The Role of the Manager and Technology in Recruiting

Scenario 1 Joe, the hiring manager for IT, Inc.’s software development group, sits in front of his computer. The corporate Intranet offers him a multitude of choices: open an employment requisition, write a performance appraisal, assign a bonus and so forth. Joe clicks on the button for opening a requisition. Up pops a form that he fills in outlining the nature of the position, the title, the salary and the signing bonus. Within ten to fifteen minutes he has created a requisition, and with a flick of the finger he sends it off to recruiting. He has a vague idea of who his recruiter is – after all he just had a run in with him over a totally unqualified candidate a few days ago – but he can’t remember his name at the moment. Anyway, he has pretty low expectations to begin with and has already put out a few “feelers” around the department for referrals. Over in the recruiting department, a new item appears in Bill’s email notifying him that a requisition has arrived. As he looks over the requisition he sighs. He asks himself, “Doesn’t this guy know how hard it is to find people like this? What’s he think I am? Superman?” On the other hand, he knows that complaining will get him nowhere with this guy – he’s about as unrealistic as they come about people. So, he’ll run a search in the applicant tracking system, maybe check a few job boards, and give the manager whatever he finds. Scenario 2 Jill, an energetic and well-connected manager of a tough software development project at Interco, Inc., picks up the phone and calls Todd. “Hey, Todd,” she says, “I need to get a project manager in here ASAP to help with this special project I’ve got going. Can you spare me a few minutes to talk about it?” Todd replies, “No problem, Jill. I’ll be right over.” Within a half hour, over coffee, they are deep in a discussion of what Jill really needs to round out her team. They go over several possibilities and Todd lays out some facts about the job market and what the chances are of finding a choice candidate in the short term. Todd produces a sheet with some key competencies that the organization has indicated are important. Jill picks out the ones she is most focused on. They discuss these for a few minutes and agree to half dozen that Todd will make central to his initial selection. They agree to this set of basic competencies the candidates should have and then they discuss the time frame in which Todd will provide the first candidates. An hour later, they are both back at work. Jill really likes Todd and feels that he will find the right people for her. She is confident she can focus on the day-to-day work and leave the talent acquisition – at least the sourcing part – to Todd. Two Scenarios, Two Approaches These scenarios provide a glimpse of two approaches to recruiting. The first scenario outlines a technology-centric approach, where hiring managers are initiators of the recruiting process. They create the requisitions themselves and have strong ownership of the process. They may even look for referrals and other sources of candidates. Many vendors think this is what the recruiting process of the future will look like. The recruiter may still play a roll – perhaps as the prime sourcer of talent – but will not be involved in any great depth at the initiation stage. The manager will be the hub of the process and will have responsibility for its success. In this scenario the recruiter will work behind-the-scenes, building databases of candidates. This scenario assumes that managers will embrace this role and that they will dig to find the market data about the position and will know which competencies best define the position. The second scenario is a more traditional one. Here the recruiter is a partner to the recruiting process and acts as a consultant and advisor to the manager. In this case, Todd provided market data, educated Jill in what to expect from him, and actually “contracted” for a certain level of performance. Technology may be important in this scenario, but if so, it is in the background. We can imagine Todd tapping into a sophisticated set of tools that market to candidates, build brand and image, and screen potential people for specific positions. However, in this scenario, the manager is only a part of what is a sophisticated process of give-and-take. The manager proposes and lays out needs, while the recruiter provides balance and market reality. Together they emerge with a good description of a candidate and a plan of action that they both understand. I believe that managers have to own the recruiting process, but that does not necessarily means they have to DO it. Most managers welcome and need a partner in the recruiting process. And, while I am the world’s greatest believer in technology, I think it will be a long time before most managers embrace the first scenario. Managers need the give and take of discussion and the specialized knowledge of the market that good recruiters can provide. Technology will not eliminate the need for human contact and social process in recruiting. Recruiting is ultimately all about relationship and salesmanship. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

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Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at


1 Comment on “The Role of the Manager and Technology in Recruiting

  1. Kevin is absolutely right that technology won?t replace great staffing? BUT technology really can free recruiters and managers from necessary, but low-value (some might say ?no-value?) added tasks.

    In the ?fire and forget? technology staffing model (as I would label Kevin?s scenario #1), at least the organization will spot very accurately their 150+ days per hire, 53% offer acceptance rate and their 40% turnover rate. That way, when the Board replaces management, the new team will know where to focus? or the V.C.?s will more carefully monitor their next investment round.

    In the ?technology leveraged? great staffing model (not described in Kevin?s article) the recruiter has more time to spend with both hiring managers and potential candidates. Why? ? because the tedious process management, data collection, report creating, justification generation (some would use an acronym here) is automatically a by-product of actually DOING value added work. You work?. The system collects, facilitates, monitors, assists, reports.

    The system is just the light speed conduit for great staffing capability.

    In the new staffing environment, staffing process connectivity/metric management happens while the ?art? is free to be explored and optimized.

    Candidate relations can actually become that, rather than just an email trail.
    Manager update meetings become recruiting or workforce strategy session rather than history updates, or worse yet, justification sessions.

    In the end, the right system leverages the whole company?s ability to identify great talent.
    Why? Because the best talent, well organized and well planned has the best chance to succeed? and that helps everybody.

    Kevin thanks for keeping the articles flowing!

    See you soon,

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