Talent Acquisition

Recruiters: How to Love Hiring Managers Who You Hate

In recruiting, the two most important factors are quality and speed. Hiring managers often get in their own way, by slowing the recruiting process down and not hiring the best candidate available.

Because of this they are restraining success and growth of the business they work for and last but not least annoy recruiters every single day.

A few months ago I visited iRecruit. iRecruit is an awesome annual HR event in Amsterdam, completely focused on recruiting, organized by the same people who organize HR Tech Europe. At the first day of the event I attended the keynote presentation (“Try Harder is Not a Strategy”) by John Vlastelica.

Hiring managers suck:

Not only was I impressed by the capability of John to wake up a big room full of sleepy conference delegates, I was even more impressed by what he was actually saying. I am not going to repeat everything he said, but want to focus on one of the topics he spoke about and a frustration I hear recruiters complain about every day: Hiring managers who do not do what they should be doing such as giving recruiters the feedback they need to go forward, leveraging their networks, communicating properly with candidates who have been carefully approached by the recruiter etc. etc.

How to create the perfect hiring manager:

Inspired by and according to John, here’s what you should do to help hiring managers help you:

  1. Frame – The first problem is that many hiring managers don’t like recruiters and because of that are not very motivated to help them. Recruiters often speak a language that is not theirs and because of that there is a lot of misunderstanding. If you frame what you do by understanding the pain of hiring managers, they will understand that by helping you, they are helping themselves. Hiring managers do not care at all or very much about compliance, cost, source of hire or emotions, they care about getting great talent fast: Quality and speed. Frame accordingly and hiring managers will finally start doing what you have always asked them to do.
  2. Train – If hiring managers are motivated to do what you want them to do, it doesn’t mean they will automatically be good at it. Once people are motivated, they will be willing to learn. So start teaching them! Teach hiring managers how to leverage their networks, how to source, how to interview, how to sell etc.
  3. Engage – Get hiring managers involved in sourcing strategy, interviewing leadership and closing tough candidates. This is a much more successful strategy than being two parties who just throw things at each other.
  4. Reward – Once you have motivated, trained and involved hiring managers, the trick of course is to keep them that way. The best way to do this is by rewarding them. Here are a few ideas:
  • Include metrics in performance reviews that have do with recruiting participation and recruiting results.
  • Give public acknowledgment to outstanding recruiting achievements.
  • Create great hiring stories of hiring manager success and share them.
  • When you make new employee announcements, be sure to mention the source of hire if it is from a referral.
  • When you make promotion announcements, include the recruiting track record and capabilities when describing why that person was promoted.
  • Gather data per hiring team and per hiring manager and publish it internally.
  • Give engaged hiring managers priority.
  • Write LinkedIn recommendations for great hiring managers.

Focus on delivering quality fast:

‘If you deliver quality fast, you are golden. Anything you are trying to say or do that is not connected to quality and speed will be seen as a waste of time by your hiring managers.’

– John

Make sure your hiring managers see that what you are doing is connected to quality and speed (FRAME), that you enable them to help you (TRAIN), get them involved (ENGAGE) and don’t forget to pay them back when they help you to show them your love and keep them motivated (REWARD).

Do you love or hate your hiring managers?

What is your biggest frustration when dealing with hiring managers? What do you currently do to train, engage and reward them? And what are you going to change about that today?

Author: René Bolier is Partner, Marketing & Sales Director at

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