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A Recruiter's Guide to Connecting with Hiring Managers

By
July 19, 2017
Tech Recruiters,

We know that your job is tough and that your success metrics can be hard to attain. You’re expected to find great talent, quickly identify strengths, and recommend the most promising candidates for interviews with your tech team. If everything in the process is working, you and your recruiting team are doing the heavy lifting. You’re screening resumes, advancing talented candidates, and providing reports to highlight the strengths and growth areas of applicants. Ideally, you are making the other stakeholders in the process successful. Why not automate some of these activities and improve your connection with tech hiring managers?

Codility helps you build better connections with hiring managers.  

On a departmental level, promoting synergy can help create and maintain alignment between technical and talent acquisition teams. But what can you, individually, do to strengthen the relationship with the hiring managers you’re collaborating with? How can you impress them to get more buy-in?

Certainly, a strong partnership between People Ops and Development is the best way to build great technical teams.

Let’s break it down into three easy steps:

Build relationships with hiring managers

Recruiting is often not a hiring manager’s top priority. Yes, they need more developers, but they are focused on things outside of hiring. A tech manager is worried about product development, architecting technical frameworks, and managing their current team. They’re preoccupied overseeing multiple projects, so when they are able to devote time to collaborating on the recruiting piece, be prepared to capitalize on the time they’re giving you.

When kicking off a new role/search, start at the source - with the hiring manager. After he or she lets you know they’re hiring, there’s an opportunity to do some research and prep work to prepare yourself. Here are some sample questions to help educate yourself on the new open req you’ll be working on:

  • What will the person do in their job? What does their day-to-day look like?
  • What is the competitive rate for this role?
  • What’s the best source of relevant talent?
  • How will they collaborate with the current team?
  • What are typical challenges in hiring for this role?
  • What skills does a great candidate have?
  • What are the deal breakers?

You won’t be able to find out everything on your own, so prepare questions to ask the hiring manager too. Before the meeting is over, make sure you’ve defined the job, not the person for the job.

Preparedness is also valuable after the role is already open and candidates are actively interviewing with you. Whether you meet with each hiring manager daily or weekly, inform yourself about the health of the pipelines for their roles. Come to those meetings with high-level information on candidate flow. The hiring manager may only want an answer to one question: Are we close to finding someone? However, providing them with other insights will reinforce how on top of things you are and possibly educate them on other aspects of their open req they didn’t know they wanted to know. Highlight a few top candidates and where they are in the process and go over any bottlenecks you want mitigated.

The takeaway here is that collaboration is crucial for getting the results you want, and people are more inclined to want to work with you if you have your stuff together. If you pay it forward by doing your homework and operating with proactive integrity, hiring managers will become more engaged in the recruiting process, making your job that much easier.

Make yourself the expert

You and your hiring managers bring different, but equally invaluable, skill sets into the fold when looking to make a great hire. Hiring managers have the domain expertise and can carefully examine the qualifications and personality fits of candidates looking to join their team. You contribute knowledge of talent acquisition logistics and tools and are adept at managing all the moving parts involved in the hiring process. By demonstrating mastery of all things recruiting, you will bolster the confidence hiring managers have in their working relationship with you.

Of course, everyone has to start somewhere. You don’t enter the workforce a recruiting guru, but here’s a list of tools and skills you can hone in on to make a significant impact on the growth of your company:

  • HR Tech Suite - Some examples are sourcing, applicant tracking, HRIS, benefits, talent management, social media, and programming assessment platforms. As a recruiter, you will live and breath the platforms you work out of. And while hiring managers sometimes work out of these tools too, they may rely on you to guide their usage. Know your tech stack and own your recruiting workflows and processes.
  • Relationship Building - The best recruiters are people-people who can build a connection from scratch with just about anyone. Hiring managers like to see recruiters form positive relationships with their candidates and even keep passive candidates engaged. A huge factor in a candidate’s decision to continue interviewing and accept a potential offer is whether they had a good experience during their interviews and whether they liked the people they met. As the shepherd of the entire process, you are the go-to contact for candidates so you must be empathetic, professional, and all-around candidate-focused.
  • Situational Knowledge - Many different kinds of situations can come up in recruiting, and you should have the know-how to tackle them in stride. An interviewer isn’t submitting their feedback after interviews? A candidate keeps rescheduling their onsite? Decision-makers are too picky? If you can handle situations like these, you will be one step closer to earning respect and trust from the hiring managers you team up with.

There’s value in educating yourself around your open roles, but sometimes the prep work and self-education mentioned above isn’t worth the investment, particularly for technical positions. For instance, it would be excessive if you spent 10 hours a week trying to learn various coding languages to be able to talk on that level with candidates. You’re better off prioritizing other things and should instead look into tools that can help augment the skills you already possess. That’s where coding tests can have a significant impact; recruiters don’t need to be technically gifted to assess candidates’ programming skills. Using tools like Codility, they can send coding tests that are graded automatically and then move the top scorers forward.

That way, hiring managers can invest their time later in the process with the best candidates instead of on sourcing, and recruiters can ensure the candidates they advance are technically qualified.

Approach this (and any) project as a partner

An ideal relationship between you and your hiring managers is a partnership. You can combine your separate wisdoms and experiences and operate with trust and mutual respect. A key element of creating this great working relationship is communication. Recruiters should make an effort to keep everyone on the same page and be transparent about the recruiting process. This might boil down to having effective candidate management or project management tools in place, but generally just try and be a reliable, accessible source of information and guidance for your hiring managers.

There will be imperfections and bumps in the road, but remain open to feedback from the people you work with. You’re not going to get the recruiter:hiring manager relationship perfect the first time. But when working with people, a little open communication and patience go a long way. If you prioritize cooperation early on, you’ll be able to improve your relationships with the hiring managers you’re partnering with.  

When you do proactive research, take advantage of your expertise, and operate with integrity and openness, hiring managers will jump on the opportunity to work with you. Sometimes it can be a drawn-out, grueling effort to find and hire that next all star. But after forging true partnerships with your hiring managers, you’ll start building momentum and confidence in your process and your hiring team. The end result: hiring the right person for the right job.

Happy Hiring!
The Codility Team

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