Recruiter and hiring manager meeting to review candidates

5 Ways to Improve the Recruiter and Hiring Manager Relationship

Recruiters working with hiring managers know how challenging it can be to meet expectations and communicate with one another effectively throughout the recruiting process. Here are five ways to develop a strong recruiter and hiring manager relationship, so that you can more efficiently fill open positions with the right talent.


Recruiter and hiring manager meeting


1. Hold a meeting and establish a plan.

First things first – the recruiter should schedule a meeting with the hiring manager before recruitment begins to get to know one another, set expectations, and establish a plan.

Explain the recruiting process, ask about their goals, and be realistic about the time it will take to fill their role. Put together a timeline and ensure the hiring manager understands what they need to do to move the process forward.

This is also a great time to ask the hiring manager about their preferred method of communication. How and how often would they like to hear from you? Knowing whether they prefer email, text, or calls is a simple ask but will save you time when trying to get in touch with them.

And of course, make sure you understand the type of candidate they need. Working with a detailed job description will make the recruiting process much smoother for both of you.


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2. Get a detailed job description.

Recruiters working with hiring managers know that some will be super specific about the type of candidates they want to attract – the skills required, educational background preferred, personality traits desired, and so on – and others will be vaguer. In both cases, it’s a good idea to touch base on the job description.

If a hiring manager provided you with a lot of detail, ask them to separate their “must-haves” from the “nice-to-haves” because the chances are that you won’t find candidates who check all the boxes.

If a hiring manager doesn’t provide enough detail, ask pointed questions until you have enough information. For example, “What did you like about the previous person in the role? How could they have performed the job better?” or “What kind of background would be beneficial for this position?” It’s a good idea to do some research on the industry and department prior to having this conversation, so you’re more prepared to ask the right questions.


Recruiter talking on the phone with a hiring manager


3. Develop rapport.

The best way to develop rapport with a hiring manager is to emphasize that you’re an advocate for them. Just like you would with a customer, explain that your primary goal is to meet their hiring needs. Letting them know their success is a priority will help you build trust right off the bat.

The recruiter and hiring manager relationship takes time to build. While both of you are busy, spending a little extra time getting to know each other will pay off during the recruiting process. First of all, you’ll have a greater understanding of their needs. Secondly, you’ll have an easier time communicating with and getting responses from hiring managers with whom you’ve established a relationship.


4. Set boundaries and educate.

Have you ever struggled to get a hiring manager to abide by your timeline? Or, have you ever worked with a hiring manager who is looking for a unicorn? Most recruiters working with hiring managers are nodding their heads “yes.” While it can be tempting to send a passive-aggressive email, there is a way to get your point across more effectively and preserve the recruiter and hiring manager relationship.

Instead, try to educate the hiring manager on why a different approach may yield better results. For example, explain to the hiring manager who’s dragging her feet that she’ll miss out on great talent to other companies. Let her know that you’ll hold off on sending her candidates until she’s ready to invest time in the process.

And for the hiring manager who’s looking for the perfect candidate? Let him know that he may be missing out on great candidates from diverse backgrounds by setting the bar too high. You may challenge him to think of a few of his best hires. What were their backgrounds? Did they have all the preferred skills right away? Most of the time, the answer will be “no,” and it may open the door for you to schedule more interviews with candidates who check most of the boxes.


Hiring manager giving feedback to recruiter


5. Ask for feedback.

The best way to improve the recruiter and hiring manager relationship is to ask for feedback throughout the recruiting process. Hiring managers, like the rest of us, are busy and often give a simple “yes” or “no” response when assessing candidates. However, you’ll be more successful at finding the right talent if you ask them to elaborate on why they did or did not like a candidate.

You should also ask for feedback a week or so after they’ve hired someone. How did the recruiting process go? How could it have been smoother? How do you like your new hire? Take notes on their responses so that you can collaborate more effectively next time around.


The recruiter and hiring manager relationship can be tough to manage if you don’t have the right tools to build trust, open communication, and a level of mutual understanding. All recruiters working with hiring managers can employ these five easy tips to improve their working relationship and deliver better results.

By iHire | November 16, 2020