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The Hiring Manager’s Guide to Working With Recruiters

Posted By Howard Adamsky On July 19, 2012 @ 6:00 am In Advice and How-Tos | 12 Comments

(Editor’s note: With so many new ERE members coming on all the time, we thought that each week we’d republish one popular classic post. Here’s one, below.)

Recruiting is a team effort. It’s most effective when the parties that make up the team move quickly and effectively through the process to get the job done. This is, of course, easier said than done, but let’s takes a quick moment to identify the three primary members of this illustrious team:

  1. The candidate
  2. The recruiter
  3. The hiring manager

If any of the above-mentioned parties fail to perform as expected, the process tends to suffer — and can break down completely under certain circumstances. This can lead to all types of problems and frustrations that relate to the successful acquisition of a new employee.

On top of that, you risk wasting time and money — as well as creating bad blood with respect to the candidate — if the hiring process is mishandled. Fortunately, most recruiters I come in contact with understand the necessity of driving the process forward and making things happen as quickly and as smoothly as possible. On the other hand, most candidates are simply looking to explore a given opportunity. But because candidates exist outside of the company, they do not fall under the expectations of organizational processes or expectations. Oh boy. This leaves us with the hiring managers, who can be a real problem if you are looking to be a more successful recruiter. If you the recruiter want to be more effective, you will need the full and ongoing cooperation of your hiring managers. Those individuals, in conjunction with the interviewing team they appoint, will be the people who will most influence your ability to be successful in building great organizations.

With this in mind, I have developed a one-pager you can email to your hiring managers to explain how to get more out of their recruiting partners and, as a result, hire better employees into their team.

This document can also be used as a guideline for conversation, a tool for training, or a document you can simply ask managers to read and discuss at some future date. Take my advice and you will have hiring managers who have a better understanding of what is expected of them and in turn, will be more willing to help you to help themselves.

Hiring Managers: Here’s How to Get the Most Out of Your Recruiting Partners

According to Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” I see this as the essence of teamwork, and that is just what recruiting has become — an exercise in teamwork, with people working together to hire the best employees and build the best companies. With this in mind, and in order to be assured that we are operating in a smooth and effective manner, I ask the following:

  • Let me know when you have a position open as soon as it has been approved. The sooner you let me know that a position has been approved, the sooner I can meet with you, the sooner I can clearly understand what you are looking for in the candidates you want to hire, and the sooner I can begin my work in sourcing these candidates. Good candidates are not easy to find, so the more running room I have to develop an intelligent sourcing plan, the better off we’ll be.
  • If I call or email you, please respond. I understand you are busy. So am I. What I’m probably most busy with is trying to do all that is required to fill your position. I know that running your organization is a top priority, but hiring is a major part of running a business, and I need you to be responsive to me when I reach out. That’s how a good and productive team works.
  • Please respond to resumes quickly. Most candidates have a very short shelf life and little patience for organizations that do not respond quickly. Talent is tight and good people can go to a number of other employers in a flash. If I get a resume in front of you, please respond as quickly as possible so I can move the process on to the next step. I am not just concerned about whether your answer is “yes” or “no.” What makes my life very difficult is no response at all, and being stuck between a hiring manager who is not reactive and a candidate who is calling me looking for an answer to a simple question: “Does the manager want to see me or not?” Please do not put me in that position, because it makes all of us look foolish.
  • Please see that your interviewing team is ready. The candidate interviewing experience is critical to the ongoing success of the organization. Remember that prospective employees of today can become the customers or partners of tomorrow. They can refer others to your jobs. Be sure your interviewing team is ready to do a world-class job in all candidate-facing activities. This means they should have reviewed and understood the position for which they are interviewing and read the candidate’s resume before the candidate arrives. The team should be prepared to discuss the candidate with you after the interview is completed.
  • Inform me as to what you see as the next step in the process. Please get back to me with your thoughts, ideas, or questions right after the interview has taken place. Be advised that I can, in most cases, keep the candidate warm for a reasonable time, but I can’t say or do anything without hearing from you. Once again, make us all look good by being responsive and moving quickly as this is in everyone’s best interests.
  • Be sure to only ask questions that relate to the position. We live in a highly litigious society, and as your partner in the hiring process, it is my job to see that we never have a legal problem as a result of inappropriate questions being asked. Please remember that all questions asked should pertain only to the candidate’s experience as it relates to their ability to perform the duties of the position for which they are interviewing.
  • Remember to sell the company. Whether or not the candidate joins our organization is far more in your hands than in mine. But if you want to have the candidate join our company, you will have to sell it to the candidate. If the candidate is interviewing elsewhere, that is exactly what the competition will be doing. Be sure to let the candidate know why they should be seeing us as their next place of employment, and what some of the advantages are at our company. Remember, we always want the choice about whether to move forward or not to be our choice, not the candidate’s.
  • Please help me to close the candidate if I make that request. Landing a candidate is not always an easy thing to accomplish. As the marketplace tightens and top talent becomes harder to find, candidates will very often have multiple offers. I will do whatever I can to pre-close the candidate, get them prepped for an offer, and everything else necessary to make things happen. However, at times I will need a bit of help to make things happen and close the deal. If I call you to set up a meeting or phone call to lay out a capture strategy (see my article entitled How to Develop a Capture Strategy [1]), please work with me on this. Together, as a team, we have a far better chance of successfully landing the candidate.
  • Leave the offers to me. Extending offers is a big part of my job, and I know exactly how to do it. Extending an offer is asking for the sale, and it has to be done at the right time, in the right way, and under the right circumstances. Please let me handle it as I see fit. (By the way, if you are the one who determines compensation, let’s talk, because low-balling the candidate is a catastrophe of major proportions!).

If I as the recruiter can get you as the hiring manager to work with me and follow these simple guidelines, we will both be successful, both help to build this company, and both demonstrate the ongoing value that teamwork brings to those who choose to use it.


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[1] How to Develop a Capture Strategy: http://www.erexchange.com/articles/db/878BF61D049A4B3EA821309FBDDF85DE.asp

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