Chris Russell

2 min read

Human Resources

How to Deal with a Difficult Hiring Manager

Hiring managers can sometimes try a corporate recruiter’s patience. One of the most common complaints I hear is they don’t provide timely feedback of a candidate they just interviewed. So what can you do to prevent such behavior?

I’ll get to those answers shortly but consider this scenario which I just read about on social media. A recruiter stated she recently started with a new employer and is the sole recruiter for the company. She currently has 51 requisitions (a huge burden if you ask me) that she’s trying to fill on her own and is not getting anywhere with a few members of upper management. She’s extremely frustrated of course. She goes on to say that her passion for recruiting runs deep and all she wants is to provide a great candidate experience but having to relying on others for that success is getting to her.

I feel for this recruiter. It sounds like that company doesn’t have the greatest leadership or cares about her success. If you are an internal recruiter, your number one goal is to develop relationships with your hiring managers. Take them to lunch. Schedule monthly calls with them.

Do any and everything in your power to know how their internal teams operate and what your leaders need to be successful. Give yourself time to connect with each one of your internal leaders for no more than 10-15 mins and it will help build a solid foundation moving forward.

Hiring Manager Tactics

Here are some other tactics to help bridge the divide between you and the hiring manager. Keep in mind you may be walking into a situation where the previous recruiter provided less than ideal candidates, or that let them not respond and did everything electronically, deferring to the managers timetable.

  • Prioritize those that do respond in timely manner. Hopefully word spreads that those that do get better treatment from you.
  • Educate hiring managers that the hiring market is very tough right now, there are (many) more jobs than candidates and therefore you need to make a difference in your overall candidate experience to attract the best talent.
  • Sit them down, try to understand their previous experience and expectations, and begin to teach them the real value of a great Recruiter!
  • Set up a weekly call…don’t give them a choice. If they don’t join, loop in their superior.
  • Hold “kick-off” calls with hiring managers. Review the process, address any scheduling conflicts, set SLAs for submitting and follow up.
  • Have a steady rotation of reaching out Call/Text/Email…perhaps sprinkled with a friendly appearance into their office.
  • Tell them if you do not get feedback on rejects , I can’t work on better quality profiles going further.
  • Template communications for non-responsive HMs Talk to managerBe ready to define/defend how it’s impacted hiring or brand or candidate experience.
  • Created a prioritization matrix – if your role is a top priority / critical position, that comes with certain expectations – such as mandatory weekly touch point with recruiting, 24-48 hour SLA on submittals, etc.

Remember that hiring managers are also busy, often drowning in work and just need a steady, friendly nudge every now and then. If the problem runs deeper you may want to talk to your manager to see how they can help.

A good rule of thumb is to cover the expectation for feedback in the intake, again when they move to interview and set up debrief calls after the last interview. Then email to request the feedback in writing if that gets you nowhere.

Put your foot down and tell them that an offer can’t be made until ALL candidate feedback has been received It’s important to remain compliant with OFCCP standards and to ensure candidates can be declined with the best experience possible. Bad candidate experience impacts the future pipeline when word gets out. Hammer that message into your hiring manager’s brains whenever possible.

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