Service Level Agreements to Implement with Hiring Managers

Top-tier talent is in high demand, and rarely on the market for very long. If you move too slowly, your top candidates may be scooped up by the competition and you’ll have to start from square one. So what are ways to ensure you nurture the very best candidates and don’t lose anytime during the process? Service level agreements amongst teams can help.

What is a Service Level Agreement?

Service-level agreements (SLAs for short) in recruitment can be a powerful tool for hiring teams seeking to move their hiring process forward. SLAs can help you solicit more feedback on candidates faster, keep your talent pipeline full, and increase candidate close rates.

Service Level Agreement (SLA) Definition: The formal definition of Service-level agreements (SLAs) are mutually agreed upon, written standards that the recruiting function and hiring managers create in order to spell out the expectations and responsibilities of each party.

In the recruiting space, few standards exist for common practices like managing employee referrals, offer timing, or turnaround time for candidate feedback. This can be an advantage for you – simply having internal SLAs can ensure you move faster than the competition!

#1 – Interview Feedback SLA

A great place to apply SLA is when soliciting interview feedback. If interviewers wait too long to return feedback, the interview process is slowed down and interviewers forget crucial details of their conversation with candidates. Looking at a small sample of successful Lever customers, we saw that the benchmark should be no more than 48 hours or less.

We know what you’re thinking — two days seems unreasonable. How will hiring managers keep accountable to do that?

Glad you asked! Lever’s interview feedback reminders help nudge your team to meet internal SLAs: 

Lever Interview Feedback Reminder

#2 – Scheduling Interviews SLA

Hitting internal SLAs begins at the moment you schedule an interview. Amanda Bell, Director of Recruiting at Lever shares a great tactic to ensure interviewers are set up for success to deliver feedback in a timely fashion:

“If you’re struggling with hiring managers engagement, schedule their interviews for 45 min, leaving 15 min right after the interview to submit their unbiased fresh thoughts. Build awareness that this is their time to jot their thoughts down. In Lever, you don’t have to finish or submit your feedback to make it available to the hiring team”.

Additionally, we recommend enabling Lever <> Slack integration which will send automated reminders after the completed interview (also known as quick feedback surveys). Our Slack integration encourages hiring managers to give their quick assessments, even if they don’t have time to complete the entire feedback form, so recruiters can act quickly.

Lever - Slack integration

#3 – Interview Calibration SLA

Another tactic Amanda recommends is to calibrate managers frequently and especially the newly appointed managers:

New hiring managers tend to think they need to write a lot in the feedback. But to enable the next step in the process the hiring team may need justification only, not essays”.

To monitor whether your team is hitting your SLAs, use Lever’s Interview Calibration report. 


One of Lever’s customers, Frank Hattula, Director of Human Resources at Jet Support Services Inc. set up their whole recruitment process with SLAs. This is a great signal to all stakeholders involved in hiring that time matters and setting expectations with hiring managers, recruiting coordinators, onboarding specialists improved their hiring when switching their ATS to Lever.

“Recruitment is a critical partnership between the hiring managers and the recruiting team. It lets everyone know that we make recruitment a high priority. The faster we can engage, interview and select the best-qualified candidates, the faster we can drive a high-performing workforce and a positive impact on our bottom line.”

Final Thoughts: Internal recruitment SLAs can help you achieve your goals

Setting up collaboration guardrails and internal SLA expectations will make for a well-oiled talent acquisition machine. Clear SLAs will be a signal from talent leaders to the rest of the company that hiring top talent is a clear company priority. As Lever’s CEO, Sarah Nahm says, “Sourcing, nurturing and hiring talent remains the top business imperative for companies of all sizes, irrespective of industry or geographic location.”

To learn more about how to better collaborate with hiring managers, join our next monthly demo.