Recruiters: Step Away from the Computer and Start Talking to Hiring Managers

While we can all admit that technology has greatly enhanced how we work, relationships are at the core of recruiting. And there’s one relationship that many recruiters are neglecting — the hiring manager relationship.

Hiring managers can be a tremendous source of ideas, intelligence, and potential candidates, if you build the relationship the right way. Here are three easy steps you can take to tap into your hiring managers’ knowledge and networks, while also building better working relationships with your hiring managers. 

  1. Educate hiring managers: In my experience, many hiring managers have just a basic understanding of how sourcing and recruiting work. Even if they understand it at a high level, they don’t always understand the nuances and complexities of how to find candidates. One of the best relationship-building techniques we have is the ability to share how the process works, and more importantly, how hiring managers can add value to the process. This applies to sourcing, of course — how a hiring manager can help identify the right candidate in the first place. It also applies to candidate engagement — how a hiring manager can keep candidates interested and excited about the opportunity.
  2. Tap into hiring managers’ expertise and ideas: The perfect time to begin doing this is during the intake/discovery call. This initial conversation is a critical building block to your sourcing strategy. Hopefully you are already in the habit of conducting thorough intake calls because you need that exchange of information to set yourself up for success and to manage hiring managers’ expectations in the process. Don’t settle for the basics; you have to go a little deeper in these calls in order to be truly successful. Ask hiring managers to share thoughts and ideas about where to find talent, how to sell the opportunity to candidates, and leads of people who may be a fit. Make sure to specifically ask for referrals to people who might not be actively searching for a new role. Given that many outside of recruiting are unfamiliar with active and passive candidates, a little guidance can go a long way in finding the right person for the job.
  3. Use hiring managers’ social network: For the majority of us, social recruiting is a major component of the overall sourcing strategy. Make sure you are using the social networks where the candidates for each position hang out, which may be very different from the networks you hang out on. If you are not already connected to your hiring managers on LinkedIn and/or other social sites, ask to connect. While you’re at it, find out whether your hiring manager is a member of other groups that would be helpful, and if they can help you access these groups. Ask to share the job with their network and for introductions to people outside of your established network.

The process of engaging and educating hiring managers will help you develop a deeper understanding of them, the industry, and the marketplace. In addition, it will absolutely strengthen your relationships with your hiring managers because you will have become true partners in the quest for talent.

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Some of the Related Conference Sessions at the ERE Recruiting Conference in San Diego:

  • Recruiting for Fit with Corporate Culture (Thursday, April 24, 3:15 p.m.)

Elizabeth McCrea Theodore, SPHR, is a leader in the RPO industry, with 20 years of progressive experience and a focus on the creation and execution of innovative talent identification and engagement and employee development strategies In her current role, she is responsible for the creation and delivery of talent management programs for ManpowerGroup Solutions RPO, and leads several employee development initiatives. She also leads the effort to identify and launch innovative technology strategies to enable RPO delivery operations.


3 Comments on “Recruiters: Step Away from the Computer and Start Talking to Hiring Managers

  1. Good common sense stuff to remember. Also remember that hiring managers may only hire once every couple years. We need to inform them of our thinking that comes naturally and we do 24/7.

  2. Great article. However, with the rise of VMS’s it is becoming increasingly difficult to know who your hiring managers are. The recruiters that support the VMS’s have no direct contact with the managers. All contact is done through the VMS’s relationship manager. If the VMS’s continue to grow then the relationships we Recruiter’s once had with the hiring managers will be gone. I’ve been a recruiter for 15+ years and what allowed me to grow my volume at my client sites was based off of the relationship and the trust factor I had with my hiring managers but it appears that with the new technology the relationship is becoming a thing of the past.

  3. So true…corporate recruiters are leaning on email as a communication choice and not actually communicating face to face or even by phone with hiring managers. It is virtually impossible to recruit right off a job description and even when forced to work with a recruiter as an outside partner – I get the simple response, “I’ll send the resume and see what the manager says.”

    Note to corporate recruiters…that is not recruiting, that is paper pushing. Be a trusted adviser and bring value. Don’t just be a warm body in a seat.

    Great post.

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