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5 ways to make a hiring manager happy

Karen Henke
Editor of the Shortlist
July 14, 2022

If you’re a recruiter, a hiring manager is your most important contact and someone you need to be your ally in the recruitment process. Whether they’ve been with the company for years, or they’re a new hire themselves, you’ll want to take steps to impress them and establish a good recruiter and hiring manager relationship. This is crucial for any company’s talent acquisition efforts.

What is a hiring manager?

Anyone at a company building a team will be a hiring manager at some point. The hiring manager is the person to whom a new hire will report. They are usually the person in pain because a role is open or new. They define the role and identify both the must-haves and nice-to-haves. As a recruiter, you will work with many hiring managers who have a range of skills and styles.  

Working with hiring managers

In the highly competitive, fast paced world of recruiting, recruiters are much more than order takers. Recruiters with data and insights can use their expertise to guide hiring managers toward the best candidates to fill their talent gaps with speed, efficiency and diversity in mind. They play a strategic role in building high performing teams. 

Here are 5 steps you can take to win over your hiring manager and play a more consultative role in the recruitment process.

Step 1: Understand what hiring managers look for

It’s important to make sure that your hiring efforts are always aligned with what your hiring manager, and the company, are looking for. A collaborative, in-depth intake meeting is usually all it takes to set the foundation. 

In this meeting you can:

  • Set clear goals for the recruiting process
  • Iron out the details of what the hiring process will look like
  • Dig deep into the specific attributes that an ideal hire would possess
  • Decide on job titles/benefits packages 

The main goals here are to clarify all the details about the open roles you’re looking to fill, establish what qualifications you’re looking for, and agree on the hiring process from outreach to onboarding. 

A thoughtful, well-organized intake session sets the foundation for a great hiring experience from start to finish. Curious to see what this meeting looks like? Check out this hiring intake meeting.   

Step 2: Show hiring managers the talent pool results 

Once you know what your hiring manager is looking for, you don’t have to wait for candidates to apply, you can find and engage passive candidates on their behalf. 

One of the most common sourcing challenges is a talent pool that is too narrow or too broad. Hiring managers with too many requirements may result in such a small talent pool that it is impossible to generate interest from enough qualified applicants to make a hire. 

At the same time, a search that is too broad means you and your hiring manager will spend too much time reviewing profiles and removing people from your talent pool. Not only is it time consuming, this activity introduces bias and may limit the diversity of your candidate pool. 

One of the best ways to move the search forward is to show hiring managers search results and work with them to expand or refine the talent pool as needed. When they see the size of the talent pool, location of candidates, and probabilistic diversity of the talent pool, it gives you a starting point to refine your search without getting into the details of individual profiles. 

Step 3: Set a realistic timetable for hiring

Be thoughtful when you set the timetable for sourcing, interviewing, and onboarding new talent. The process often takes longer than a hiring manager expects, and setting expectations up front helps build trust. Your hiring manager feels the pain of a missing staff member right now. 

It may be tempting to provide shorter timelines, but that puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on you and can lead to poor hiring decisions. You can set a tone for the recruitment process that will give the hiring manager confidence by using data to your advantage. When you have a clear window into your talent pipeline and the broader market, you can provide realistic expectations that maintain trust in your relationship. Plus, it’s always best to under promise and over deliver. 

Remind hiring managers about the advantages of remote hiring in saving time by making it easier to schedule interviews.

Step 4: Conduct regular hiring check-ins

Keeping the line of communication open is very important for building a strong recruiter and hiring manager relationship. Hiring managers want to know you’re on top of the recruiting process.

Remember, they’re busy with their own workload, scheduling, and management duties. So you can’t expect them to reach out to you to follow up on resumes or after interviews. Setting a time on the calendar to review the talent pool, responses, and the funnel analytics assures the hiring manager that everything is on track. Being proactive here goes a long way to building trust and keeping your hiring initiatives running smoothly. 

Step 5: Remember you’re on the same team

Despite how it might feel, at the end of the day, recruiters and hiring managers are working together as a team to achieve talent acquisition goals. Your relationship with hiring managers should be a collaborative one. Transparency about how sourcing is going, response rates, and success build that confidence. 

Giving hiring managers access to a dashboard can be helpful. They’ll know what progress is being made and have the ability to drill down as deep as they want to go into the details. Be sure to let them know how they can help.

Whenever a notable event happens, take that as an opportunity to swing by your hiring manager’s desk or start a slack conversation and give them a quick debrief. And don’t forget to celebrate a win. 

Mastering the recruiter - hiring manager relationship

The more you communicate and stay connected with your hiring manager, the smoother the recruitment process will go. You want your hiring manager to always feel like they’re engaged with the process. That ensures that you both stay aligned in your goals and intentions, make continued progress, and ultimately, recruit new people who will make a difference at your company for a long time ahead.