How to engage your hiring managers in the collaborative hiring process

Last updated:
July 15, 2021
November 17, 2021
min read
Sim Samra
Recruitee
Table of contents

Finding and hiring the perfect candidate is a team effort. It takes close collaboration with various members of a hiring team to carry a football from start to finish and achieve the best possible results for the company. As the de facto leader of these collaborative teams, the hiring manager plays a central role in this process.

Unfortunately, recruiters often struggle to get hiring managers fully involved in the process. This can mean poor alignment as a team, and missed opportunities for hiring great new people. In this article, we’re going to dig a bit deeper into why collaborative teams sometimes struggle to engage hiring managers, and the steps you can take to make this process easier.

But before we get started, let’s begin with the basics.

What is collaborative hiring and how does it work?

Collaborative hiring is recruiting done right. It revolves around building a hiring team, and making the process of recruiting someone a shared responsibility.

Collaborative hiring works by creating a strong, cross-functional hiring team. This means that the team is made up from people who work in different departments and at various seniority levels.

The hiring team is responsible for every phase of the recruitment process, and its impact will depend on how it’s implemented. Ultimately, every employee who plays a part in the hiring team will influence the end decision, which is why, when push comes to shove, collaborative hiring is the way forward.

Collaborative hiring benefits the company as a whole, the individuals on the team, and the candidates, too.

7 common roles in a collaborative hiring team

Collaborative hiring is all about knowing which steps need to be completed, and who the best people are to tackle them.

Collaborative hiring is very much a ‘divide and conquer’ technique that leverages the team member’s unique skills and roles to achieve the best results.

While all teams will vary, here’s a quick overview of the seven most common hiring team roles.

  • The recruiter oversees the end-to-end hiring process, and coordinates closely with each of the other team members listed below.
  • The hiring manager requests the position to be filled. They’re the catalyst for the entire hiring process, and therefore the de facto team lead who is in charge of defining requirements, interviewing candidates, and making the final hiring decision.
  • The HR lead manages important administrative tasks like organizing candidate documents, maintaining the ATS, and orchestrating salary and benefits.
  • The sourcer does much of the legwork for hunting down the right talent, and is often in charge of sourcing new or existing candidates for the role.
  • Core team members will help with defining job requirements and screening potential candidates. They are the team members who the new hire will work with, so they are usually brought in to share their opinions about job expectations.
  • The direct supervisor should be involved alongside a hiring manager and recruiter. They will be in charge of ensuring the right candidate is hired and onboarded effectively.
  • The CEO/Owner may be brought in to showcase the vision and values of the company to help sell the employer brand. This will help assess the cultural fit, too.

Hiring teams come in many shapes and sizes, but the hiring manager is always a central piece in these recruitment activities. Let’s dig a bit deeper into what a hiring manager does, and why they’re an important figure.

What is a hiring manager?

As mentioned, the hiring manager is the person within your organization who requests that a new position be filled. They are the driver behind a new requisition being created and are the go-to person for information about requirements and expectations.

They also have the ultimate say over which candidate is hired at the end of the recruitment process.

Because of this, hiring managers are expected to participate actively in each stage of the hiring process.

What does a hiring manager do?

As you can imagine, the role of the hiring manager contains a laundry list of responsibilities, such as:

  • Requesting a position to be filled.
  • Preparing and advising on the job description and core responsibilities.
  • Setting realistic expectations for what candidates should and must have.
  • Coordinating with recruiters to move the hiring process forward.
  • Consulting on recruitment ads and sourcing strategies.
  • Reviewing resumes and shortlisted candidates.
  • Defining an interview strategy in collaboration with recruiters.
  • Interviewing candidates.
  • Reviewing results in a wider hiring team.
  • Making a final hiring decision.
  • Working with HR to determine to appropriate compensation and benefits.
  • Making the job offer and coordinating acceptance with HR.
  • Establishing timelines for onboarding.

Each of these responsibilities are critical to the overall success of recruitment, and can often be time consuming for a hiring manager. A highly engaged hiring manager can help set the job search out on the right foot with proper guidance from the start.

Of course, hiring managers are often incredibly busy people, meaning that recruiters and hiring teams must work collaboratively to help move the process forward. This comes down to ensuring that your hiring manager is engaged, and feeling confident that the hiring process is moving in the right direction.

Additional reading: 24 skills needed to succeed as a recruitment manager

5 reasons a hiring manager might not be engaged

More often than not there is a clear reason why a hiring manager might not be fully committed to the recruitment process, and it often comes down to either communication or previous experiences.

Here are some common reasons why a hiring manager might not seem engaged. We’ll dive into how to tackle these issues in the next section.

  • They don’t trust HR, or have had bad experiences in the past. It’s possible that a hiring manager might have a taste in their mouth about recruiters or HR. It’s your job to ensure that their experience with your hiring team is different.
  • They don’t know how the recruitment process works. Being unsure about how something works can often lead to a lack of confidence, leading to poor engagement. Make sure to always be transparent about the process, and willing to help get your hiring manager up to speed.
  • They’re too busy. This is probably the most common one, and a tough barrier for many recruiters. Taking steps to make the process as streamlined as possible helps to take the burden off hiring managers.
  • They aren’t sure what to ask for. Again, this comes down to a lack of awareness about the process. It’s your job to work with hiring managers to help them formulate an idea of what they need, and how to get it.
  • They aren’t confident in their ability to interview or screen candidates. Keep in mind that hiring managers aren’t recruiters. So they likely won’t have the same skills as you. Identify this skills gap early on, and take steps to address these concerns.

Now that we’ve tackled some common reasons why a hiring manager might not be engaged, let’s look at how you can reverse that trend.

How to get hiring managers involved in the collaborative hiring process

Techniques for engaging your hiring manager will obviously vary on a case-by-case basis. No one person is exactly the same, so your approach for each new requisition might need to adapt accordingly.

Overall though, your strategy should ensure a clear and consistent line of communication, and assurances that your hiring team is there to help and drive the process forward where needed.

With that in mind, here are some techniques you can use when you want hiring managers to get involved in the collaborative hiring process:

  • Hold a discovery session to get a clear picture of what kind of candidate they’re looking for. You should also clearly lay out what the recruitment process will entail so that the hiring manager is clearly informed from the outset.  
  • Clearly define your ideal candidate early on. Establish clear parameters for job requirements, education, experiences, and responsibilities, and move forward with a shared vision.
  • Define what success looks like. Identify what requirements are must-haves, and which are 'nice-to-haves'. Establish target timelines and costs to set clear expectations for what a successful hire will entail.
  • Always be transparent. Share data into what hiring techniques have worked, what hasn't, and what might be effective for this requisition. Continue to share data about the requisition as the hiring process unfolds.
  • Tap into the manager’s pain points to keep them motivated. Hiring managers likely have a strong need for help within their department, which can be a major motivator for keeping the recruitment process going. Stay in touch with hiring managers, and show that you’re working with them to alleviate pressure points.
  • Provide continuous feedback. The recruitment process is a give and take between hiring manager and recruiter, aimed at finding strategies that work, and weeding out those that don’t. This can only be accomplished if you’re giving hiring managers honest feedback about what’s working, what isn’t, and whether there needs to be a change of expectations.
  • Train hiring managers on interview techniques. Not everyone has experience interviewing candidates, so it’s important to give your hiring manager a primer on how the process works if needed.
  • Keep the lines of communication open, and regularly collaborate to identify the best way to keep the process moving forward.

As you can see, getting hiring managers to take part in the collaborative hiring process is all about team work and communication.

Your hiring manager is a fundamental part of your team, and everyone involved in the process should take ownership of the result.

Managing expectations and processes early on is the best way to ensure that your hiring team knocks it out of the park on each and every new hire.

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