8 Talent hunters share how they build good relationships with Hiring Managers

A lot can go wrong when there is a misalignment between a TA manager and our Hiring Manager.
Candidates could be at real risk of disappearing into a black hole or be enduring a poor candidate experience. Or we could end up hiring someone who does not work well within the environment or does not have the right skills for the job.
So how can we minimise these from happening? We ask some of your peers to find out what they are doing to bolster the relationships between them and their Hiring Managers.
What do you think? Use the comment section to share your thoughts!

Rob Papworth
Group Manager, Talent at MMG Limited

For me, there is an ‘artistic’ side to recruitment delivery and it is linked to value creation. What you do to create value will depend upon what you see as the gap or issue.
As an example, you may be dealing with a Hiring Manager who skills or activities in team communication are below what they should be. Instead of ignoring this and simply filling the job, you could discreetly use the recruitment activity as a platform to improve that.
The Recruiter could guide the Manager to give regular verbal and written updates to their team regarding the status of recruitment activity. In some cases, you could pull team members into the recruitment process and open a team dialogue with the Manager around that.
All these subtle but important steps may add up to be the catalyst for an improvement in the way the Manager (and team) communicates. So you still fill the job, but along the way you have left that area better than when you started.

Sandra Touma
ANZ & SEAA Talent Acquisition Manager at Unilever

Like every relationship, communication is key! Ask great questions and provide well thought through responses. Be honest and stay humble. It’s okay to not know the answer as you are both trying to find a solution.
Truly listen to what is being said, make notes and challenge any data, facts, evidence and insight that you may need.
Follow up and keep your word. By establishing your rapport as the subject matter expert, the relationship will organically grow, especially the more you interact with the HM.
Finally – be you, showcase your personality and remember this is a partnership with a common goal!

Sarah Blanchard
Head of Talent Management at Australian Unity

When commencing a new relationship with a Hiring Manager, take time during the first meeting to outline how you see both parties’ roles and responsibilities throughout the recruitment cycle, so the manager is clear on what is required of her/him with diaries cleared in advance, for all stakeholders to avoid any lull in momentum in today’s competitive market.
You should also never assume that the Hiring Manager knows exactly what she/he is doing when it comes to both interviewing and selling the company value proposition.
Empower them with the tools to do so in line with the candidates anticipated levers, especially when you have put significant effort into finding the dream shortlist. Ensure the manager is able to articulate their personal value proposition as a leader as often this will be what makes the different to the overall engagement of the new hire.
Once the candidate has accepted, take the time to debrief with the manager, remembering there’s always room for improvement and it’s a great way to obtain just in time feedback!

Denise Pereira
Talent Acquisition Sourcing Specialist at Coles 

Understanding who your HM is as a person will help you identify their pain points and gauge who from your team is best placed/suited to work with them. This will enable you to effectively build confidence and trust.
In addition to that, I personally try and peel back the layers and help them understand how a collaborative partnership would benefit them and the company as a whole. With the HM onside with you on the recruitment journey, this could provide an even better candidate experience during the hiring process.

Alana Bennett
Head of Employee Experience at oOh! Media

It’s all centred on trust and respect.
Understanding who they are and what they’re trying to achieve is critical to building a strong working relationship. Knowing what’s important to them allows you to manage expectations and ultimately deliver on what you’re trying to achieve with them.
In an internal recruitment function, you operate as true business partners and the best results often happen when we work proactively and collaboratively.

Mark Mansour
National Talent Acquisition Lead at Servian

Stay in touch. Have regular meetings. Take notes. Send summary emails to them to agree on. Follow up.
Why? Switching from agency to internal, the main thing you notice is that there is no place to hide. Make sure you have an agenda to work to. You don’t need one-hour meetings, you can get these done in 30. Be specific. Don’t just go to meetings with problems, have ideas and solutions, and ask them for their ideas and support.

Tim Stevens
Talent Acquisition Adviser at Jemena

If it’s a new Hiring Manager, my advice would be to seek to understand their working style and preferred method of communication.
This works for me as I can adapt my approach and plan our working interactions accordingly.
If I get this right in the beginning, it prevents miscommunications that can lead to frustration. Not a good way to start a working relationship.

Cathy Riach
Employment Brand & Partnership Manager at BAE Systems Australia

My number one piece of advice is to get the assignment off to a good start with clear expectations of timeframes, responsibilities and level of service.
Don’t just talk about it though – write it down. Capture those commitments as part of your vacancy brief document and share them back with the Hiring Manager. Important that they feel (and realise!) that they are an equal partner in the process and that they have a role to play as you do.
Also very important to be realistic about those commitments – don’t over promise and leave yourself without enough time or resource to meet the plan.
Above all, do what you said you were going to do and expect them to do the same.  If things haven’t gone to plan and you can’t meet your commitments – let them know well in advance and re-set expectations.

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