

1 Comment

  1. Mike Boissonneault says:

    Something’s missing when HR professionals still struggle with business managers, especially when the support is TA. An idea I write about in my new book is that HR take a higher road and educate managers on HR. One discipline at a time. Implement HR insight training and you’ll find acceptance and endorsement. Business managers will respect HR partners and specialists if they knew more specifics about your role, education and certification process. Contact me and I’ll gladly share my thoughts and book, due out in July.

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