Creating a Strong Partnership Between Hiring Managers and Job Recruiters

From an executive point of view, hiring top talent is crucial to the success of an organization, and many are willing to invest significantly to ensure they are attracting quality workers who not only fit their job description, but company culture as well.

In fact, studies show that businesses around the globe spend more than $3,300 per hire on recruiting. This means US corporations spend almost $72 billion each year on a wide range of recruiting services, staff, and products.

Hiring Managers and Recruiter Communications - outsourcing recruitment_books graphic

To assure an effective and efficient hiring process, the goals of your hiring manager and recruiter should be properly aligned. A strong, productive relationship will help both parties gain a valuable understanding of what characteristics a great employee should have. Just like other partnerships, open and consistent communication between the recruiter and hiring manager is mandatory for a successful outcome.

The following are two sets of guidelines to help maximize communications between job recruiters and hiring managers.

How can hiring managers have a more successful partnership with recruiters?

  • Make sure your job descriptions are clear and concise.  Be specific with the qualifications that you require for each candidate and work with your recruiter. Talk to him or her about the specifics of your criteria and why they are important. This will help the recruiter understand where flexibility may or may not be applied regarding specific skills.
  • Be specific with what you’re looking for – both hard and soft skills.  Indicate if the person you want to hire will work independently or as part of a team. Specify if the new hire will deal with clients or executives. Be sure to also address specifics that are not included in the job description. This will help the recruiter understand what you need during sourcing and initial screening.
  • When you reject a candidate, provide the recruiter with reasons why.  By providing detailed feedback on why a candidate didn’t make the cut, you will make it easier for the recruiter to understand what to look out for should you request a replacement. Refrain from vague statements such us, “I just didn’t like him.” This will make it almost impossible for the recruiter to help you screen candidates and you will end up prolonging the hiring process. As a result, you may lose a great candidate to another company.
  • Be specific with when you want a position to be filled.  Specify whether a position needs to be filled immediately or if it is more important to take the time to hire the right candidate for the long-term. Be sure to let the recruiter know your timeline so that he or she will prioritize tasks and meet your expectations for when you want a candidate to start working.
  • Communication should be open and consistent. Communicate through any means necessary; whether by phone, email, text messages or Skype. Communication throughout the hiring process should be open and consistent.

Hiring Managers and Recruiter Communications - woman on phone headset

How can recruiters build stronger relationships with hiring managers?

  • Be specific with your questions.  Instead of asking the hiring manager, “What do you need?” request to know the specific skills, experience, and trainings that are needed for the job. You should also find out what type of educational background the ideal candidate must possess. Discovering which characteristics and personality traits are best for the role can also help you choose the best candidate.
  • Research the industry.  Even if a hiring manager tells you which specific skills and characteristics are needed for a position, you must still do your own research. Compare the role to similar jobs in other companies. Take note of the common requirements and if you find some terms that you do not understand, make sure you learn what they mean before you meet with the hiring manager. Doing so will enable you to have more productive conversations and will make it easier for you to send the best job applicants for the position.
  • Assess “must-haves” vs. “nice-to-haves”.  While to goal is to find the perfect fit for every job opening, enumerating overly strict requirements will make it more difficult to find the right person. Setting excessively high standards for a position may result in losing a good candidate who may lack one or two specific skills that are not absolutely necessary for the role. Be sure you have a clear and realistic understanding of what qualifications a candidate should have for the job and which skills he or she can learn over time.
  • Set a timeline for the entire hiring process.  Consider each open position as a project that needs to be completed by a certain date. You should also set deadlines for initial feedback from hiring managers up until the point when the company extends an offer to a candidate. This will help keep the hiring process moving at a steady pace and ensure that you don’t miss out on a candidate who is the right fit for a job because he or she has been employed by a company that hires at a faster pace.
  • Set clear standards.  For every position you work to fill within a company, you should compile a checklist of specific qualifications that a candidate must possess, as well as the target date the candidate should be hired.  Review this checklist throughout the entire process to make sure you are on the right track.
  • Check in with the hiring manager.  Check in with the hiring manager after a candidate is hired to find out how he or she is doing. Following up on the new hire helps you create a better partnership with the hiring manager which could result in a more collaborative and successful ongoing partnership.

According to an MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study, the two most significant obstacles to hiring managers are the shortage of candidates and hiring practices that take too long. Hiring managers and recruiters essentially have the same goal of finding a perfect match for a specific job opening.  Therefore, clear and consistent communication is what helps both parties remain fixated on the same objective, while resolving any issues which may arise during the hiring process.


Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200