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Here’s How to Incentivize Hiring Managers to Prioritize Talent

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Today in our blog series, How To Make Recruiting Your Company’s Top Strategic Priority in 2016, we’re tackling how to engage one of the most, if not the most, important stakeholders in the recruitment process: the hiring manager.

A hiring manager’s engagement, or lack thereof, has a massive impact on things like pipeline quality, pipeline speed, and overall candidate experience. They can truly make or break the recruitment process.

But, as Honeit.com CEO Nick Livingston noted in a recent guest post, a hiring manager with an open role is often one of the busiest people in a company. After all, there’s a role to fill precisely because the company has recognized the hiring manager needs more resources.

So how do you incentivize hiring managers to treat recruiting as a top priority, on top of everything else they have going on? Keep reading for inspiration

1. Tie recruiting goals to performance

It’s common for hiring managers to think recruiting is just the recruiter’s job. One of the most efficient, clear ways to dispel that way of thinking is when it comes from the top down, and management ties recruiting goals to a hiring manager’s formal review process. Even when hiring managers are enthusiastic about helping out, they’re much more likely to make meaningful contributions and carve out time dedicated to hiring when their efforts impact how they’re formally evaluated.

2. Make hiring managers accountable

Hiring is a team-wide decision that should take the opinion of many stakeholders into account, but when every voice carries equal weight, it diffuses responsibility and increases the chances of making a poor hiring decision. When an individual hiring manager has the final say, on the other hand, they’ll be much more likely to invest in finding the right hire in the first place. By no means should companies blame poor hiring decisions on a hiring manager’s honest efforts to hire a great employee, but when a hiring manager knows they’ll be held accountable for a decision, it increases the likelihood they’ll put great care and consideration into the process.

3. Minimize their workload

Hiring managers, at least the great majority of them, want to help, but when filling a requisition is a fragmented, unorganized, and time-consuming experience, they’ll shy away from getting too involved. Recruiting won’t ever be easy, but there’s a lot recruiters can do to make sure the process runs as smoothly as possible. Reserving ~15 to 30 minutes to source candidates and review resumes together, for example, saves time and eliminates any miscommunication about what a good candidate looks like down the line.

It also can also help to have a tool that empowers hiring managers to collaborate without interrupting their workflows. In Lever, for example, hiring managers can quickly review resumes, respond to a recruiter’s notes and questions, and leave interview feedback right from within their email. The easier it is for hiring managers to help recruit the right people to their team, the more inclined they’ll be to consistently do so.

4. Get them excited to market the role

One way to get hiring managers excited about marketing a role is to show them how their efforts actually pay off. You can, for example, provide data on how well referral hires have performed at the company to encourage hiring managers to get active in posting the job to relevant social channels, bring it up in team meetings, and so on. This could be particularly effective for hiring managers whose team is below average in percentage of referrals compared to the rest of the company. That comparative data can be a powerful motivator that gets them more invested in helping you source via their extended networks. Maybe you could even start a departmental leader board for referrals!


If you’re a recruiter reading this, you might be wondering how to actually make points one and two a reality. As great as they sound, you probably don’t have much control over performance reviews and accountability. That’s where the C-suite comes in. Their support will be critical in turning your recruitment into a strategic machine. Stay tuned next week, for tips on getting buy-in from the folks up top.

Post one: How To Make Recruiting Your Company’s Top Strategic Priority in 2016 [With QUIZ]