Discover how to create a customer-centric relationship with hiring managers and how to use that relationship to drive hiring performance and retention
Recruiters and hiring managers can have a pretty challenging relationship at times. It’s not unusual for recruiters to compare working with hiring managers to “herding cats” and claim that they want the impossible — the illusive purple squirrel. Recruiters know that working with hiring managers should be a partnership, but it’s difficult to see it that way when you’re frustrated.
Maybe it’s time to shift the thinking on the recruiter/hiring manager relationship.
According to a study by Bersin in a WhatWorks® Brief, developing strong relationships with hiring managers is a top driver of talent acquisition performance. If fact, it’s four times more influential than the other 15 performance drivers discussed in the report. That means that hiring managers are a key component of the entire candidate experience and their engagement in the process impacts quality of hire, employer branding, and retention.
So what can you do to turn your relationship with hiring managers from headache to happiness?
Shift your thinking. Yes… that simple.
Instead of thinking of a hiring manager as your nemesis, think of them as your customer. How can you create a better hiring manager experience?
What do hiring managers think?
Before you can begin to improve your partnership with hiring managers, you have to get an idea of where the problems lie in your relationship. That begins with a Hiring Manager Satisfaction Survey. The surveys are a subjective measurement of your recruiting, but the hiring managers’ perceptions of the recruiting function are ultimately the most important metric.
Using a Hiring Manager Satisfaction Survey will help you discover the biggest areas of friction with your customer (the hiring manger), from the customer’s point of view. Once you’ve got some answers, you can begin to address any specific problems your hiring manager customers have, but like any relationship, there are some general strategies that you can begin tackling right now to get your partnership on track.
Help them trust you.
Trust is a key component in any relationship, and your relationship with hiring managers is no different. A lack of trust means that hiring managers will always be looking for faults in everything you do. On the other hand, if you’ve earned their trust, they are more likely to overlook small mistakes, provide constructive feedback, and be open to your suggestions as you work together.
How can you help them trust you?
Put yourself in their shoes and think about how you would like to be treated if your were the hiring manager. Clear communication and expectations, following up regularly, and maintaining deadlines are probably the simplest solutions. Listen to your hiring manager customers and you’ll probably see other ways you can make their job easier and help them trust you more.
Maintain transparency in the relationship.
Transparency is something that most people appreciate in any relationship, and hiring managers are no exception. Keep them updated on where you are in the recruiting process, explain your difficulties finding their idea candidate, talk to them about how you’re sourcing talent for them. The more they understand what YOU do, the less likely they are to find fault when you hit a snag with a candidate or have difficulty finding exactly the skills they’ve asked for.
Most importantly, invite them to ask questions and patiently answer them. This not only keeps what you’re doing transparent to your hiring manager customer, but it also helps to build trust.
Seek to understand their needs.
Hiring managers often feel that recruiters don’t spend enough time trying to understand their business and unique workforce needs. Truly understanding what your hiring manager needs will not only help you to source better talent, create more meaningful job descriptions, and find alternate talent pools, but it will also go a long way toward building a true partnership with hiring managers.
Lastly, if you have a deep understanding of the business function that you support, you can be a useful advisor to hiring managers about the dynamics of the talent market, translatable skills when searching for new talent, and salary expectations.
Start a customer-centric relationship with hiring managers.
There’s no doubt that recruiters and hiring managers can sometimes find themselves at odds, but with a little work and a change in perspective, you can make huge improvements in your relationship. Thinking of hiring managers the same way you would a candidate, like a customer, can pay big dividends. Not only will it improve the candidate experience, but it will also improve quality of hire, employer branding, and retention.