Why Does Everyone Think They Can Recruit Better?

William shares a recent discussion with the hiring manager about the true role of the recruiter.

I looked up to see my clearly disturbed star Recruiter standing in the doorway of my office. I asked him what the matter was. An emotional recount of a situation revealed that he had, for the fourth time in as many weeks, been yelled at and had his very competence publicly questioned by two hiring managers from the same team. In one instance, he had been admonished for suggesting that forwarding all 100+ applicants for a position was not an efficient way to partner. In another instance, he had been sternly admonished by the other hiring manager for not forwarding an applicant that did not meet the minimum qualifications for the role. The role called for specific medical coding certification and terminology. The applicant had no certifications, no formal education beyond high school, and 3 months as a census taker. On this day, during another exchange, the recruiter was yelled at for pushing back on one of the hiring managers insisting that a job be posted just long enough for an internal applicant who just happened to be on FMLA to apply before taking it down. This encounter ended with the hiring manager yelling at the Recruiter, “I’m sick of having to do your job for you.”


I couldn’t take it anymore. I called the most recently offending hiring manager, and it was on! At the crescendo of the verbal scuffle, I said to the hiring manager, “it is no more acceptable for you to mandate how my Recruiter perform his job than it would be for him to tell you to change your therapeutic approach to a patient.” Not only did the hiring manager look at me as if he had never thought of it that way before, but he also said it out loud. Right before I could have sworn, I heard a celestial choir sing out. And so, began a more reasonable discussion about the role of a Recruiter.

Determining the relationship between Recruiter and Hiring Manager

  • The Recruiter’s role has long since shifted from being an order taker for the hiring manager to presenting information as an Advisor and Consultant. They are not there to serve the hiring manager but to collaborate and partner with the hiring manager. Both are working toward the same goal It’s OK for the Recruiter to advise “you don’t need these 100 things in a candidate; you only need these five things.”
  • Communication is key. Some hiring managers will insist on circumventing the system or talking about a position every day—even when a less frequent cadence is necessary. It’s for the Recruiter to understand and drive how much and what type of communication is needed. Try committing to windows of time for reviewing resumes and conducting interviews, and follow-up with the hiring managers. Neither the Recruiters nor the hiring manager should ever leave each other guessing or wondering what each other is up to. Don’t leave room for the imagination to create the story.
  • Own your profession, unapologetically, especially if you are a Recruiter. Recruiting is not a job it’s a profession that requires skill, strategic agility, and a level of technical expertise which – contrary to popular belief – is not intrinsic for everyone.

[It’s not just about the candidate, how’s your hiring manager experience?]

In conclusion. A mutual respect for one’s professional expertise is at the root of any good organizational partnership. No one should be made to feel subjugated in any given partnership by way of their profession; particularly the partner in the end-to-end process of acquiring top talent for your organization.

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William Wiggins

William has held consulting and strategic HR roles at Mercer Human Resources Consulting, Kaiser Permanente, and Williams-Sonoma. He is an industry leader when it comes to building strong collaborative HR partnerships and leadership teams that focus on staff engagement, retention, career development, and staff recognition programs. William’s training curriculum includes Crucial Conversations, Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace, and EEOC 101.

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