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A Recruiter’s Perspective: Recruiter and Hiring Manager Partnerships 101

October 03, 2017

Last month, I had the pleasure of representing Greenhouse in a webinar focused on recruiter and hiring manager partnerships. I partnered with Pawel Rzymkiewicz, Head of Engineering at Codility, to discuss how to best create recruiter and hiring manager alignment.

As a recruiter, I strive to be a strategic partner to my hiring manager. But what does that entail? At Greenhouse, being a strategic partner, means managing the effectiveness of our recruiting process and upholding the quality of hire by providing an informed framework for my hiring manager’s decision-making process.

Here are three themes you can use to be a strategic partner to your hiring manager:

  • Communicate: Proactively provide information
  • Participate: Be an involved partner
  • Be transparent: Share expectations and hold each other accountable

Let’s talk about how you can take each of these themes and apply them during the kick-off meeting and the overall recruiting process.  

Part I: The Kick-Off Meeting

The definition of the kick-off meeting can vary from company to company. At Greenhouse, the kick-off meeting is the first step to creating a structured hiring process. During the kick-off meeting, you meet with your hiring manager to discuss the scope of the open role.

  • Communicate

During the kick-off meeting, I focus on clarifying the business need for the role and what the ideal hire looks like. I do this by asking questions like: What do we want this person to accomplish in the short-term? Long-term? What traits must a candidate possess in order to accomplish these goals? By asking these key questions, I ensure the hiring manager and I are both on the same pagea requirement of any strategic partnership.

  • Participate

If you’ve been in recruiting for awhile, there’s a good chance you know the talent market better than your hiring manager. Have you recruited for a similar role? If so, what are the learnings, challenges, and advantagescan you share? Participate by offering your ideas on how to best expose, describe, and sell the job to candidates.

Also, ask questions! When I first started recruiting for the Marketing Team at Greenhouse, I was met with a lot of new marketing-specific terminology, including basic concepts like “SEO” and “nurture tracks.” The key to success here was not only doing my own research on what these terms meant, but also asking my teams about their own definitions. Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something! Getting clarity on something you aren’t sure about is an important part of participation, too.

  • Be Transparent

During the kick-off meeting, set the stage for you and the hiring manager to communicate honestly moving forward. Talk about what sort of visibility your hiring manager will have into the work you’ll be doing. When can they expect to start meeting candidates? How often will they get a progress report?

Using data is critical to how recruiters work with hiring managers at Greenhouse. As soon as a role goes live, we provide hiring managers with an estimated timeline of how long we expect it will take to close. This includes the expected number of resumes, initial phone screens, referrals, and unique sourcing emails required (see image below). If you don’t use Greenhouse, make sure your ATS makes it easy for you to report on historic pipelines so you can use this data to provide educated estimations.

pipeline metrics.png

Part II: The Overall Recruiting Process

By “overall recruiting process,” I mean everything that happens once a role goes live. All the fun stuff!

  • Communicate

Every recruiter works differently, but I like to provide weekly updates. Each week, I provide my hiring manager with a list of the candidates in our process, including their name, current title, and any relevant thoughts I have on their candidacy. To generate this list, I use Greenhouse’s Email Recruiting Updates feature, which allows me to choose the stages in my interview process that I want reported to my hiring manager. (I typically don’t share a list of all candidates in the Initial Screen stage, given that I want to only share the candidates who’ve passed my review as a recruiter.) I also share my assessment of the health of our recruiting pipeline, based on similar pipelines I’ve run in the past using Greenhouse’s Pipeline Report (see below). This report answers questions like: How many candidates do we have in each stage? What percentage of candidates are passing in each stage? Given historic pass through rates, how many onsites can we expect to have?

Greenhouse Pipeline Report Sample:

pipeline conversion rates.pngI also my best to hold my hiring managers accountable, too. Whether it’s being involved with resume reviews, leveraging their own network to help source, or interviewing candidates, the more they participate in the recruiting process, the more they help themselves find someone great for their team. If you’re having trouble with incentivising their involvement , it’s important to really explain to your hiring manager why everybody wins if they’re involved. Tell them that you can’t do your job without their input. Recruiting is a reciprocal process.

  • Participate

To me, a big part of participating is getting to know the hiring team. Back in 2016, I was running a search for a Senior Site Reliability Engineer and at the start of the search, I had little clue what this role entailed. In addition to picking my hiring manager’s brain, I interviewed everyone on Greenhouse’s Infrastructure Engineering team, which provided a perspective that was different from my hiring manager’s but equally helpful. Talking to our current SREs allowed me to learn about their team dynamic and what matters to them, which helped me get a better sense of the kind of person who’d work best with them.

  • Be Transparent

What’s working well? What can be better? Again, Greenhouse’s Pipeline Report comes in handy here. If you’re seeing low conversions within the stages of your recruiting funnel, perhaps there’s an opportunity to reassess how you’re screening out talent. Be honest about this with your hiring manager, so you can address and fix the problem as quickly as possible.

Also, it’s critical to build trust by always being prepared to answer your hiring manager’s questions in helpful, transparent ways. Really know the candidates in your pipeline. Be prepared to answer questions about their compensation, timeline, and status whenever your hiring manager swings by your desk. That way, your hiring manager will come to know you as someone who’s quick provide informative answers. Another way to build trust is by consistently updating the interviewing team on the decision you make on candidates who have come onsite to meet them. That way, regardless of whether the interviewers liked the candidate, they know the end result of the time they’ve invested in interviewing, and they’re able to escalate any outstanding questions they might have.

As a recruiter, my end goal is to be a strategic partner to my hiring manager. This requires communication, participation, and transparency every step of the way, from the kick-off meeting to making an offer. I’d love to knowwhat strategies do you rely on, as a recruiter, to effectively partner with your hiring managers? If you’re a hiring manager, what do the recruiters you partner with do well?


If you weren’t able to attend the Recruiting and Hiring Manager Partnerships 101 webinar, check out the recorded version here. Additionally, I encourage you to read Pawel’s article on the Greenhouse blog, to get his perspective as a hiring manager.