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Hiring Managers: How to Elevate your Recruiter Partnership in a Competitive Job Market

Month after month, we continue to see the unemployment rate around the lowest it’s been in 50 years. Rather than writing an article focused on why hiring managers should work with a professional recruiting agency, we’re at a point where it’s more relevant to talk about how to make those relationships flourish since they’re likely already in place.

In working with many hiring managers throughout my time as a recruiter, I’ve realized that having time to review an article amid managing your responsibilities and interviewing isn’t always a reality. So, let’s keep this short and sweet, breaking it down to several key factors that, if put into action, will be well worth the short time invested.

Strategically Choose the Right Hiring Partner

Before diving into any tips on how to make the most out of the relationship with your recruiter, we first need to determine if you’re working with the right one. A few questions to ask yourself:  Have you met your contact in person? Is the recruiting team local? Do they meet with candidates in person for interviews before sending them to you? Have they made an effort to understand your culture/environment?  How long has the recruiting company been in this market?

Each one of these questions are tremendously important to consider for the outcome of the relationship with your recruiter. If the foundation isn’t built with the right components such as a local, experienced recruiting team who has been in your market for years, the following suggestions will be much more challenging to implement.

Create an Open Communication Channel

I know you have enough emails in your inbox already, but one of them could be regarding a candidate who could possibly fill the last open spot on your team; isn’t it worth giving your recruiter a call? The important thing here is to provide feedback whether the candidate is a fit or not. The more feedback you provide, the better the recruiting team will become at narrowing down their search to find specifically what you’re looking for. If you don’t provide this critical feedback, the process WILL drag on, and it WILL lead to frustration because you’re not seeing what you want, and the recruiting team is spinning their wheels sourcing with a blindfold on.

Perhaps you are providing detailed feedback and you’re still not seeing the type of candidates you’re looking for. Have you and your recruiter discussed the realistic expectations of your search? If the recruiter is a tenured expert with top notch skills, they may try to get creative and send you someone they think has the potential to become what you’re looking for. But, if you don’t have an open communication channel to discuss this type of strategic approach, it only creates more friction. Open, constant communication is key to keep the process moving in the right direction; whether that means changing course or filling a position, at least something progressive is taking place.

Share as much about your Culture and Environment as Possible

If you’re not meeting in person with your recruiter before you start a search, that’s one thing to put on your to-do list immediately. Even if it’s a short block of time, this step is invaluable to the process. Allowing the recruiter to physically see your environment, meet your team, learn about your culture, and ask questions to understand the soft skills that make people successful in your organization will save you time and money in the long run.

Companies with successful teams are doing investment hires, which means they create positions for fitting talent when they become available. If your recruiter knows enough about your team and culture, they can identify someone that would pique your interest and send their information to you instantly, allowing you to land this new hire before a competitor. In this market, you need to be proactive rather than reactive to get the quality you’re looking for. Think about your partnership in a more strategic fashion, sharing any skill sets that are always in demand for your team and helping the recruiter understand the type of backgrounds you get excited about.

Every culture has some weak points, so don’t hesitate to share those areas as well. Having the entire picture in mind during interviews will allow recruiters to find a better long-term fit for your team.

Look Past the Resume

You pay for a professional recruiter’s services, which should include reviewing resumes and performing in person interviews (among many other things) to sort through unqualified candidates. If that is the case, the recruiter should know much more about the candidate than what’s on their resume. If they’re sending someone to you, and they know your culture inside and out, it must be for a reason. Look past the resume and try to understand why your recruiter is sharing the information with you.

In this competitive job market, you may not get everything you’re looking for. If you wait for someone who crosses all your T’s and dots all your I’s, your competitors will pass you by for developing candidates who have the foundational skills to be successful.

In order to not completely sabotage my “short and sweet” promise (although it might already be too late), I’ll wrap this up and keep it to these four key suggestions. My hope is for you to find a professional recruiting team who you trust and have complete transparency with. If you have become frustrated with the hiring process, it’s very likely your recruiting team can relate. Things may turn around for you if you’re open to applying these suggestions, and I would love to hear about it if they do!