One of the essential parts of a Recruiter’s job is coaching the hiring manager. Every recruiter I’ve ever talked to has a tale of a difficult hiring manager to tell. It is true that certain hiring managers are just impossible to deal with. However, more often than not, the problem is that you and your hiring manager are just not on the same page. As a recruiter, your job is not just placing candidates, but also coach the hiring team on how to recruit.
Be proactive with your intake meeting
Intake meeting is the most important part of your interaction with the hiring manager. The purpose of an intake meeting is to figure out what the hiring manager truly wants! Sometimes, there’s a dissonance between what the hiring manager says and what’s actually in her head. A proactive intake meeting helps you understand what does she truly want.
One sure shot way to understand the hiring manager is to ask pointed questions that force her to think. Often, during the intake meeting, we stop just at experience and keywords. That’s a terrible mistake. As a pro recruiter, you need to probe deeper. You need to ask the hiring manager about responsibilities and her expectations from the candidate. My favorite question to ask the hiring manager is – What do you expect the candidate to achieve in 1 year?
This should be your agenda for an ideal intake meeting:
Ask about the responsibilities and expectations instead of keywords and experience.
Set expectations of the hiring manager on the timeframe and market landscape
Get time commitment from the hiring manager
Get intelligence from the hiring manager on candidate sources
Have a shared framework for understanding the role
To work effectively, it is important to have a common ground of what the role requires. Here’s where the concept of candidate persona comes in really handy. Candidate persona is a shared document that portrays your idea candidate.
Creating a candidate persona is a practice borrowed from marketing teams. Marketing teams create a document called Buyer persona. Buyer persona acts like a north star for all its marketing tactics and strategies. Similarly, candidate persona can help you determine three primary things.
Messaging for the pitch
Layout the interview process
Most clients you work with might have an established hiring process. If they don’t decide on a recruiting process with your hiring manager. Once you’ve frozen your recruiting process, send a summary of what you’ve decided to the hiring manager. Be absolutely clear what is the purpose of each interview.
If there are any rookie interviewers on the interview panel, coach them on interviewing techniques. Maybe offer up a few sample questions and how they should note down the interview feedback.
A recruiting process is fraught with pitfalls of biases and bad judgments. It becomes imperative for recruiters to push back against bad judgment. Quite often, interviewers and hiring managers reject the candidate with reasons like “He/she just didn’t feel right” or some variation of it. We have an inherent bias towards liking people who are like us. If you don’t check this bias proactively, it will result in a homogenous team. To promote diversity, make sure you push back on such reasons of disqualifying a candidate.
Don’t be waiting for the unicorns
Hiring managers get into recruiting process with high expectations and they should. However, very quickly, either of these two things will happen.
You find a great candidate quickly but the hiring manager wants to “explore more”. Hiring manager thinks that the elusive unicorn truly exists and wants one!
Recruiting team gets into candidate comparison mode. Instead of measuring the candidate’s fit for the role, the team starts comparing candidates.
As a recruiter, you need to help your team steer away from both of these situations. You need to coach your hiring manager about the purpose of recruiting, having setup a particular kind of interview process. Use your past experience and anecdotes to help your team. Help them understand that both of these situations lead to very sub-optimal decisions.
Get a commitment from Hiring Manager on their time allocation
As a recruiter, you pride yourself on your ability to engage and close passive candidates. You go to great lengths engaging them and getting them to agree to a call. You submit the candidate to the hiring manager only to find that the hiring manager isn’t responding. You’ve now got a queue of great candidates lined up but you just can’t get the time from the hiring manager to process them through the interview process.
This happens to the best of the recruiters. That’s why it is essential to have your hiring manager commit hours every week to the recruiting process. You also need your hiring manager to commit on feedback turn around time. It’s not enough that the hiring manager gives you feedback at the end of the week. Your communication with the hiring manager needs to be always open.
Make them part of the decisions as you recalibrate your strategy
Sourcing is an iterative process. You start with a few assumptions, test them out and see how is it working. Often times, we have to recalibrate our strategy and change course. A lot of recruiters don’t take this back to the hiring manager. I believe this is a huge mistake. Recruiters are afraid that this might put them in a bad light or the hiring manager might lose confidence in them. Most often, that’s not the case. The problem sometimes is that despite everything, you just aren’t in sync with the hiring manager regarding what the exact needs are.
You need to go back to your hiring manager and recalibrate your assumptions and come out with a better strategy.
Next role you recruit, take these steps to deliver a world-class experience not just to the candidate but also to the hiring manager.