Questions Recruiters Ask Hiring Managers: Stop the Disconnect!

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Hiring Managers and Recruiters often have a substantial disconnect, largely based on their wants and expectations not aligning.

It doesn't matter how experienced the individuals are: disconnect happens, and it happens often. To understand this, let's first look at the rudimentary differences between Recruiters and Hiring Managers.

A HIRING MANAGER often hires based on a candidate's active interest in the organization, finds relevant candidates when needed, relies heavily on a candidate's skill set, maintains a pipeline on a need-to-hire basis, and screens as many candidates as necessary for current hiring needs.

A RECRUITER often identifies talent early by developing and building ongoing relationships, creates options for future opportunities and stays ahead of the demand, and screens applicants based on a candidates' overall qualifications.

Neither way of hiring is right or wrong, but often a recruiter and hiring manager's desires vs. their “must haves” don't match up.


Common comments made by Recruiters:

  • My Hiring Manager does not understand what I do.
  • My Hiring Manager never knows what he/she wants.
  • My Hiring Manager does not communicate – I always need to track them down.
  • My Hiring Manager only wants me to email them resumes.

Common comments made by Hiring Managers:

  • My recruiter does not understand my business.
  • My recruiter does not understand what I need/want.
  • My recruiter does not communicate – I need to track them down
  • My recruiter just sends me the resumes – I make the decision on who to bring in

The question is, why do we have this disconnect? There are multiple answers, with much of the responsibility on the recruiter's end. Hiring Managers are not innocent in this disconnect; however, the Recruiter should be the one driving the process to fix the disconnect.

So what can we do fix this disconnect? Be a Leader.

Consider becoming subject matter savvy, communicating often (this means good and bad information), developing a reputation as a problem solver, leading your manager when developing a strategy, and leading your manager when taking the job order.

The notion of leading your Hiring Manager is key to developing an effective relationship. Many Recruiters take for granted what the Hiring Manager is looking for and do not ask the right questions, in the right way, to solicit the needed response.

A Hiring Manager will often give you a list of “Gotta Haves”, saying things such as “I need someone with at least 10 years of experience in this field" or “I need someone who has managed at least this many people."

Your Job as a Recruiter is to:

  • Question, Question, Question
  • Be realistic–Does the perfect candidate exist?
  • Have your manager rank skills/competencies
  • Eliminate “Years of Experience” from the list
  • Establish skills in which the candidate must be Proficient
  • Agree on “Must Haves” and “Like to Haves”

Recruiters often forget to ask basic questions or deep follow-up questions to truly understand the position and, more importantly, what the Hiring Manager has in mind.

For example, most recruiters ask the basic questions that include: What are the minimum position requirements? What does the ideal candidate look like? Is this a replacement or new position? What is the position compensation? When do you need it filled?

Often it's how we ask the question that makes the real difference.

For example, instead of asking “What are the minimum requirements of the role?”
Ask:  What specific experience does the candidate need to have? Rank those in order of need. When asked to define the specific experience and skills needed and to rank them, you will hear your hiring manager rationalize each “requirement.”

You are likely to hear things such as, “I really need them to able be to do XXXXX, however, I could possible train them to do YYYYY." Although they may have started with 8-10 must-haves, usually they will express what is really critical and paint a clear picture of their real needs: often only 4-5 items.

Instead of asking, “Why is the position open?”
Ask: “Where did the last three people in the role go?”

Understanding the success or failure of the previous candidate is critical to understanding who the Hiring Manager is looking for. If one or two of the previous employees were promoted, ask follow-up questions and have the manager describe what made each person successful. This will paint a picture of what the Hiring Manager has in mind, even though it can differ from the actual job description.

Taking the job order the right way by asking the right questions is the first step to better understanding the needs of Hiring Managers. It is our responsibility as Recruiters to ask the leading questions that get a Hiring Manager to properly describe the necessary skills and experience of the candidate. Saying “My manager doesn't know what they need” is a common excuse that can be avoided by a more structured approach to job order intake.

If the Recruiter and Hiring Manager don’t understand each other, it can be incredibly costly. An unclear position leads to a mis-hire and can cost a client up to a third of the new hire’s salary to replace them. Avoid the disconnect between hiring managers and recruiters to save everyone time and headaches.

For more information on the disconnect between Recruiters and Hiring Managers and how to remedy it, check out our [INFOGRAPHIC] .

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