This is a guest post by Nick Livingston, Co-Founder of Honeit.com.
As Recruiters, we get so caught up in our day-to-day workload and focusing on a stellar candidate experience, that we often forget about the hiring manager experience. Ironically though, neglecting the hiring manager experience only adds to our own workloads and worsens the candidate experience.
The hiring manager is the person who knows the open role and team best. They’re the person who candidates really want to meet. Hiring manager collaboration, or lack thereof, with things like job descriptions, sourcing, interviewing, and decision-making, is often the difference between identifying and hiring the right people, versus letting them slip through the cracks, or not finding them at all.
Unfortunately, a manager with an open requisition is also one of the busiest people in the company. Not only do they likely have other employees to manage, but they have their own workload and the company has recognized that they need more help – hence the open position and budget allocation. By the time a position is approved and hits a recruiter’s desk, the hiring manager has likely needed the role filled for weeks, if not months – it’s no surprise there’s urgency to hire someone and the hiring manager has limited resources to help.
Hiring managers need us to help make their lives as easy as possible. When we can achieve that, it’s in everyone’s best interests. The company hires better candidates, faster.
Below are a few ways I’ve seen great recruiters align with hiring managers to raise the talent bar and speed up the interview process. As we know, timing is everything in the talent (acquisition) business.
Making better hires through hiring manager alignment:
- Become an expert: Become knowledgeable of the day-to-day activities and the purpose of the roles, teams and departments that you support.
- Gather context: Speak with at least one other member of the team, ideally an individual contributor in a similar position or one who would work closely with the new hire. What is their perception of what’s critical to the role?
- Dig deep: Conduct in-depth candidate screens (that count), by adding more rigor and scrutiny to your candidate conversations. Include 4-5 interview questions that the hiring manager usually asks. Get these during the kick-off meeting.
- Articulate: Effectively communicate the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate you speak with, tying them back to the critical competencies discussed with the hiring manager.
Making faster hires through hiring manager alignment:
- Minimize surprises: Make sure you get the critical information up front, so there are no unexpected deal-breakers from the candidate down the road related to salary, work authorization, commute, timing, etc.
- Find interviewer alignment: Anyone involved with the interview process needs to have a clear understanding of the role and what the hiring manager is looking for. If there’s a disconnect among the interview panel, building consensus to determine the finalist is nearly impossible.
- Block off interview time: Depending on the urgency of the hire, reserve time on a hiring manager or team member’s calendar in advance for quick scheduling. Candidates can often make time early morning, around lunch and at the end of the day.
- Create fast feedback loops: Ensure open communication and don’t be afraid to ask a hiring manager if what they’re looking for has changed, which happens all the time. This is especially important with junior hiring managers, who may not actually know what they’re looking for in the first place. New positions in the company that are created to fill an organizational gap often involve multiple stakeholders with conflicting perspectives of what skills and competencies are needed. Recruiters can help remind and enforce that cross-functional stakeholders have spoken, and better yet – join those conversations.
- Eliminate repetition: If you haven’t broken down what each interviewer is looking for and the questions they are asking, there is likely a ton of overlap. Candidates will likely get the same high-level questions, which is a waste of time and doesn’t look good from a candidate’s perspective.
- Streamline onsite interviews: A lot of work goes into getting candidates onsite. Ensure the interview team is well prepared and they know the order and location of the interview room. Make sure whoever goes last knows to walk the candidate out, or let you know when they’re finished.
- Address final concerns: By the time you’re ready to make an offer, you should already have a very good idea of the package that an applicant will accept. Back and forth at this stage goes downhill fast. Address legitimate concerns from the candidate in a timely manner, but there shouldn’t be any surprises at this stage about other offers, desired salary, relocation, work authorization, etc.
Above are a few ways to build trust and credibility and to ensure hiring managers will give you a glowing recommendation. Hiring is tough and it’s a competitive people sport. To be successful recruiters, we must take ownership of the variables we can control. By avoiding common missteps, recognizing the complex nature of “human capital”, and leveraging better processes and HR technology, we can ensure a first-class hiring manager experience.
Prior to co-founding Honeit, Nick was the director of global recruiting at TubeMogul. In 26 months, he built and scaled the talent acquisition team through hyper-growth of 60 to 360 employees through IPO ($TUBE), while concurrently attending business school at Haas. Prior to TubeMogul, Nick was the director of strategic staffing at MTV Networks (Viacom) in New York City, overseeing Global Digital Media and Interactive Technology recruitment. He has worked for two HR technology companies (Taleo, NextSource) and began his career as a technology headhunter. Nick received his MBA from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, and a BS degree in Applied Mathematics.