7 Conversations You Should Initiate with Every Hiring Manager

hiring manager conversations

If you’re a recruiter, chances are you’ve brought your hiring managers some pretty terrible candidate fits at one point or another. Knowing how deeply they care about building the right team, your ultimate goal is to help them find the best people. Needless to say, it’s beyond devastating when the two of you don’t see eye to eye.

So how do you develop and nurture a partnership with your hiring manager- a relationship in which you’re always on the same page? Constant communication. It sounds simple, but there are a few discussions we think you absolutely must have in order to be a successful, sychronized hiring duo. Below, we listed 7 essential conversations you can initiate today. 

1. Walk your hiring manager through your typical recruitment process

Before you and your hiring manager begin to co-manage a new process, schedule a kick-off meeting. You’ll cover a myriad of topics in this first check-in, but here’s an essential one to discuss: how you recruit. Whether your hiring manager is new to hiring in general or new to hiring with you, they’ll seek a clear understanding of how you structure your recruitment process. Do you typically conduct the phone interview or does the hiring manager? How do you define a skills fit – do you think of it as a way to gauge candidate motivations, or their communication skills? This kind of insight is gold for your hiring manager.

2. Gauge their ability to devote serious time to hiring

Once you give your hiring manager a clear lens into your recruiting tactics, get an idea of what their schedule will look like in the coming months. Some managers will have more time to devote to hiring than others; does yours have a huge product to launch or a project to finish before a looming deadline?

Ideally, your hiring manager plans to devote a substantial amount of time and energy to finding the right candidate. If you ask Lyft’s VP of People Ron Storn, one key to scaling quickly is encouraging executives to spend a high percentage of their time on hiring. 

3. Learn about your hiring manager’s expectations for candidates

To do your job as well as possible, you need a full picture of your candidate’s day-to-day responsibilities, and no one is going to know them better than their future manager. Qualifications like “proficiency in Adobe photoshop” and “5 years of management experience” may be important to know about, but it’s more essential to learn what candidates will need to perform in their role. In order to write your impact descriptions and help your candidates visualize their future day-to-day, you need to know what goals they should be ready to hit when they’re three months, six months, and one year into their role.

A foolproof way to learn what expectations your hiring manager has for candidates? Walk through several resumes with them in person. Sit down with them and dig into what they do and don’t like about each resume. Do they wish Candidate A had more project management experience? Do they like that Candidate B was juggling several priorities in one role?

4. Figure out what makes top performers in your organization successful 

Another way to effectively grasp your hiring manager’s ideal candidate is to ask for a list of the top performers on their team. Again, it’s key to dig into why they value these employees’ contributions. Once you figure out which strategies, attitude, and processes make those team members successful, you can look for those same qualities in your candidates.

Take copious notes on the employees your hiring manager describes, then set up 1:1s with those very employees. Inevitably, they will view their own working style and corresponding success slightly differently from your hiring manager. That added perspective will equip you even further as you continue your search for the right candidate.

5. Check in regularly to see how their hiring needs are evolving

As you continue recruiting for your hiring manager’s team, their goals will likely shift. To make sure you stay on the same page, schedule bi-weekly check-ins. During these meetings, you’ll want to discuss the state of their current team. Ask questions like: What are your biggest pain points right now? Are you accomplishing the goals you want with the team you have? How do you think your needs will change in the next couple months? 

6. Encourage your hiring manager to attend recruiting events with you 

Opportunities to meet candidates aren’t limited to just recruiters. Encourage your hiring manager to join you at various meetups, conferences, and other networking events. As Dave Arthurs, VP of Engineering of CoverHound shared in our recent post on engineering hiring managers, “Engineering leadership should be engaged in developing product, yes, but they should also make connections with engineers in the outside world.”

As you partner with your hiring manager, remind them that candidates want to hear their perspective just as much as they want to hear yours (if not more). And they’d love to hear it in person. Candidates are constantly bombarded by new job opportunities online; an in-person interaction is much more meaningful than the most personalized LinkedIn inmail. Next step once you’ve brought your hiring manager to a few meetups? Work with them to plan a recruiting event  yourself.

7. Set aside time for two-way feedback

In the end, a great way to maintain a successful partnership with your hiring manager is to establish a pattern of two-way feedback. After each interview process you manage together, reflect upon what went well with your last candidate, and what didn’t. If you wish their team had submitted feedback more quickly so you could have updated the candidate sooner, don’t be afraid to admit it. If you both didn’t realize the candidate wasn’t a fit until the end of the process, ask yourselves what you could have done differently to realize that sooner.

When you build partnerships with your hiring managers, you automatically create better experiences for every candidate. Through constant, open communication, you’ll get the information you need to both find the right candidates and win those candidates over.

When Netflix’s VP of Talent Acquisition, Nellie Peshkov, joined us at our Talent Innovation Summit, she shared how encouraging partnerships between recruiters and hiring managers has enabled her team to build an exceptional culture.