How to Build a Solid Recruiter-Hiring Manager Relationship?

As a recruiter, you can encounter many obstacles on your mission to find a perfect candidate. But dealing with recruitment reality can be much easier if you have a partner in crime. Building a solid relationship with the hiring manager can improve the candidate experience, speed up the recruitment process, and save you a lot of stress! Although it sounds great, it can be challenging to achieve. In this article, we will take a closer look at cooperation between Hiring Managers and Recruiters and share some tested tips on how to meet halfway for better recruitment results.

Why is building a business relationship with the hiring manager so important? 

The connection between the Hiring Manager and the recruiter plays a central role in successfully acquiring top talent. As we dive into the heart of this partnership, we'll uncover the six reasons why building a solid business relationship with hiring managers is more than just a formality – it's the key to successful recruitment. 

1. Knowing who you are looking for

Developing a solid relationship with the hiring manager allows you to gain a broader perspective regarding hiring needs and job requirements. By improving communication, you can clarify any ambiguities, ask relevant questions, and ensure you have a clear picture of the candidate's profile. 

2. Efficient recruitment process

When you have a strong relationship with the hiring manager, it makes the recruitment process frictionless. You can collaborate closely, align expectations, and set realistic timelines (and, as we know, the recruitment process requires perfect timing). A good hiring manager will provide prompt feedback on candidates, enabling you to move forward efficiently and make timely and thoughtful decisions. This partnership fosters a smoother recruitment experience for all parties involved and helps you to improve the overall candidates’ experience. 

3. Better cultural fit

By building a relationship with the hiring manager, you gain valuable insights into team dynamics and goals. This knowledge can help you evaluate candidates better and give them more accurate feedback.

4. Bring your contact with the candidates to a higher level

A strong relationship with the hiring manager enhances your ability to screen candidates effectively. It allows you to present the company and the role in an interesting yet truthful way and answer candidates’ questions accurately. With a deeper understanding of what the hiring manager is looking for, you can evaluate candidates better and match their skills and experience to the role. It can save you and the hiring manager a lot of time in the recruitment process and increase the likelihood of finding the right fit.

5. Advisor status

When you develop a solid relationship with the hiring manager, you can position yourself as a trusted advisor and specialist in the recruitment process. Your expertise and insights can be sought to refine job descriptions, establish competitive compensation packages, and navigate any hiring challenges. Being seen as a valuable partner fosters mutual respect and strengthens your professional reputation.

6. Long-term partnership

Lastly, building a business relationship with the hiring manager extends beyond a single recruitment cycle. It paves the way for a long-term partnership where you can continue to support their hiring needs as the organization grows and evolves. 

The relationship with the hiring manager should be based on mutual trust, professionalism, and effective communication. It's about becoming a strategic partner in the hiring process and leveraging your expertise to help the hiring manager achieve their goals. Now we know why it is worth investing time in building a bond with the hiring manager, let’s figure out how to do that! 

How do you build a relationship with the manager? A step-by-step guide:

1. Create a general recruitment form

Firstly, it is good to have a general form the manager can fill out before recruitment. You can ask them about expectations, the scope of responsibilities, the budget, and the requirements. Trust me, it’s so simple yet it serves as an excellent base for the start and further discussion. Also, having to fill out a form will also help the hiring manager to better understand their needs and expectations towards the new person they’re looking for. 

2. Understand the business context of the new role

Our preparation process can vary and depends on a few factors, but one of the most significant is if the role is new or already existing in the organization. 

a) Shall we start with the more challenging scenario? A totally new job position in the company can be a mystery. We need to define the candidate's profile, expectations, and objectives of our future employees. We can start by checking out the market to find similar job offers or profiles of candidates on Linkedin. Start your pre-search so you know what you can offer to the Hiring Manager. You can also schedule a pre-kick-off meeting with the Hiring manager to ask all questions, discuss expectations, and compare them to what the market offers. 

b) If the role is already in the organization, you can add one step to your list (but trust me, it’s worth doing!). If the recruitment process is not confidential, talk with the person with the same or similar responsibilities. Ask them about challenges, opportunities to grow, and their typical day of work and what skills help them to fulfill their objectives. This will help you to better understand the role and tailor your communication to better match the candidates' needs with what your company can offer.

3. Prepare and nail the kick-off meeting

Before the kick-off meeting with the hiring manager, it’s good to prepare the draft of the job description, flow of the recruitment process, questions, and areas of expertise we want to check. Having this, writing the final job offer will be much more effective. You can also present a few profiles from Linkedin to check if you understand the role and move in the right direction. The kick-off meeting is your chance to ask as many questions as possible to set expectations right. If done correctly, it will prepare a perfect ground for recruitment, save you time, and enhance your partnership with the hiring partner. Here are some examples of the questions that you can ask the hiring manager during the kick-off meeting:

  • What do you expect from the person?
  • What is the most critical area in that role (for instance, do we focus more on technical skills or business orientation)? 
  • What is the scope of responsibilities? 
  • How will a person in that role be evaluated? What are the objectives of that role? 
  • Should we take something into account? Check what obstacles the new employee can encounter when joining the company; for instance, the process flow in their future team needs to be restructured, which can be a challenge initially. 
  • Does the Hiring Manager have any tips on best presenting the role to the candidates? How can we encourage candidates for that role? 
  • What would the Hiring Manager like to hear if he were in the candidate's shoes? 
  • What is the salary range we can offer? How flexible are we? 

4. Discuss the flow of the recruitment process

The flow of the recruitment process is often a key to success. The long one may discourage candidates and influence their motivation, the short one may result in hiring a person who will fail to succeed in the role. Naturally, the Hiring Manager can suggest a lengthy recruitment process to check all possible angles or an extremely short one to fill the role as fast as possible. In both cases, it can lead to recruitment issues. Managers are only sometimes aware of the challenges of the recruitment process. As recruiters, we can offer our help, support them with our know-how, and react if we detect bottlenecks. 

How can we do that? Let's think about how many steps we need in the recruitment process and what we want to check on every one of them. For instance, in the 1st interview, we can agree to check business orientation and cultural fit. In the 2nd interview, we can discuss the recruitment task, review technical skills, and evaluate feedback skills. To do that, let's prepare a list of questions for every area. It will help the manager better understand what we are looking for and what they can expect. 

Bonus points: with the well-constructed recruitment process and the list of questions, you will ace your evaluations to speed up and improve the decision-making process. You can design the recruitment process using tools like Miro, Mural, or Notion, they are easy to use and can significantly improve your life :) 

5. Set ground rules for the cooperation

It is good to set ground rules for the recruitment team. Setting them is beneficial for many reasons. First, you define clear expectations, which then helps you reduce ambiguity. Establishing ground rules can also prevent possible conflicts and address them more effectively and faster when they arise. What could they involve? Start with the basics, like communication frequency or feedback turnaround time. They are quite simple, yet will help keep the recruitment process up to speed.

6. Schedule regular updates  

Stay in touch with Hiring Managers. You don't need to inform them about every single detail of the process, but keep them in the loop with the candidates' status, challenges, and the market. Plan a short meeting after every interview to double-check if the recruitment process is working well and verify expectations regarding candidates. Give them a space to share their thoughts, and don’t be afraid to challenge them! Keep your eyes and ears open, and try to catch recruitment biases. On this note, it’s also helpful to review the potential biases everyone can have while recruiting. At first, it can be inconvenient, but in the end, it will help the hiring manager to make more accurate decisions and broaden their perspective. 

7. Give and ask for feedback regularly.

It is no secret that feedback helps you grow; by asking and giving feedback regularly, the Hiring Manager and you can mount up together as a team. It will help to improve the recruitment process; you will avoid understatements at the end. 

Building a strong relationship with hiring managers is not only about improving the recruitment process but also about creating a partnership based on trust, professionalism, and effective communication. By following these steps and committing to the development of this crucial partnership, recruiters can significantly enhance their effectiveness and contribute to the overall success of their organisation's talent acquisition efforts.

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