I often hear complaints from recruiters about hiring managers. Hiring managers can indeed be very difficult and hard to please. Some times a requisition is held up simply because the hiring manager took over a week to review the resumes. The candidates were long gone by the time you called them, so like a hamster on wheel you’re forced to start running through the sourcing process again. I’ve heard other recruiters say that their hiring managers insist on deciding where to source, even though the recruiter disagrees. Following the hiring manager’s wishes, the frustrated recruiter throws away thousands of dollars while knowing that this is not the best source to recruit from. Either way, we’ve all at some point had a “nightmare” hiring manager, one who makes our days to fill a position astronomically high because he or she is continually holding up the process. One thing I have learned in the course of working with hundreds of organizations is that if you encounter one difficult hiring manager, the odds are other hiring managers in the same organization are difficult as well. It is the company culture that breeds the difficult managers who do not put hiring as a priority. Likewise, it is a company culture reinforced by top managers where hiring is top priority that breeds managers who are cooperative, appreciative, and helpful. Yes, there are probably some isolated incidents of difficult hiring managers in a positive culture, but overall, the attitude of the manager toward the recruiter seems to come with the territory/culture to which they belong. So what can a recruiter do to change a difficult hiring manager? It will take some time, but a recruiter can ultimately able turn around a difficult hiring manager by following these helpful steps:
- Be the expert you are. You are the expert in recruiting, not the hiring manager. Give the hiring manager advice and feedback even if it hurts. If you are recruiting for a position that has unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky expectations, let the hiring manager know. Don’t let the hiring manager tell you where to recruit, that is your job. Be confident, do your research, listen well and ask the right questions. I remember when I first started recruiting, I was a bit intimidated when dealing with VP-level individuals. Do not let your intimidation show. You are there to help them.
- Control your process. Be proactive, not reactive. Educate the hiring manager on your process as well as your expectations of the hiring manager. Date the resumes you give your hiring managers and give them no longer than 48 hours to respond. Determine the hiring managers level of urgency and prioritize accordingly. Try to involve the hiring manager by giving them tools to phone screen and interview with. Make a point to talk to each of your hiring managers every day, letting them know where you are in your plan of action.
- Work hard and research well. Do your homework and stay on top of your industry. Educate yourself daily to be a better a recruiter. Try new things and measure your results. Become an expert on using the Internet as well as other tools to recruit. Not all recruiters are equal, so be the best at what you do and respect will follow.
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Take pride in turning a difficult hiring manager into a pussycat. Accept the challenge rather than dreading it. By recognizing your value to the company, being the expert, controlling your process, and working hard, you become a huge asset to the company and the best friend of all hiring managers! Good luck and let me know how it goes!