Talent Leadership

6 ways recruiters can strategically collaborate with hiring managers

Lauren Shufran

Lauren Shufran

Content Strategist

Posted on

April 19, 2022

If you’re a sourcer or recruiter, a great deal of your bandwidth is likely being spent on candidate experience (CX). This is probably truer now, in 2022, than it ever was: it’s a candidate’s market; top talent is swimming in options; and recruiting teams are struggling to compete against simultaneous offers. In such a world, candidates’ positive experiences of your hiring process are essential. What’s perhaps less obvious is there’s a direct correlation between CX and recruiting’s relationship with hiring managers. Hiring teams that get this equation right will leverage “The Great Resignation” for their own good, turning it into “The Great Attraction” for their organizations. 

Of course, relationships are more than a mathematical equation; but there are some numbers behind them, and some measurable best practices you can implement to build and sustain them. In 2014, Bersin by Deloitte examined 16 factors that drive talent acquisition performance, and found that the biggest driverfour times bigger than the second-biggest driver—was strong relationships between recruiters and their HMs. Four years later, Bersin’s research found that high-maturity talent acquisition orgs share a common trait of “thorough integration with the business”—an integration that forefronts “better partnering with hiring managers.”

Effective recruiter-hiring manager relationships increase productivity and decrease time-to-hire. They drive better hiring decisions, boost your talent brand exponentially, and give talent acquisition greater visibility in the business as a whole. What’s more, they’re a necessity at a time when TA must act as a strategic partner to the business if the company is going to meet its hiring goals in this ultra-competitive market. Here’s how to strategically collaborate with your hiring managers:

1. Help managers articulate their needs from the start

Hiring managers don’t always know exactly what they want from a newly-opened role or how to communicate the nuances of their talent needs. And when they can’t articulate what they’re looking for, they won’t be satisfied with the quality of candidates sent their way… which sends you, recruiter, back to the drawing board. 

So insist on a conversation rather than an email or req hand-off. A 1:1 allows you to cover the bases; it demands that your hiring manager think the role through and get clarity on what they need; and it ensures they won’t have unrealistic expectations about the kinds of candidates you’ll be handing over. 

We recommend coming to the kickoff meeting with a handful of prospective candidate profiles that you and your hiring manager can go through together. Make sure the profiles are different enough that your HM can point out the distinctive details about each that are most compelling for them. Putting the profiles right in front of them might help them articulate what they get excited by, and what makes them lose interest in a prospective candidate. What does an ideal profile look like

Gem’s Reviews feature allows recruiters and hiring managers to calibrate on profiles directly in-product, so recruiters can better understand what managers’ ideal candidate looks like. After downloading candidate profiles directly from wherever you source (or after pulling former silver medalists from your ATS through Gem’s Candidate Rediscovery), you can send a review request directly from Gem to your hiring manager’s email. ‍

add to sequence
candidate review request

The HM can flip through profiles and approve or reject as they go, leaving more detailed notes on particular prospects if they wish. Those notes are logged in the prospect’s Activity Feed in the Gem extension—so everyone else on the team can benefit from that context the next time they’re on that person’s profile. 

2. Start your candidate search in your own backyard

If there’s one thing we don’t have to impart to you, it’s the importance of speed in the hiring process—which ultimately impacts your relationship with your HM. Much of what makes up the “time-to-fill” metric for a given role is the work that needs to be done at the top of the funnel—before prospects even apply. And as repositories of all your past hiring efforts, your CRM and ATS are goldmines of talent that you’ve already vetted, had exchanges with—and in some cases, already put through the hiring process. 

Whether they rejected your offer or you didn’t move forward with them, that was then, and this is now. Talent has trajectories and learning curves, and right-fits don’t always happen the first time around. So begin building pipeline with the talent that’s there, and exponentially decrease your sourcing time. That talent might be the best fit for your currently-open roles.

With Gem’s Candidate Rediscovery, users can start building pipeline not only with all talent in their CRM, but also with all candidates in their ATS. Have an open req for an SDR manager? Filter down to SDRs who rejected your offers two years ago; they’ve probably been promoted since then. Looking for women who previously applied to be front-end software engineers at your company? Filter down to the ones who received terrific scores on their scorecards. With Candidate Rediscovery, you can filter by job, interview stage reached, interview score, and more. Once you’ve narrowed your search results, just add those candidates to a reengagement sequence and sit back while the replies come in.

candidate rediscovery

3. Educate hiring managers on your recruiting process, and set expectations with historical data

Since hiring managers aren’t hanging out at the top of the funnel with you, they may be wondering what’s taking so long to even see a qualified candidate while you’re out there sourcing talent, screening, testing, and shortlisting. So let them know what’s happening in the background as they’re going about their other day-to-day tasks.

Sketch out the end-to-end hiring process for them. Give them the details and pain points of each stage of the funnel so they can see the parts of the process that aren’t readily visible to them. This will emphasize the importance of planning and lead time, lend them awareness of the work that takes place on your end, and create awareness of all the dependencies (and interdependencies) along the way. 

A more specific way to educate HMs is to tell them what the role they’re currently hiring for has historically looked like. This is the surest way to set realistic expectations about the timeline for their open req. If your HM wants the role filled in three weeks but the average time to fill that position is 45 days, you’re more likely to help them see this with data. With Gem’s forecasting calculators, you can level-set expectations based on historical passthrough rates and time-in-stage—as well as on how many candidates are currently in your pipeline. 

Our Pipeline Forecasting calculator lets you input the number of hires you need for a role; Gem surfaces the number of candidates you’ll need at each stage of the process in order to make those hires. This helps you align on where to allocate resources for your current open req. How much work will have to go into the top of the funnel? What additional candidate experiences might you need to offer to improve your offer-to-hire ratio? And so on.

pipeline forecasting

4. Use a solution that allows hiring managers to be as hands-on as they want

Some HMs will naturally want to be more involved in the hiring process than others; and if your recruiting tech stack is set up in such a way that each manager can be as involved as they’d like, you’ll make everyone happy from an engagement perspective. Do your HMs want to dig in and source for their open roles themselves? If so, use a sourcing solution that displays the entirety of a prospect’s historic activity, so they don’t have to worry that they’re stepping on recruiters’ toes if there’s someone they want to reach out to.‍

activity feed

Do they want to craft their own outreach, have it appear to come from them, or get replies into their own inboxes so they can pick up the thread when a prospect replies as interested? If so, use a solution that allows for send-on-behalf-of (which more-than-doubles response rates, especially for high-level roles), or that allows recruiters and hiring managers to collaborate on outreach to whatever degree the HM wants to be involved. This way the entire team is discovering outreach best practices through collaboration. 

5. Build trust with data and insights

As is the case with so many relationships, trust can make or break the strength of this one… and thus the strength of your hires. One great way to practice trust—perhaps during the kickoff meeting—is to share sourcing insights with your HMs: 

  • What subject lines have led to exceptionally high open rates in previous searches like this one? 

  • If you’ve linked out to company content in past outreach (which you should be doing!), what content got the most clicks and was most compelling to talent? 

  • Which clicks led to interested replies

  • What sources have been most valuable to you in the past for roles like this? Indeed, what’s your best source-of-hire for this role or this department?‍

content stats

All of this data can be shared with your hiring manager early on in process to prepare them for what’s likely to come. Once the hiring process is in motion, you should be syncing with your HM regularly to keep them updated on what’s happening with the role. Gather data across your CRM and ATS to visualize the entire recruiting funnel, then slice-and-dice metrics to uncover insights on your recruiting strategy and process. 

With Gem’s Pipeline Analytics, recruiters and hiring managers can view their entire talent pipelines at a glance. By juxtaposing outreach data (send and reply rates) with your team’s ATS funnel stages, we give you a full-funnel view of your open role, from first outreach to offer-accept. Pipeline Analytics easily visualizes data for both recruiters and their HMs, so they can take those insights and apply them to hire faster, and smarter. 

pipeline analytics

6. Check in with your hiring managers often

If nothing more, these check-ins should be a time for you to update your hiring manager about the health of the pipeline for their open roles. How many candidates are in each stage of the process? Who are your top candidates, and where are they in process? Which candidates need immediate attention, and who on the hiring team needs to take action on them? In these routine syncs, fill hiring managers in on:

  • Sourcing insights: How much work is happening at the top of the funnel? Solutions with activity views should show the number of prospective candidates viewed on LinkedIn, the number of prospects added to your CRM or outreach solution, the number of first messages and follow-ups, the number of interested replies, and the number of candidates converted into process.

  • Passthrough rates: Where are the bottlenecks in your current funnel? How do passthrough rates look compared to those in other departments in your organization? How do they look when you break them down by gender, or by race/ethnicity, or by source, or by location? The more granular data you can get, the more likely you are to discover precisely where you need to place your attention, rather than calling “code red” and overhauling the entire process on a req whose problem you can’t put your finger on. 

  • Offer rejection reasons: Offer rejection reasons offer a goldmine of information about your candidate experience, your culture, your hiring process, and more. They also help you—alongside your HMs—make pivots in your process in real-time, enhancing the experience for those who are currently in your funnel.

 Gem’s Talent Pipeline organizes all your active ATS candidates into a single Kanban board, grouping them by stage-in-process and operating as an interactive and collaborative hiring dashboard. Users can quickly access key details of each candidate and take action on them: rejecting them with templated emails, messaging them directly from the view through email or text, or drag-and-dropping them into the next stage. All changes made in Talent Pipeline will automatically sync to their ATS. 

With a consolidated view of all active candidates, Talent Pipeline equips recruiters to come prepared for their weekly syncs, help HMs visualize their pipelines, quickly flag who needs immediate attention, hold the hiring team accountable on the spot, and manage candidates—all from one view. Talent Pipeline also automates report sharing: users can customize reports that send at a cadence of their choice, keeping HMs up-to-date.

talent pipeline

‍So there you have it: 6 ways to more strategically collaborate with your hiring managers. If you’re not feeling great about your current relationships with your HMs, we recommend reaching out to them this week to put some time on the calendar to chat. And if you’d like more detail on any of the above—alongside best practices from talent acquisition professionals at Course Hero, Credera, FullStory, Grammarly, Roblox, and Webflow—check out our more detailed collaboration resource here. After all, your hiring depends upon it.


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