The scenario: A new role opens up and immediately you dive into LinkedIn, your proprietary database, personal network, or referrals to begin sourcing candidates.
Clearly in an instance like this there was some miscommunication between the recruiter and the hiring manager. When beginning a new recruiting initiative, it is extremely important to set the appropriate guidelines and expectations. There has been more than one occasion in which I received a message from an unhappy hiring manager asking why the position hadn’t been filled, or why no interviews had taken place yet. In hindsight, I don’t blame them at all, and from my past experiences I have learned how to avoid these miscommunications in the future. After all, recruiting is not a hiring manager’s job, but it is your job as a recruiter to explain the process in full clarity.
The best way to begin delivering the right expectations is to set up an introductory call. Every organization has a different name for this, whether it be a “kickoff call,” “intake session,” “intro call” – what you call it really doesn’t matter, as long as it happens.
In this conversation, be sure to discuss the overall mission and strategy for the job search. This is your opportunity to develop upon your partnership — yes, partnership. It is equally as important to receive timely feedback from the hiring manager as it is for you to do your part by sending quality candidates to them. It takes an agreed upon partnership for a recruiting initiative to run smoothly and efficiently. In order to better establish that partnership, here are some processes that should be touched on during this call:
- Sourcing: Explain your process for sourcing and which tools you utilize. Ask the hiring manager if they have had certain luck hiring candidates with a specific skill or from a specific school/company so that you can target them, specifically.
- Screening: Discuss what you want the recruiter’s phone screen to consist of. They will probably want to know the candidate’s salary, reason for leaving, and why they are interested in the role. Are there any other questions they want to include to narrow the candidate pool down?
- Submitting: Would the hiring manager like to receive candidate info as phone screens are being performed? Maybe they would prefer a lump of candidates once per week, instead? Would they like a full summary? Or just the resume and some notes? Figure out what is best for the hiring manager.
- Interviewing: What happens after a candidate is submitted? Will the hiring manager take care of everything afterwards? Would they prefer the recruiter to schedule the next steps? How many interviews will be performed until a final decision is made? Will they be willing to hire the first quality candidate that makes it to final rounds, or are two candidates required to compare and contrast?
- Feedback: Set a timeline for feedback. I usually shoot for 48 hours after a candidate is submitted for a yay or nay. You can also set up a weekly call to gain specific feedback regarding what the hiring manager liked and didn’t like about the candidates submitted. Make sure they agree to the timeline, so they can hold themselves accountable for getting this feedback to you.
- Follow-up: Maybe every candidate you reached out to works at their dream job. What if your front-runner who was a shoo-in drops out before you can submit them? Make sure to follow up with the hiring manager at least weekly to explain the situation. I think most professionals understand that $h*t happens. But hiring managers will get annoyed or upset if they’re not being kept in the loop. Don’t hold off on sending the hiring manager an update because you assume you’ll be able to submit a candidate “soon.” It may take longer than you think and while you’re waiting you’ll be leaving the hiring manager in the dark. Let the hiring manager know on the introductory call that you will let them know the overall status, whether there are candidates in process or not!
Filling a job sounds simple in theory, but once put into motion it can become extremely difficult. As a recruiter, you can’t assume that hiring managers know how long it takes to find a candidate, set up a phone interview, or fill a position. If your expectations are aligned, and agreed upon, the hiring manager will respect your honesty and work, so long as you stick with your side of the bargain. And you can always fall back on these agreements if the hiring manager is being unresponsive or expecting too much from you.
I also suggest tracking not only which candidates you reach out to, but which percentages respond, don’t respond, or aren’t interested in speaking about the opportunity. Of those who aren’t interested, report on the reasons why they aren’t. Use this information to track trends and share these with the hiring manager. Maybe a majority of candidates aren’t interested because it’s a lateral move for them, or maybe the salary isn’t enough to consider it. Once you have this information you can work together with the hiring manager to seek a different type of candidate or increase the salary range.
It’s all about communication! With the right communication, your hiring managers will enjoy working with you, have reasonable expectations, and respect you as a recruiter.