By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

The relationship between recruiters and hiring managers is one that should be sacred, but tends to be less than fulfilling the majority of the time. Both parties not only rely on each other heavily to get a job done but also must see eye to eye and have a thorough understanding of the role each person plays. But while that may be how it should work in a perfect world, the reality is that recruiters and hiring managers often times lament about what they wish the other would do that they aren’t and have a laundry list of things they would do differently if they could.
Speaking from the recruiter’s side of the situation, it can be hard to get what you need from your hiring managers, much less develop a relationship. But as the recruiter, you are the project leader and must push past busy schedules, misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations – on both sides – and get the job done. Another important aspect of acting as the project leader is actually managing the hiring manager. You’ll guide them to provide you with what you need and want to do the best job you can and find the best candidates for the position.
So what is it that you need from them in order to do this? Here are the top five things I’d want from my hiring manager:
Communication
It seems basic, but most recruiters have seen firsthand how difficult it can be to maintain consistent communication throughout the recruiting and hiring process. Hiring managers also have full-time jobs that typically have nothing to do with hiring a new employee, so it’s understandable that this is one area where things could slip through the cracks. One of my favorite ways to combat this is to establish checkpoints and schedule debriefings ahead of time.
Accurate job qualifications, information and responsibility description
When it comes to providing accurate job qualifications, information and responsibilities, hiring managers may not have a full grasp on what they need or want, which makes it difficult for you to hire the right candidate for the job. Inaccurate info can lead to wasted time, future job acceptance regret and frustration from all parties. Help your hiring manager think through all aspects of the job and ask them to solicit input from employees in roles similar to the one you’re hiring for if necessary.
Honesty and transparency
These qualities aren’t just nice to have; they’re actually vital to meeting the hiring manager’s needs. In a perfect world, every hiring manager would be open and honest about everything from what they think you’re missing to what they’re really looking for to why they’re having trouble getting back to you to answer your questions. In the real world, we know that they may not always know what’s missing but just that something is, they may want to avoid confrontation and they may be afraid to admit that they’ve dropped the ball. Hiring managers are only human. Help them out by doing some investigative work and asking them questions that will help them provide honest, transparent responses.
An accurate timeline to fill the position
“ASAP” is not a timeline, but that doesn’t stop hiring managers from using it as an answer to the timeline question. If hiring managers would consider when they’d like to have the position filled and when they can realistically devote time to the process, recruiters would be able to schedule deadlines accordingly, not leave candidates hanging for long periods of time and help manage expectations on both sides.
Time commitment
I’ve touched on this under other items on this wish list, but it deserves its own place because getting hiring managers to commit their time to interview and follow through is one of the biggest challenges in the process. Time is the most precious thing any of us have to give during a workday, and if the hiring manager you’re working with doesn’t have the time to devote to the process, it’s better to hold off until they can. If they’ve already committed and are having trouble following through, step into the project manager role and work with them to find time if possible.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She’s the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

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