Building the Bond
Despite the rumours, hiring managers and recruiters can collaborate to attract top talent – all they need is time!
In one sense, the recruitment system is fundamentally flawed. Recruiters are remunerated based on outcomes, with the result that some recruiters focus exclusively on placing candidates with little or no regard for the process. It is this process, however, that will either make or break your employer brand. And as your representative in the market, you need to be certain that your chosen recruitment partner acts in your best interests at all times.
Of course, you can partner with an excellent recruitment firm and work with a poor recruiter, and vice versa. However, the key to any great relationship is time – and this is particularly true when it comes to working with third-party recruiters. If you – as a hiring manager – invest time in building a partnership at the outset, you will reap the rewards for years to come.
So in that context, here are some things you should and shouldn’t do as a hiring manager.
- Use a small number of third-party recruiters and make sure that you trust the people who will ultimately represent you in the market.
- Make time to brief your recruitment partners properly, and in person, because that’s how they’ll get the ‘fit’ right.
- Be as specific as possible in your brief while leaving room for flexibility. Talk more about what you don’t want in your next hire than what you do.
- Talk about your own background and why you work where you do. It’s your personal story, rather than that of the company, that will attract candidates.
- Agree timelines for submissions, review and feedback on candidates – and meet the expectations you set. If you fail to meet your own deadlines, that will affect the recruiter’s ability to keep candidates in the loop and will subsequently position you, as the hiring manager, poorly from day one.
- Set your expectations. It’s okay to be explicit: “I’m looking for a maximum of four of your best recommendations for this role and I want you to guarantee that you will interview and brief all candidates before submitting them.” Never assume.
- Be available and engaged. You will be the biggest winner from this process so bear this in mind when prioritising your time.
- Listen to your recruiter. A good recruiter will know much, much more about recruitment and the market than you, so never underestimate the value the right recruiter can bring to the process.
- Set timing expectations you can beat.
- Be honest. The more open you are with the recruiter, the more they’ll reciprocate.
- Debrief at the end. The best hiring managers debrief their recruiters at the end of the process, share feedback and ensure that everyone learns from each experience.
- Share your job description freely – you just make your role less of a priority for the recruiter. People will work less for you as it’s less likely that they will be paid at the end of the process given the sheer number of channels through which a candidate can apply for the role.
- Think that all you need to do is issue a job description. A good recruiter won’t send you a candidate they haven’t met but equally, a good recruiter won’t send a candidate to a company without a sufficient degree of context. Barden’s own data shows that recruitment consultants are 90% more likely to fill a role when they meet the hiring manager for a consultation.
- Engage too many recruiters. If you have five recruiters and your own HR personnel working on a role that is also advertised on your website with a call out for internal referrals, you’re ultimately going to waste a lot of people’s time and put both your brand and the opportunity at risk. If you instead choose to work with a small number of experts, both the process and outcome will be greatly improved.
- Reward recruiters simply for sending the candidate’s CV in first. That only encourages recruiters to send CVs before a meeting with – and, sadly, even speaking to – candidates. Don’t reward bad behaviour.
- Set timing expectations you can’t meet. If you tell a candidate at interview that you will be in contact by the end of the week, and you fail to meet that commitment, both you and the recruiter look bad.
- Leave it to HR. Your colleagues in the HR department can be a great asset, but they’re not the hiring manager. Work with HR to make sure contracts are issued and the process is concluded within pre-agreed timeframes. CFOs have turned down jobs with listed companies because a contract was not issued in good time, so keep in touch with your recruiter to make sure things are progressing smoothly.
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