The Role of the Hiring Manager in the Recruiting Process

Mar 27, 2023


HR leaders around the Cincinnati region gathered to discuss  the role of the hiring manager in the recruiting process. In an anonymous poll, 62% of the participants responded that they are only somewhat confident in their hiring managers’ ability to successfully assess, interview and recruit candidates. 14% of leaders stated they are very confident, whereas 19% stated they weren’t very confident in their hiring managers’ abilities. 

Here are some key takeaways about how HR leaders can set up their hiring team for success:

Unicorns Slow Down the Process

Finding a candidate with both 100% of technical skill and culture fit is very difficult in today’s labor market, yet it’s common for hiring managers to hold out for the “unicorn.” One HR leader shared that it took six months to hire someone with a specific skill, but in that span of time, they could have hired and trained someone who had most of what was required. When trying find good talent, hire for potential. Weigh the requirements against what can be taught. Focus your efforts on candidate potential and train for technical skill after they’re hired.

Internal Candidates are a Gold Mine

Internal candidates are an untapped resource for many hiring managers. It’s common to go to market to find someone to fill a specific role, but don’t forget those already in your house. Current employees know the culture, don’t require onboarding, and are generally more comfortable. Hiring managers should work with the HR team to identify promising, driven internal candidates and train them into the open roles.

Communication is Key

The HR team and the hiring manager should be in frequent, open communication about filling the role. Involve the hiring manager early on, discuss objectives, and plan the process together. Getting the hiring manager actively engaged from the beginning aligns the team and helps to foster a sense of responsibility for a successful search, rather than throwing them into an interview with selected candidates at the end of the recruiting process.

The Importance of the Interview

After the recruiter finds and screens the candidate, many hiring managers are responsible for the interview process. This step can make or break a candidate’s decision about whether to join a company. It’s helpful for hiring managers to have a well-planned guide to use as a framework for interviewing. Make sure the hiring manager has sample questions to ask, knows who is asking what questions, and sells the organization to the candidate. One HR leader shared that they encourage their hiring managers to share why they work at the company and what keeps them motivated to succeed. Talking authentically about the “why” helps the candidate to connect with the culture of the organization. Candidates can tell when they’re being fed a line or a script.

Onboarding New Employees

We heard from our participants that it’s common for a hiring manager to become more hands-off once the candidate has accepted the offer and reports to work. It’s smart to have a plan outlining what HR is responsible for and what the hiring manager will be doing. So the new employee feels connected and engaged, it’s a good idea to keep the hiring manager in contact with them as soon as the offer is accepted and throughout their orientation. One HR leader stated that peer mentoring or a “buddy system” is helpful for a new employee to feel supported during their few weeks.

Most of the attendees agreed that the candidate experience can be dramatically affected by the hiring manager. It’s helpful for the hiring manager to stay connected to HR and open-minded about talent when filling positions. A collaborative approach to recruiting will set hiring managers up for success.