Talent Teams

It’s Time to Rethink the Role of the Hiring Manager (and the Real Value They Can Add)

Let’s face it: recruiters and hiring managers want the same thing — to make the right hire as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. So instead of an “us and them” approach, it’s time to harness the relationship’s potential.

Crucial to the success of a talent search is the intake meeting and if yours could use some improvement, start by reading our article on how to fix one that’s broken. This meeting is where you, as recruiter, find out what the hiring manager (HM) wants in a hire. It’s also where you get the background information on the job and both formulate a strategy and timeline to go out and get that hire!

We're all in this together, after all! (Image: Giphy)
We’re all in this together, after all! (Image: Giphy)

That’s right, we said “both”.

Forget the “friend or foe” analogy that you keep hearing. You can work better together. For starters, you can get more out of your hiring manager if you involve them more closely in the recruiting process early on. In fact, the extent of their involvement has a critical impact on your hiring and retention results.


It all starts with the intake

You know that recruitment success hinges on the intake meeting. And it’s up to you to guide the process, the same way any service provider would guide their client. You’re the recruitment expert and this is your briefing session — so steer it to get the information you need. Get crystal clear on what the HM wants, and how you can sell the candidate.

Are there any information gaps you need to fill? Do you have enough background on the company and role? Do you know what the HM’s expectations are, of the process and the outcome? Do you know how often they want you to check in along the way? And is it by phone, email or in person over a coffee? Guiding this meeting positions you as the expert who the HM can trust.

BONUS: Get the printable checklist to use in every intake meeting to get true alignment.

The hiring manager – your window to the right candidate fit

Once you’ve gained their trust, it becomes easier to partner with the HM – and work together.

Remember, your primary focus is on teasing out what would make a prospect drop everything to join your team. So, as well as gauging what current employees find attractive about their role and the company, pick the HM’s brain for the bigger picture view:
– How will this new recruit impact the company’s goals, such as growth and productivity?
– What features of the company’s culture might appeal to the candidate?
– How will you know they’re the right fit?


Capitalize on the hiring manager’s cred

Candidates can be wary of recruiters, and you’ve probably found that an HM carries more clout in the eyes of a prospect – so harness that! The HM is your ally in marketing. After all, they have a vested interest in getting the best candidate for the role. Their knowledge of their industry is invaluable. And if you’re lucky, they’ll have a profile and be known for what they do.

So, what are some specific ways an HM can enhance your candidate outreach?

    1. They can follow up your initial outreachThe power of the hiring manager’s touch when engaging passive candidates should never be underestimated. Encourage your HM to follow up your initial outreach with an email, or InMail. Better yet (and to keep things moving) send them a few dot points of what they might include in an outreach message, and work with them if you need to craft a catchy, authentic message – in their own words.
      For an even more personal approach, recruiting expert, Angela Bortolussi says HMs can invite candidates to meet for coffee or visit the office to gain insight into the company’s culture, the ‘big picture’ and how they’d fit in it.
Harness the power of your team's networks, says Stacy Zapar.
Harness the power of your team’s networks, says Stacy Zapar.
  1. Leverage your teams’ networks
    Recruiting expert Stacy Zapar says she’s achieved around a 90% response rate by leveraging the LinkedIn networks of current company HMs and staff. By connecting on LinkedIn with the HM and key staff, Zapar then sends through a shortlist of prospects from their first level connections. If they get the thumbs up, she forwards a brief outreach template for the staff member to send to their first level contact – so the outreach comes from within the company, not from an external recruiter.
  2. Leverage the HM’s social media presence.
    If your HM has an active online presence, it’s likely that they’ll have followers who could be prime passive candidates in the making. Work to ensure LinkedIn profiles are up-to-date. Encourage your HM to post blogs to the company website and job site, as well as Facebook and Twitter accounts if they have them. And take a look through what they’ve posted recently to see who is replying.
  3. The hiring manager as the face of your campaign
    Angela Bortolussi agrees with Zapar’s above approach, and also advocates harnessing social media for marketing opportunities. But she takes it a step further: encourage the HM to get out in the industry as the face of your recruiting drive, and speak at meet-ups and other events. Together, you can come up with a list of events and topics to speak on. This builds employer branding and recognition, leading to greater engagement of prospects.


HOW-TO: Make the Most of Meetup for Recruiting Top Talent


You’re in the driver’s seat

You know better than anyone that HMs are busy people. Most are busy enough managing their existing teams and might rather you did all the work to find that new recruit. And while it’s your job to steer the recruiting process, advising the HM along the way, you also need to convince them they are an integral part of a successful recruitment campaign.

So how do you do that, and get what you need without them thinking you’re yet another interruption in their day?

    1. Conduct a thorough intake meeting
      We can’t stress enough the importance of running an incredible intake meeting to crystalize what type of candidate you want to attract. Stacy Zapar says you should even go through the job spec line by line so you’re both clear on what’s needed, and how the process will run. Here’s your chance to dig deeper for information on their ideal hire – and then listen. Zapar says you’ll be amazed by what you learn this way; you might uncover new details and ideas you can use in your search. It’s also when you make sure you’re both on the same page, and that each person knows who’s responsible for what during the process.
    2. Ask the right questions
      Frame your questioning around what would make a candidate want to work at their company. Ask the HM questions like: What makes them appealing as a boss? Why would the candidate want to be part of their team? What’s the company’s USP?

Ready to overhaul your intake conversations?

Here’s a free checklist to structure, focus and align your intake meetings.


  1. Communication is key
    So your HM is busy. That doesn’t mean you meet them once, and only come back one more time with your list of prospects. At the intake meeting, book in regular times to touch base with updates. Then prepare for these meetings thoroughly so you’re concise and on point. Regular communication helps the HM trust you, as well as feel involved. You may even convince them to play a bigger role in the process this way.

Over to you – what are some ways you leverage your HMs in chasing down passive candidates?