We all know chemistry is essential for a good relationship, right? So imagine how great it would be if hiring managers could find their perfect recruiters on an eHarmony-type site. Or if recruiters could pick the hiring managers they work with based on personality matches.
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In reality, the recruiting/hiring manager match is more like an arranged marriage in most companies: two strangers expected to collaborate on a tough mission of talent acquisition – and expected to get it done quickly.
But it doesn't have to be all bad. Recruiters and hiring managers can take steps to build a partnership and unite around a common goal. Here are three tips to help recruiters and hiring managers get that chemistry going:
1. Respect the Professional
Respect is the foundation for nearly everything good in a working relationship. It's something that grows with time, but you can get a partnership off to a strong start by showing baseline respect and deference for the other person's professional expertise and knowledge.
That means turning off your smartphone and closing your laptop to give your partner your full attention. In discussions, show that you'd like to learn from that person – they have valuable expertise and experience, after all. Respond quickly to voicemail and email messages, even if just to acknowledge you've received the message and need some time for a measured reply. This takes some of the pressure off proving yourselves to each other so you can focus on building the partnership instead.
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2. Communicate – a Lot
Part of eHarmony's marketing strategy is to offer "free" communication weekends, which shows just how valuable communication is in relationship-building.
In business, communication usually costs time rather than money, but it's time well spent. Find out what things are priorities for your partner at work – and make time to learn more about their priorities and interests outside of work, too. If you use a video interviewing solution for hiring, get into the habit of communicating by video with your recruiter or hiring manager partner. It's amazing how much more quickly you can connect with someone when you make eye contact and have the benefit of facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. It's a very efficient technology for communicating and developing understanding.
3. Set Complementary Goals Together
As you get to know each other, you may find your priorities are not the same. Still, you have a common end goal: Make a great hire as quickly as possible. Talk these differences over so you each understand each other's perspectives. Then, find ways to set complementary goals so that each party is able to do their job their way while still working in alignment.
Consider a Service Level Agreement
Some recruiter-hiring manager partners find it helpful to set service level agreements (SLAs) that clearly define goals and responsibilities for each party and tie them to overall organizational goals.
SLAs can be effective when both partners are invested in them. For example, the hiring manager may be asked to provide feedback on candidates within a certain time period, which can reduce delays and meet organizational goals for filling open positions in certain time frames. Meeting this goal may require a change in behavior on the part of the hiring manager, but they may be motivated to do it if they know their recruiting partner has also agreed to deliver a slate of more highly qualified candidates. A change in habit can be less painful if you know your partner is doing it, too. The key is to create SLAs that make sense to both partners.
If they follow these steps, the chemistry between a recruiter and hiring manager will have every opportunity to grow in a positive way. Forge trust and a strong bond, and soon you'll be sharing in greater hiring success.
Michele Ellner is the director of marketing for Montage.