Improve the recruiter and hiring manager relationship

January 31, 2022 Updated: September 28, 2023 6 min read

In today’s candidate-driven market, finding the right person for the right role is becoming something of an extreme sport. Recruiters and hiring managers are both under a huge amount of pressure—and this can sometimes create conflict during the recruitment process. 

Successful hiring practices need recruiters and hiring managers to work together seamlessly. After all—you’re both trying to achieve the same thing. Of course it’s a priority to find the best candidate for each open role, but it’s also important that the team members in charge of the recruiting process have a good relationship with each other. 

There are plenty of ways to work towards smoothing out any friction points and making sure the recruitment process runs as efficiently as possible—both internally and externally. In this article, we’ll take a look at some common pain points between hiring managers and recruiters—as well as explore ways to develop a stronger relationship between these two key members of the hiring team.  

Responsibilities of a hiring manager

Hiring managers will be the subject matter expert when it comes to knowing exactly what hard and soft skills they’re looking for in a new hire. Their input is required throughout the hiring process and is critical when it comes to aspects like:

  • Providing details of key skills required 
  • Defining the job scope 
  • Approving job descriptions 
  • Screening and shortlisting candidates 
  • Preparing for interviews 
  • Carrying out interviews
  • Attending meetings relating to the recruitment process
  • Promptly responding to requests from the recruiter

Responsibilities of a recruiter

Recruiters have a lot to achieve throughout the entire hiring process for each specific role. Some of the key responsibilities of an in-house recruiter include: 

  • Identifying individual hiring manager needs
  • Crafting inclusive job descriptions
  • Advertising open positions
  • Sourcing candidates and reviewing applications
  • Screening and shortlisting candidates
  • Arranging interviews 
  • Communicating with applicants 
  • Liaising with hiring managers 

All of these tasks will fall under a larger recruiting strategy. Recruiters also need to track metrics and key performance indicators like quality of hire, as well as effectively manage the hiring process for multiple open roles at the same time.      

Common problems between hiring managers and recruiters

In 2021, the Great Resignation dramatically changed the current labor market—and recruiters are still adjusting their processes as a result. The candidate experience is now crucial—and this can be significantly impacted by a poor relationship between hiring managers and recruiters. While you argue about interview processes or candidate requirements, those potential candidates can disappear into the black hole of poor candidate experience. And by the time you finally get back to them? They’ve decided to withdraw their application or accepted an offer from one of your competitors. 

Here are three of the most common areas of friction between recruiters and hiring managers:  

Unclear job requirements from hiring managers

If the hiring manager doesn’t know exactly how to define what they’re looking for, it’s going to be impossible for a recruiter to find the right person for that role. Clear definitions of essential skills, compensation, and the exact scope of the role is critical to keeping the hiring team aligned and working together effectively.  

Misaligned time-to-hire expectations

Hiring managers may be keen to fill an open position as quickly as possible, but may have unrealistic expectations about how long it takes a candidate to move through the recruitment process. The average time to hire is 3-4 weeks—but top talent now expect an offer within days of their first interview. Recruiters have to balance the shorter timescales expected by hiring managers and candidates, with data for industry averages and their own professional experiences.     

Hiring manager doesn’t have time to interview candidates

Hiring managers may push for a quicker time to hire—but they also need to make themselves available throughout the hiring and interview process. Using artificial intelligence (AI) in the talent acquisition process can help minimize the amount of time hiring managers need to set aside while also helping identify the perfect candidate.  

6 ways to improve the relationship between hiring managers and recruiters

As we’ve seen, there are plenty of opportunities for hiring managers and recruiters to clash during the hiring process. But there are also many ways that these parties can cultivate a relationship built on collaboration, trust, and mutual respect. 

Here are six tips to get your team started:

  1. Create a plan

    A good recruiter and hiring manager will designate some time at the start of the hiring process for an intake meeting. They may discuss the requirements for the role, define a timeline, and allocate responsibilities. Clearly setting out who needs to do what at each stage of the process immediately helps to reduce the potential for friction.

  2. Build trust

    Developing a relationship built on trust and mutual understanding is essential. This is a symbiotic relationship—hiring managers and recruiters both need each other equally. They’re working towards a common goal after all. By practicing active listening, communicating consistently, and demonstrating transparency and authenticity in their actions, hiring managers and recruiters can cultivate a partnership built on trust.

  3. Be realistic

    If there’s a disconnect between the skills and qualifications that a hiring manager expects from their ideal candidate and the salary they’re prepared to pay, a recruiter may need to add a dose of realism. Make sure both parties discuss a realistic yet ambitious recruitment strategy from the outset. 

  4. Communication

    One of the key traits of a great recruiter are effective communication skills. They’ll naturally be able to encourage hiring managers to raise any issues throughout the hiring process. The sooner these are identified, the sooner a solution can usually be found. It’s always a good idea to schedule regular check-ins for updates on both sides.    

  5. Teamwork

    Cultivating a strong and effective relationship between hiring managers and recruiters will improve the candidate experience. Both parties need to be prepared to work together collaboratively.

  6.  Educate one another

    The relationship between hiring managers and recruiters at the same company should be based on mutual respect and shared goals. Recruiters may be able to offer best practice tips when it comes to crafting inclusive job descriptions, while a hiring manager will be best suited to drill down on the precise technical skills required for a specific role.

The recruiter-hiring manager relationship doesn’t have to be tense

All relationships take hard work—and the partnership between a recruiter and hiring manager is no exception. Both of these parties have key roles to play when it comes to talent acquisition for your company. Without a strong relationship built on trust, respect, and collaboration, the recruitment process can become very challenging indeed.   

Anyone working within recruitment knows how important the candidate experience is, with 70 percent of companies who work on refining their candidate experience reporting their quality of hire improves as a result. And the relationship between hiring managers and recruiters plays a huge role in influencing how candidates perceive your organization. When every member of the hiring team is in sync and working together, finding the best candidates is easier than ever before.

Ready to improve hiring collaboration?

Give your hiring managers and recruiters the tools they need to work together seamlessly. Schedule a demo to discover how Clovers’ interview intelligence platform can help streamline the hiring process by allowing team members to collaborate on interview feedback. 

Jackie White headshot

Jackie brings over a decade of HR technology experience to Clovers. She’s passionate about helping companies build talented and diverse (dream) teams and delivering an incredible hiring experience to everyone involved.

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