How to Guide: Managing your Hiring Manager 

Arguable one of the toughest challenges for recruiters is to manage the expectations of their hiring manager. Whilst the hiring manager is involved in the recruitment and onboarding of a new candidate, they don’t always understand the true level of work, effort, and time it takes to recruit the most suited applicant. 

Misunderstandings are prevalent in all relationships. Regardless of the type of relationship, (professional or personal),  there will always be disputes between expectations and deliverables as one perspective never truly matches another…

It is common in recruitment for hiring managers and recruiters to have disputes regarding their SLA. Service Level Agreements are created between HR and recruiters, and outlines the deliverables that one party must deliver to the other. 

I recently interviewed recruitment professionals in order to gain insight into the recruitment world and develop an insightful ‘How To’ series (see here for professional insight on how to be a good recruiter). 

During this interview, recruitment professional Philip Neho revealed that in his 14+ years of external and internal recruitment experience he has found the toughest challenge to be meeting the expectations of stakeholders. Especially hiring managers. 

In Phillips opinion;Hiring managers that have only done it a certain way aren’t willing to listen to other potential pathways… or have their mind set on certain attributes but don’t open their scope to a less specific person and hire to fill potentially different skill gaps in the team. This is the challenge many internal recruiters will face. 

Although this challenge is tailored to internal recruitment, it is applicable to external recruiters as the organisations they are hiring for may also be stubborn in the description of the candidate they wish to hire. Therefore leaving minimal room to hire candidates with similar skills but value in other areas the current team may lack. 

In order to overcome this challenge, and ensure your SLA is met, here’s what you must do!

#1: Have a Strong Brief 

You must ensure that you listen to the brief you’re provided and ask questions!

Dig beneath the initial brief, the more information you unearth the greater chance of finding the best suited candidate. Ask your hiring manager (or stakeholder) what are the strengths and weaknesses of the current team. Find out what skills the team is missing to discover what factors have influenced the ‘ideal candidate brief’. 

In the brief, make sure you outline SMARTE objectives (Smart, Measurable, Action-orientated, Results-defined, Time-bound, Environmentally-described) and agree upon the recruitment process, steps, and time frame! 

Since you’ve had a strong, in-depth brief, you’re now able to determine which candidates will add the most value to the business, and whether (or not) they’ll receive value from the position and business.

Throughout the brief, be interactive in order to ensure you get the job done to the best of your ability. Therefore, ensure you enquire about performance objectives prior to searching for candidates in order to be certain you find the perfect employee.

Post brief, write a summary of all that was discussed and send it to the appropriate stakeholders to ensure transparency, and eliminate potential miscommunication later on. 

#2: Undersell and Overdeliver

 In order to ensure you meet your deadlines, always undersell and overdeliver.

If you think something will take you the working week to complete, ask for 7 working days. By doing so, you allow yourself room for error whilst also creating a chance to impress your hiring manager by delivering the due work earlier than expected.

You avoid conflict by always being on time, or early, and never late. By doing so, you build a strong rapport with your hiring manager as you are consistently outperforming yourself, which results in leniency in your talent attraction and acquisition…

#3: Build Trust

The manner in which you treat your hiring manager, and respect their requirements, will ultimately position you in his good, or bad books. Usually, people are more lenient and trusting to those who are in their good books. 

If you undergo tip #1 and #2, you’ve already begun building trust!

By listening to their brief and asking insightful questions, you’re demonstrating you’re motivated and respectful.

Then, by underselling and over delivering you demonstrate that you’re a hard worker and eager to get the job done. Both of these situations bring upon positive connotations to your hiring manager.

As you build a foundation of trust and mutual respect, they’ll be more inclined to listen to your thoughts and opinions on candidates you’ve selected, and be forgiving if you make a mistake or don’t make the due date (on the rare occasion). 

#4: Keep them Informed

Throughout your recruitment process, be sure to keep your hiring manager informed and up to date with the progress and current thoughts. By demonstrating the first few candidates you’ve selected to interview, you’ll be able to get feedback and discuss whether (or not) you’re on the right direction before investing time into unsuitable candidates. By doing so, you present yourself as being appreciative of their advice and experience. Therefore further establishing your relationship. The inclusion will be appreciated by them, and work to eliminate potential misunderstandings and workplace tension. 

#5: Be Resourceful

Whatever they need, provide it. Whether they need; sample interview questions, external research, clarification or advice. Work collaboratively with them and be resourceful. Make sure you brief, and debrief.

Building a relationship is crucial to a successful candidate hire and positive working environment. The relationship between hiring managers and recruiters shouldn’t be tense, they should work together collaboratively to increase the success rate of hiring candidates.

Both hiring managers and recruiters have the same end goal; to hire the best suited candidate for the business to promote productivity and business success. 

Therefore, the times of tension between the two positions must be put in the past. Moving forward, both employees are equally as responsible for the relationship development and recruitment of new employees.

Thus; develop relationships, work together, respect each other and put in the hard work to see the best results. 

Put your differences aside and create recruitment miracles.