5 Questions Hiring Managers Should Ask When Evaluating Their Relationship with Their Recruiter

In many ways, the hiring process can be quite a challenge. In this candidate-driven market, competition for talent is fierce, hiring cycles are increasing in length, and hiring managers are strapped for time. An inefficient, unclear recruiting process is not only uncomfortable for candidates, but costly to organizations. Seeking help from an outside source, like a staffing agency, can help to ease that burden. It’s essential for the relationship between a hiring manager and a recruiter to be clear, professional, and fulfilling. Hiring managers, keep these 5 questions in mind when evaluating your relationship with your recruiter.

 1.   Are they identifying my needs and solving my problem?

At the end of the day, you, as a hiring manager, have some sort of need, and a recruiter must fill that need. You may be wondering: Are they going to be there for me? Are they going to be fair to me? Am I going to be able to rely on them if there's a problem? Whatever that problem is, it’s a recruiter’s job to solve it with as few roadblocks as possible. Your recruiters should be asking these questions to fulfill that need: -   What are you looking for? -   What challenges are you seeing? -   What is the biggest obstacle to filling the job? Maybe the challenge is that you’re getting sent too many resumes that aren't relevant for the position. Maybe the candidates that other recruiters are sending you don’t interview well. Maybe you’re feeling inundated with your workload, don’t have time for a lot of back-and-forth with a recruiting partner, and need a quality candidate as quickly as possible. Your recruiter should take those problems out of your way, and do what they can to be there for you.

 2.   Are they reliable and thoughtful?

If you’re hiring at a small to mid-size company, chances are that you aren’t placing candidates every week. You may only need a recruiter once a quarter, or a couple of times a year. Hiring managers want to know that when they call their recruiter after six months of not needing their service, they can pick up right where they left off. Ask yourself, is your recruiter maintaining your relationship with them? You should never feel as though working with a recruiting team is a revolving door, and that you have to start from scratch every time you need recruiting support. Find a recruiting partner who can be there for you in the long term, and they’ll be the first one you call when you have a need.

 3.   Are they communicating in a personalized and empathetic way?

Every person is different; every hiring manager is different. Your recruiter should communicate with you in a way that suits your needs, not in a way that suits their needs. Sometimes, when a hiring manager says “maybe” on a candidate, they’re politely saying “no.” Other times, a “maybe” really is a “maybe” and you, as a hiring manager, are open to being swayed in either direction. Does your recruiter understand your communication style and know when to push back? If every candidate they send you comes with a hard sell, regardless of how you feel about that person or what your needs are, then your recruiter isn’t communicating effectively or genuinely. Make a note of how recruiters sell candidates to you. Is it a blanket approach? Or is it specific to the role, the company, and what you’re looking for? For example, how does your recruiter respond if you’re unsure that a candidate is underqualified? Maybe if that candidate is a great fit at your company, your recruiter tells you how eager, passionate, and motivated that candidate is. Maybe they show you the thoughtful thank-you letter the candidate wrote expressing their excitement about working for you. Your recruiter assures you that certain traits can’t be taught, and perhaps what the candidate lacks in technical expertise, they make up for in a number of other ways. It’s your recruiter’s duty to place candidates they truly believe in—just make sure they’re being genuine in their approach!

 4.   Are they flexible?

A strong recruiter will understand that a hiring manager’s full time job isn’t to find a new candidate. That’s their job. While a recruiter is deep in their hiring process—collecting resumes, vetting candidates, conducting interviews—they should be cognizant of your time and your workload. Recruiters should be respectful of your availability by being patient and flexible. Great recruiters keep in mind that hiring managers have other responsibilities, obligations, and restraints. Those recruiters should be assertive and know when to stay on your radar, but also know when to give you space. They stay flexible. They check in as needed. And, most importantly, they don’t overwhelm you.

 5.   Do they swiftly respond to mistakes?

Mistakes can happen, and in terms of time and money, they can also be costly. How does your recruiter respond when problems arise? It could be the case that after a six week long interview process with lots of internal communication and delays, your candidate is hired, stays on the job for a week, and quits because they landed another opportunity. In another case, it could be that the recruiting team didn’t do their full due diligence, and you end up offering a job to an out-of-town candidate, only to learn that that candidate isn’t willing to commute. Or, frankly, that candidate is hired, everything is in order, and they fail a drug test. How does your recruiter react? Do they address the situation head-on, and move as swiftly as possible to find you a new placement? Or, do they spend too much time dwelling on the loss, and try to haggle about fees and compensation? If you can see a recruiter’s drive to fix mistakes, it will just increase your commitment to them as a recruiting partner. The more emphasis you put on building a long-term relationship with a recruiting partner, the less time you’ll have to spend assessing their value. If you find a recruiting partner who you know does good work, that relationship becomes effortless, and both parties can focus more diligently on securing the right candidates and making successful hires.  

Feeling overwhelmed with placing candidates? Check out our blog on how to hire the right staffing agency.