4 Ways to Get Hiring Managers Involved in Recruiting — Quickly

May 7, 2013

Here are some ideas you can immediately implement in your organization to help get hiring managers on board with your recruiting efforts, quickly:

  1. Host a social media training lunch. Invite your hiring managers to a lunch provided for them in a conference room where you explain to them the basics of LinkedIn. Have them bring their laptops. Focus the training on status updates, groups, and network building. Give some real-life examples on a projector — post a job update on your news feed so they can see how easy it is. Do the same on Facebook and Twitter. Then have the managers try it themselves. Remind them of the personal benefits they’ll get by building their professional network on LinkedIn. Show them how to find and join a group, start/join in on a discussion, and message other members of the group.
  2. Establish weekly “group email” alerts. In your email system, create “groups” of hiring managers defined by department and/or location. Each week, send out an email to the group with links to the jobs in that department that the managers can easily copy and paste into their social media accounts. Some ATS systems offer this as a built-in feature, even allowing managers to set “auto-publishing” of jobs, but if you don’t have that built into your current system you can do it manually.
  3. Share successes. Keep a close eye on the candidates that are being generated through the efforts of your hiring managers. Make sure to promote these successes to other managers so they can see that it actually does work.
  4. Repetition is key. Like training/teaching any new behavior, the one-and-done approach rarely works. Keep things top of mind for your managers by doing the social media luncheons each month. Check in on each manager individually from time to time to see how they are doing. You don’t need to overwhelm them with information, but frequent email updates and check-ins are an important way to embed this into their minds.

My Nextel Experience

In theory I could have easily called this blog post “Recruiters: No More Excuses” because more then anything else, this is a wake-up call to you directly to act now and engage your hiring managers.

It’s time to tap that resource in a meaningful way, if you aren’t already doing so.

About 12 years ago I started a sales position with Nextel Communications, and joined thousands of field sales professionals around the U.S. promoting Nextel’s push-to-talk radio-enabled phones to businesses with mobile workforces. Nextel ran a very tight ship in those days and had a well-developed sales training program. It was selective about who it hired into the program, and even more selective about who they graduated (after 90 days) into a full-fledged role as an account executive.

Sales managers at Nextel were tasked with doing their own recruiting, and like most hiring managers back then, often came up short in their efforts. Not being professional recruiters, not understanding the inner workings of the recruiting workflows we as recruiters are so accustom to, hiring managers were left confused and bewildered about where to go to find candidates. Other than asking their direct reports who they knew that they could refer, which they did often, hiring managers had no starting point from which to play an active role in the recruiting process.

Fortunately Nextel had a well-oiled internal recruiting machine and there were plenty of candidates coming through the various channels set up by internal recruiting. Positions got filled, but in almost all cases the recruiters were doing the bulk of the work and hiring managers spent their time interviewing prospective candidates, not sourcing them.

Unfortunately, most organizations (outside of larger companies that can afford big internal recruiting teams) don’t have the same luxuries Nextel had, and rely on their hiring managers to help source candidates. Back when I started working at Nextel, we had email; HotJobs, and had been around a few years and were the de facto channels to post jobs and find resumes, but the job search/candidate sourcing landscape was quite different then what we are accustomed to today. Back then, hiring managers had plenty of excuses to give when tasked with participating in the candidate sourcing process, some with actual merit. A few of the more common excuses we heard in those days:

  • “I don’t understand how the job boards work”
  • “I don’t have time to look through the databases”
  • “I don’t know where to start”
  • “I’m not a recruiter”

While you’ll likely hear the same lines from hiring managers in today’s job market, the reality is, other then the classic “I don’t have time” (this will never go away), these are no longer relevant excuses, because the recruiting landscape has been completely re-defined by social media.

Chances are high that the majority of your hiring managers have, at a minimum, a presence on Facebook; likely LinkedIn; perhaps Twitter. They’ve got a mobile phone and email account filled with contacts, and everyone they know is essentially one or two clicks or swipes on the smartphone away. Given this evolution, hiring managers have no legitimate reason to not be participating in the recruiting/candidate sourcing cycle, other then their own self-admitted ignorance about how to use their social graph for recruiting.

Going back to my Nextel example above, 10 years ago you could push this messaging onto hiring managers as much as you wanted, but the tools and resources just weren’t available for them to do much of anything about it.

Your hiring managers are likely one of your best sources of candidate generation, but don’t expect hiring managers to “get it” the way we do. Recruiting is as much an art as a science, and the practice needs to be refined over time through trial, error, and repetition. Hiring managers are ultimately the best recruiters an organization has: they have the emotional need to find the talent to help them get their work done, and done well.

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