Dear Hiring Manager – 5 tips to Engage your Recruiters and get the Best Results

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I’ve been working with a number of recruitment teams lately around their recruitment strategy for 2014 and the more I work to sharpen the tip of the strategy the more I realise that the commercial conversations don’t happen as often as I think they should.

I remember sitting around a table many years ago with a leadership team for the business group I was the lead recruiter for and they shared with me the dollar figures of what it cost not to have a specific head sitting in the business.  So it went something like – “So Suzanne we need this person to start on the 4th March, which is 5 weeks away.  For every day that we don’t have that person sitting in the business and becoming a productive head it costs us $2,000 in revenue.”  I’m making that figure up, but they knew exactly how much it was costing them to have that seat vacant.   Therefore as the lead recruiter I was now responsible and very much entwined with the commercial success of the business, because if I couldn’t successfully find that person then the business would suffer, and they could put a figure on how much.

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image source – http://bit.ly/1lSi0K9

That’s pretty powerful stuff if you ask me.  Having these conversation can empower your recruiter to be a business partner and not having these conversations can potentially disengaging them because they are being treated as recruitment administrators.

1) Bring your recruiter into the conversation

By bringing your recruiter into the conversation regarding what your sales targets are for the year, how many heads you will need to successfully hire to meet those target and what you’re going to do as  team, will change the dynamic of the relationship in a positive way.  When you make someone part of the discussion and the solution you ensure that they become accountable along with the rest of the leadership team to deliver what your business area has committed to.  I always find it interesting when I think about the fact that your business’ success is determined by the people who are hired, yet when a role becomes vacant, many times the hiring manager will just send the job description to the recruiter with little time for a proper job briefing, any conversation about the commercial aspects or impacts that not filling the role will have on the business or what they expect from the recruiter, and I don’t just mean – fill the role.

2) Support their sourcing strategy

I’ve personally found that the more engaged the hiring manager is in supporting the recruiter the faster results are realised.  The quality of the process and eventually the candidates are also of much higher quality.   When a role becomes available in a hiring managers team then spending time with your lead recruiter is essential.  The ‘I don’t have time’ excuse many a time will cost you a lot more time in the long run.  Interviewing the wrong candidates or hiring the wrong person because you didn’t take the time to provide the recruiter with a real understanding of the role is never going to be a great outcome.

3) Provide current information

Sometimes when I look at job specifications I wonder what the purpose of the role is.  Many times the information is old, stale, boring and completely out of date.  If you give your recruiters old job specs with little information about why the role is important to the business, what the person will really be doing on a day-to-day basis as well as where this role could go then you should expect average candidates.

Remember the old saying – rubbish in, rubbish out.  Well if hiring managers put rubbish in re the time they give recruiters and the quality of the information then they will probably get the same in return.

4) Be part of the solution when it comes to creating great talent pools

Talent pools are rarely used to their full potential.   Where I’ve seen it work really well is when managers are happy to meet with great candidates who may not be looking at the moment but who are people who you’d like to have in the business in the future.  Ideally if a hiring manager (depending on how often they recruit) can meet with one exceptional potential applicant a quarter, that can then be courted until there is a position to hire then that’s a great support for the recruiter and will help them provide great people fast.

5) Treat your recruiter as part of your immediate team

If I’ m honest, I always gave more of my time, ideas, effort and energy to the hiring managers that did all of the above.  They made me part of their business, brought me to the table to ensure I understood their business, they met with candidates that I thought would be great for the ACTIVE talent pool I was building, they rewarded my success and they acknowledge my efforts.   Once again, you get out what you put in, and it’s no different when it comes to the relationship you have with your recruiter.  If they are not treated like a valued member of the team then you may get a result but will it be the best?   Even working in agency recruitment, it was always the client that gave me their time and effort that I focused my efforts on, because the likelihood of success was greater.

So whether you’re working with Internal, RPO or agency recruiters and/or teams, ensuring you are successful comes down to the quality of the relationship, the time and effort hiring managers are willing to put in and obviously the skill of the recruiter.  Making sure they are sitting at the table to support your business may be the difference between hiring success or failure in 2014 !

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