Turn Your Hiring Manager from Adversary to Ally in 2020



The life of a recruiter isn’t easy. It’s hard enough trying to find, engage and deliver amazing talent to our companies. Yet hundreds of HR leaders have shared that their biggest roadblock is actually internal: working with their own hiring managers (HMs).

What do they mean?  Hopefully, your HR team is seen as a true business partner with your HMs but that’s not always the case. We’ve all experienced where a great passive candidate is sourced and sent to the hiring manager only to fall into a black hole where they never hear feedback. This causes frustration on both sides. The recruiters don’t want their passive candidates hung out to dry once they were sent over to the HM. The HMs are upset that by the time they wanted to talk to the candidate they were no longer interested in speaking. 

I’m going share a proven strategy to help turn your HM from adversary to ally in 2020.    

  1. Create an SLA (Services Level Agreement)

As the head of a global talent team for a Fortune 100 company, we knew how critical it was to have our hiring managers as allies instead of adversaries. After a bit of internal friction during a period of high growth, we developed a simple solution: for any mission-critical role we devoted a sourcing resource to we asked that the HM respond to the candidate within 48 hours of delivery of resume and phone screen notes. Failure to do so ran the risk of losing their sourcing resource.

   This worked for several reasons:

  • The HMs respected the SLA as an agreement between two parties working together (HR and them) towards a common goal
  • The window for keeping a passive candidate’s interest is usually less than 48 hours
    • The candidates are not actively looking and a large amount of effort from HR went into getting them even slightly interested
  • Creating consequences reminded them of the value of everyone’s role to help fill these positions
  1. Show (and show again) ROI

Change management isn’t easy and one way to ensure continued success is to show ROI of working together under the new SLA.  Here were some simple metrics to track:

  • Time-to-fill: The average sourcing hire was three weeks faster for HMs honoring the SLA
  • Quality of hire: Sending a short congratulation to the HM when a hire made President’s club for Sales
  • Retention: Tracking the retention rate of these hires over time and highlighting success. (We had a 92 percent retention rate over a 3-year period)

If this sounds radical, I’m happy to share that since implementing this strategy personally, I’ve worked with countless talent acquisition leaders across multiple industries and seen them employing these techniques for similar success. 

One company I worked with even has a quote from a long-time adversarial hiring manager in their recruiting bullpen. It reads simply, “The quality of these candidates are the best I’ve seen in 20 years here."

Good luck in 2020 and I look forward to hearing more about your success (and ROI)!  Please feel free to follow me and ask questions on Twitter @AndreJBoulais and connect on LinkedIn.


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