Have We Forgotten About the Hiring Manager?

Recruiting presents a very unique sales challenge.  Unlike selling software or business services (where there is distinctly only one buyer and one seller), recruiting actually has two buyers and two sellers. The candidate and the hiring manager will each wear both hats at many points during the hiring process. Given they must both sell and buy in order for a successful outcome, shouldn’t this indicate an equal amount of accountability?

So why does the focus always seem to be on the candidates (and less so the hiring managers)? Most certainly this is because top talent is in short supply and strong demand right now. And while this hyper focus on candidates is completely warranted, it can sometimes result in less focus on the hiring managers. As a provider of RPO solutions, we hear all too often from our prospects that their recruiting resources are not doing enough to provide hiring managers with the recruitment guidance and partnership they need.

Hiring managers need help to be better gatekeepers. They determine what the job criteria is and how strictly it will be adhered to while reviewing applicants. Unfortunately, some don’t know how to build a truly attractive job description or set the right pay range. And even when the job description is built correctly, many hiring managers still have difficulty with flexibility and good judgment in reviewing applicants. Recruiters can help if they: 

  • Research the employment competition to ensure that the qualifications, opportunity and pay range all serve to position the job competitively in the marketplace.
  • Make recommendations for change or improvement to the screening process immediately when the job is first introduced (and not after the hiring manager has been “proven wrong”).
  • Analyze the hiring manager’s own hiring track record by asking for examples of prior profiles that were selected or hired. In some cases, the top performer hired into this role was not the perfect candidate on paper when they first applied.  This way, the concept of “flexibility” can be addressed upfront before an actual candidate is presented. 

Hiring managers need help interviewing and selling their jobs. Many are guilty of asking very binary yes/no questions, or taking an inconsistent or situational approach to assessing skills. And some are not selling strongly enough (or at all) in the interview. Recruiters can help if they: 

  • Customize a thorough and compliant interview template that includes specific behavioral interview questions about an actual experience the candidate has had directly relating to the function of the job.
  • Provide coaching on tough questions candidates may or will ask (ex: lower pay range, challenging location, recent bad press, high attrition, etc.).
  • Highlight the best overall selling points for the job and more specific selling points for the actual candidate being interviewed. Proper competitive analysis and in-depth candidate pre-screens can be boiled down into useful interview pointers. Remind them about the importance of their company’s employment brand and the strength of every candidate’s referral network. A genuine and unconditional sales effort by the hiring manager will immediately upgrade the candidate experience. 

Let’s be mindful of the lop-sided focus that overplays the candidate side of the equation. Instead, think of this as a great game of catch. Focus as much on helping that candidate throw the ball as you do on helping the hiring manager catch that ball. What’s the point of building a vibrant talent pool and delivering the desired volume, quality, or speed of applicants only to have the hiring manager turn these candidates away or off?  Let’s turn up the discussion about how recruiters can help the hiring manager succeed. If we spend as much time on them as we do the candidates, we will see a remarkable shift in hiring outcomes. You can read Beth Gilfeather's article as it was originally posted on The Staffing Stream: Have We Forgotten About the Hiring Manager

Related: Hiring market trends, Recruitment productivity, Best practices, Industry events, Recruiter training, Recruiting best practices

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