How Recruiters and Hiring Managers Can Get on the Same Page

Anete Vesere (1)

Anete Vesere

Content Marketer

As much as we preach collaboration as the cornerstone of any successful company, the unfortunate truth is that the relationship between hiring managers and recruiters is often one of a tense kind. Perhaps it’s not so much of a surprise considering that both stakeholders have different business imperatives and are responsible for separate parts of the hiring process. In fact, in most companies – recruiters and hiring managers are very rarely in direct contact with one another unless it regards new job openings or candidates. 

Not having a strong relationship between the two can lead to negative consequences:

  • Job roles staying open for too long
  • Rejections (late) in the process
  • Mishires (which can cost up to €59,497)
  • Higher recruitment costs

However, having alignment between the two stakeholders is of the utmost importance for a business to succeed.

3 Business benefits of a strong recruiter and hiring manager relationship

  1. Time to hire. A solid relationship between recruiters and hiring managers reduces time-to-hire.
  2. Improved Talent Acquisition team’s performance. A study by Deloitte showed that “developing strong relationships with hiring managers,” was the number one driver of a Talent Acquisition team’s performance. 
  3. Improved candidate experience. If they’re properly aligned, then candidates can receive consistent and accurate information, improving the overall Candidate Experience. Research amongst 370,000+ candidate responses found that one of the most crucial elements of a positive Candidate Experience was a clear understanding of the role. 

The Misalignment between recruiters & hiring managers: How it begins

On a surface level, it might come across as if recruiters and hiring managers are the most aligned, after all, they both are striving towards the same goal. The right people, in the right roles, at the right time. Sounds quite simple, right?

Even if the goal is the same – finding the right person, as a result of these different perspectives, there is often a misalignment between the recruiter and the hiring manager. Here are three reasons why that may be!

Reason 1. Same goal, different perspectives

The problem stems from the fact that recruiters and hiring managers approach the recruitment process from different perspectives:

  • Recruiters are typically more flexible when it comes to the candidate’s background but more focused on the job requirements as those are provided by the hiring manager.
  • Hiring managers, on the other hand, are typically more concerned with finding the right person for the job. They may take into account a variety of factors, such as the candidate’s experience, education, and past performance. They may also not be as willing to be flexible in terms of job requirements and qualifications in order to find the best person for the job.


Reason 2. Traditional hiring practices are typically one-sided

Traditional hiring practices are typically one-sided because the hiring manager and recruiter are not on equal footing. The hiring manager commonly has the upper hand in the process and in most cases  is in charge of the decision-making process. As in – who gets deemed as a qualified candidate and who isn’t.

The recruiter is more of a facilitator and may not have much input into the final decision. This can lead to a situation where the recruiter is not able to ensure a fair and equitable process. Additionally, traditional hiring practices often lack transparency and can lead to bias and discrimination.

Reason 3. Unrealistic or unclear expectations (Unicorn candidates that don’t exist)

Unrealistic or unclear expectations can be difficult to work with, as it can lead to a mismatch between the expectations of the hiring managers and the actual capabilities of the candidates shortlisted by recruiters. This can lead to higher time to hire, higher turnover rates and a lack of job satisfaction from both the employer and the employee. 

How to turn “hiring manager vs recruiter” into “hiring manager and recruiter”

Step 1. Get on the same page sooner rather than later

In many cases, a recruiter is brought in after a job has been posted and the hiring manager has a candidate in mind. This can result in a mismatch between what the recruiter is looking for and what the hiring manager thinks they need. Getting on the same page as early as possible will help you both to understand each other’s expectations and requirements.

From the recruiter:

  • Check up with your HM about the requirements and qualifications in the hiring brief if they are must-haves or nice-to-haves.
  • Provide a timely and thorough search for qualified applicants.
  • Communicate with applicants regarding their qualifications, expectations and timeline for the job.
  • Be honest and clear about the job requirements and expectations.
  • Be respectful of the hiring manager’s time and resources.


From the hiring manager:

  • Clearly articulate the job requirements and desired qualifications.
  • Be available and responsive when the recruiter needs information.
  • Provide feedback in a timely manner.
  • Be open and honest about the organization’s needs and goals.
  • Provide feedback on the recruiter’s performance and make suggestions for improvement when needed.

Step 2. Try to steer the conversation away from an existing job description

Try to steer the conversation away from an existing job description and understand where the hiring manager’s team is at the moment and where they would like to get by hiring for this role.


  • The recruiter should ask questions about what makes this role unique, why it’s important for the company and what outcomes are expected from the person who fills it.
  • The hiring manager should explain why their team needs more help at this time, who else may be involved in making hiring decisions (such as other managers) and what expectations they have for each role within their team (e.g., generalists vs. specialists).


Defining the job description components also means understanding where people stand within an organization and how they relate to one another. One way to do this is by conducting a team analysis.  Which is a process of identifying and analyzing the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitude of current teams to then later on also be able to hire based on what’s necessary for respective teams to succeed. Doing so allows you to:

  • Effectively apply the team’s efforts (both at a team and individual level)
  • Identify potential skill gaps within teams
  • Learn what characteristics make someone a good fit for specific teams
  • Understand why some team members perform certain tasks better than others?

Step 3. Educate hiring managers on the state of the talent acquisition process

Educating hiring managers on the state of the talent acquisition process is an important step in ensuring that the organization has a successful hiring process and the relationship between managers and recruiters is built upon trust.

This education should include the importance of understanding the current job market, the importance of developing a sound recruitment strategy, and the importance of utilizing effective recruitment practices. Additionally, hiring managers should be educated on the importance of understanding the relevant laws and regulations pertaining to talent acquisition, such as the ”Equal Opportunities in Recruitment and Selection Oversight Act”. Finally, hiring managers should be taught best practices for interviewing and selecting candidates, as well as how to properly onboard new employees.

Step 4. Consider investing in tooling that can help with screening and shortlisting candidates

With the right tooling, employers can easily review candidate profiles, conduct initial interviews and other assessments, and compare applicants’ qualifications and experience. 

Using tooling as part of the screening process helps to reduce the amount of manual work required and allows them to focus their time on the more important aspects of the recruitment process, such as evaluating the potential of candidates and deciding on the best fit for the role. Additionally, having the right tooling in place can help to ensure a consistent and fair recruitment process, as well as make it easier to track metrics and report on progress. That’s not all though – using tooling takes out the room for disagreement on shortlisting candidates as it’s not based on subjective opinions, but rather data and metrics predictive of future job performance.

Step 5. Provide hiring managers with insights other than a CV before the interview process

Providing hiring managers with insights other than a CV before the interview process can be beneficial for the interviewee and the hiring manager alike. Furthermore, this additional information can help the hiring manager to get a better sense of the applicant’s personality and how they would fit into the role and the workplace culture.

Thus, if a recruiter provides additional insights about the applicant to the hiring manager, it can help to ensure that the hiring manager is making the best decision for the organization.

The recruiter-hiring manager relationship doesn’t have to be tense…

All relationships take hard work—and the partnership between a recruiter and hiring manager is no exception. However, establishing this relationship is essential to winning in today’s market. 

Following the steps indicated above, you can bring in the talent necessary to move your organization forward and toward success.

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