A few weeks ago I was listening to a recruiting webinar, and the speaker said the funniest thing. Verbatim: “when I finally had enough experience to push back on hiring managers…” When you finally had enough experience to push back?? Enough experience? You’re in recruiting. We are partners with our hiring managers. We have a seat at the table.
Put down the pitchforks- it’s a vast generalization and personally my thoughts on where we need to get to if you’re not already feeling like you are a partner. Otherwise, you’ll get nowhere because they won’t believe in your work, maybe more on that later. To make a long story short, I think it is our job to push back on hiring managers, appropriately, of course.
A few months ago, I wrote an article about how difficult it was for me to get into the recruiting industry. Maybe I’ll write another article about how difficult it was for me to get into corporate recruiting because I didn’t have “experience working with hiring managers.” OK. … I took the feedback from the 20+ interviews like a grain of salt and now, it’s “one of my strengths.”
But doesn’t it all just come down to communication? If you think about it, communication is the root of most problems. When you figure out how to communicate and truly have that seat at the table with your hiring managers your job will be much easier. I decided to make a short list of 5 ways to work with hiring managers because the managers probably have just as little time to work with you as you do to read this article.
1. Know That The Strategy (Intake) Meetings is Your First Step, Not Your Last.
Ask questions about why there is a new position open. Figure out the “why” behind the bullet points on the job description. If you’re familiar with the labor market data in the first meeting, share those sentiments. IE: demographics, unemployment rate, cost of living, etc. Don’t claim to be an expert if you’re not sure. If you’re hiring for a new role, take the information and come back to the next meeting with the relevant data about the marketplace.
2. Let Them Write the Job Description
By them directly dictating what they are putting out publically on your company’s career page, they’ll have a vested interest to make sure they aren’t just throwing words on a page. It will also get them to think very clearly about what they are looking for in their next hire.
3. Take a Seat at the Table
In some companies, recruiters don’t sit with their client groups. If that’s the case, sit with the team and observe how they work, what their day to day is, and how the team communicates with each other. It’ll help you answer the appropriate questions from candidates without having to bug your hiring manager too much for more details.
4. Do Live Searches in Strategy Meetings
Show your hiring manager how you work. I know we’re called sourcers because we create magic, but let’s be real – most people have no clue how we find people. Show them how you would perform a search, like how to write boolean strings. I’d say do this in the 2nd strategy meeting after you’ve done your research on how the market is. Especially when you feel like your hiring manager is a little confused as to what they need from their next hire.
5. Bring Data To Every Meeting
First, figure out what data the hiring manager needs to know. Talent Mapping? Current Pipeline? Labor Market Trends? Now you’ve shown how you work; it’s time to bring the specific numbers each time. It’s also why I said don’t bring data to the first conversation. You need to know what you’re looking for before pushing numbers towards your HM. Some examples of data I bring is: how many candidates in the pipeline, how many people in interviews, or time to hire if we hired this role previously.
Overall, recruiters should be empowered to push back on their hiring managers appropriately. By following the above tips, you’ll find that you can develop the relationship better and showcase your worth as a partner. When it’s time to push back, you’ve shown that your words are backed up with your research and data.
About the Author:
Allison Mackay is currently responsible for Infrastructure Data Center Recruiting at Facebook. Her current team manages hiring for the Facebook team responsible for design center site selection strategy, infrastructure design and creation, the operation of data centers, servers, and network hardware, and managing Facebook’s standards compliance and sustainability programs across Facebook’s data center sites.
Alison began her career in retail management, where she was first introduced to retail campus recruiting. After realizing her heart belonged to talent acquisition, she began her career in recruiting, starting off at two separate boutique agencies focused exclusively on technical recruiting before moving to her current in-house role at Facebook.
A graduate of San Jose State University, Alison is also the co-founder of the Silicon Valley Recruiters Association.