Instead Of Butting Heads, How Hiring Managers And Recruiters Can Work Together

Repairing the hiring manager and recruiter relationship means more opportunities for everyone.

Instead Of Butting Heads, How Hiring Managers And Recruiters Can Work Together
[Image: Andrey_Popov via Shutterstock]

Businesses benefit from better recruiter-hiring manager relationships, so let’s fix them.


It’s a congested job market and businesses face fierce competition in the bid for top talent. Still, smart companies aren’t rushing to hire–in fact, they’re approaching recruitment and hiring more methodically than ever. Business leaders with big-picture mentalities aren’t interested in bringing in dozens of candidates for an open position, but rather want access to just a few prospects with the highest potential for long-term success.

It’s a new age in ultra-efficient hiring that only tight collaboration between the people behind the people–hiring managers and recruiters–can usher in. When these two key players align on objectives and come together to make small changes they can significantly improve the chances of hiring a professional who isn’t simply a fit “right now,” but the right long-term match for the organization’s culture and vision.

And that’s planning that pays off for the business. Satisfied employees elevate the work environment, care about doing a great job, and are loyal to the business.

The downside to a bad hire: A business cost of 30% to 200% of that worker’s annual salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Indeed, teamwork between a company’s hiring managers and recruiters require an upfront investment of time and planning, but the ROI–measured in terms of stronger candidate meetings and, then, better quality of hires–is significant.

A genuine and ideal partnership begins before the position is even posted, when a hiring manager and recruiter get on the same page about four key issues:

1. The Business Value

A position has been vacated or been newly created–but why? The individual responsible for opening up the opportunity–the hiring manager–should ensure that the recruiter understands how this placement could impact overarching business goals like growth, productivity, or service expansion.


2. The Ideal Profile

Forget about being open to a range of skills, the hiring manager and recruiter should work together to identify the makeup and background for the “ideal” candidate. Developing a list of must-have and nice-to-have skills and attributes, or identifying who at the current organization the hiring manager would clone for a new opportunity are two tactics to get the conversation going.

3. The Process

Each company is different, but in many organizations hiring managers are considered the recruitment department’s clients. As such recruiters should get to know their clients’ preferred way of working and communicating for optimal partnership. Ask:

Will a batch of candidates be sent in slate-format or will any potential rock star be sent to a hiring manager upon discovery?
How long does each party expect it will take to fill the role?

From a technology perspective it’s unlikely that a hiring manager will choose to log into a company’s applicant tracking system or HR platform. So make sure the hiring manager can receive candidates for review on a mobile device and/or that executive dashboards are available within the company’s recruitment technology to share with leadership just interested in the high-level overview.

4. The Pipeline

Hiring managers should be in routine communications with recruiters even when a specific position isn’t open for hire to maintain a qualified, accessible talent pool. This means that businesses can rapidly respond to unexpected shifts in their staffing needs and recruiters can offer up near-perfect candidates no matter the turnaround.

And while a coordinated effort between hiring managers and recruiters can keenly focus talent acquisition efforts in a loud, crowded job market, so can specialized digital and social tools. Like your candidates before you land them. Known as “e-recruiting,” the use of these technologies and techniques can complement and accelerate the hiring manager-recruiter partnership.


Businesses can now effectively gather nuanced information about a candidate’s behaviors, preferences, and personality to inform better employment matches with the following technologies:

Insightful video screenings

These short, personal videos allow companies to screen for those critical soft skills that don’t come across on traditional resumes and cover letters. Oftentimes, these soft skills reveal if a candidate will be a culture fit aligned to key values of an organization.

For example, a video screening can reveal a candidate’s demeanor, presentation skills, and ability to sell an idea in a way that an email or cover letter simply cannot.

By sharing candidate videos with hiring managers before the in-person interview, recruiters can avoid the “oh no” feeling a hiring manager may have minutes into an interview when he or she knows the candidate is simply not right for the role. Minimizing these awkward moments helps build trust between the recruiter and hiring manager for future partnership.

Smart Social Recruiting

Identifying professionals throughout a company’s extended social network may qualify candidates as potentially like-minded cultural fits for a business and provides an opportunity to make everyone at the company a brand ambassador or mini recruiter.

Companies active on social media can use these platforms to post career opportunities on their wall or feed, ensuring people who already “like” or “follow” the brand learn about the latest jobs. Recruiters also can speak the language of hiring managers by providing them with market data around social recruiting.


For example, according to a recent iCIMS study, Google+ allows for the best employment brand awareness impact, whereas Facebook has the best conversion from an initial job viewing to the application process.

High-impact Career Hubs

Top talent will want to research a business and decide for themselves if they’re a good fit or not, even before applying. The mobile friendliness of a company’s career hub also is critical.

According to Aberdeen Group, of the 70% of job seekers who search for jobs using mobile devices, slightly more than half (51%) are able to submit applications, meaning that almost half abandon the process and are hidden to your recruiters.

Having a mobile-optimized career hub gives companies a competitive advantage. Those who do not are missing out on a large number of qualified, would-be applicants.

Technologies, like the examples above, were once scaled and priced for use within large enterprise-level businesses, but they are now within financial reach for even small, growing companies.

This is an important development, as a new study from iCIMS found job seekers are open to pursuing careers with companies of all sizes. In fact, the respondents had a slightly higher interest in smaller businesses (501 employees or less) than in larger corporations.


E-recruiting helps bring a business’s brand and career opportunities to the forefront for those candidates actively seeking work with smaller businesses, and levels the playing field for small businesses competing with enterprises for top talent’s attention.

The “people behind the people” + tech = a powerful partnership.

Hiring managers and recruiters that work in concert with each other can further advance their objectives with technology that provides the insights to ensure high-potential candidates become full-potential employees.

Colin Day is founder and CEO of iCIMS.