We have all heard stories and seen memes about the stereotypical hiring managers. Most recruiters can relate to them at one point in their career.
Although they initially bring a smile to our faces, being in those situations in real life is not fun. These stories and memes are relatable because they cover a range of challenges recruiters and TAs face with hiring managers – not understanding the expectations of the role, having unrealistic requirements (hey, purple squirrel-looking unicorns 👋), not finding time for interviews in their schedules, not being prepared and present or not giving objective and timely feedback, to name a few…
Feel your stress levels rising? Don’t worry – these challenges can be overcome using the right tools and techniques, which help give hiring managers a better understanding of the scope and their impact on the recruitment process.
Good hiring manager involvement is not only a nice to have, it’s a must-have. Collaboration between recruiters and hiring managers is the #1 indicator of high-performance talent acquisition.
Collaboration between recruiters and hiring managers leads to:
- Higher new-hire productivity
- Lower employee turnover rates
- Decreased time-to-hire
- Positive candidate experience
- Stronger employer brand
- Greater visibility of the TA role in your business
At our recent webinar “How to engage hiring managers and improve collaboration?”, we invited Jo Speed, TA Manager at Waitrose Retail, and Laura Celentano, CX Operations Manager at tails.com, to share their tips and hacks from a TA and hiring manager view, respectively. Here’s a written summary of the 60-minute webinar.
Tips for engaging Hiring Managers from a Talent Acquisition Manager
About Josephine Speed
Jo has worked for the John Lewis Partnership for 13 years. She’s been a part of the People team and has always had a close relationship with the TA team. She became an official part of the TA team 5 years ago. Before that, she managed a team of Head Office Recruiters and moved on to the Volume team, which handles retail recruitments, last year.
4 tips from a TA manager to improve collaboration with hiring managers
- Have a clear and concise hiring process – for the retail sector, speed is key. Therefore, the recruitment process needs to run smoothly and swiftly. For that, there are resources accessible 24/7 at Waitrose: Recruitment Guide for Hiring Managers Peak 2023, Hiring Manager Toolkit, but also all TA contacts and organisational charts so that everyone knows where and who to turn to with additional questions.Additionally, they hold webinars and Q&A sessions. This helps ensure they are as accessible as possible for the hiring managers. Teams of recruiters take care of different parts or regions of the business. Having one person/team leader as a point of contact increases the trust between recruiters and HMs.
- Involve HMs in screening and sourcing candidates – ask them to help with the recruitment process: record vlogs about the roles they are hiring for, ask them to write LinkedIn posts and “like and share” the posts the TA team has put up. They also encourage retail partners to apply for roles if they see anyone providing outstanding customer service when they are out and about.At Waitrose Retail, they provide a list of recommendations for screening. They also encourage HMs to look in their ATS to see who has applied.This is possible thanks to different user roles, which limit access to certain features and information.
The limitations are good because a) the hiring manager does not have to worry about messing anything up as the ATS is likely not their everyday tool, and b) this helps make better-informed and more inclusive decisions.
- Understand that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Tailor interactions to the role you are recruiting for, and get to know your HMs and how they work. If possible, spend time with their team and get to know that team in more detail. And give and ask for feedback from the HM throughout the hiring process. This way, you know if you’re on track or not.
- Communicate at all times! From the start of the process, an HM should know that you are investing in filling the role. You’re the expert – provide local and regional market insight, ask questions about the role, and share stats and figures relating to the role. Keep hiring managers updated on any holdups or hard-to-fill roles. Like selling the role to the candidate, sell them the candidates you have sourced. Pick up the phone instead of sending an email if you can. It helps make communication even more efficient.
Benefits of good collaboration with hiring managers in the retail sector
In Waitrose’s case, there are two peaks with the highest potential to win or lose – Black Friday and Christmas. Around that time, they host webinars and Q&A sessions for hiring managers. They organise them through the consultants who share the information with the hiring managers— of course, all the information is then added to the toolkit.
Good collaboration with hiring managers in the retail sector helps achieve the following:
- Higher retention rate
- Larger, higher quality talent pool
- Cost savings
- Reducing unconscious bias
- Sharing expertise and upskilling HMs
Key differences in hiring for head office roles vs high-volume roles in retail
In the head office, more niche roles require a lot more input and insights from the hiring managers. Time-to-hire is much higher than for the retail volume roles. The office roles require active sourcing, e.g., on LinkedIn.
In the Volume roles, however, there are 19,000 applications for peak roles. That is why it requires slick and quality processes for the candidates and hiring managers. That might require some handholding to ensure no delays or roadblocks.
After the interviews, the biggest bottleneck in high-volume recruitment is putting the outcome/feedback into the ATS. Training hiring managers is vital – you can send out offers faster and not lose candidates because of not being reactive enough.
To bring along the hiring manager for the ATS journey, even when they are resistant, you need to sell the benefits of them getting involved from the beginning. Often, they see recruiting as an additional task—provide clear and simple process notes for them to follow to reduce their load. Walk them through the process or do online training. Show how the system works and get them excited about the new hires.
It’s a two-way street. They have to feel comfortable approaching the TA team as well.
Improving collaboration in recruiting from a hiring manager’s perspective
About Laura Celentano and tails.com
Tails.com is a dog food subscription company with tailored recipes & meals delivered to your doorstep. It is backed by Purina, and it serves customers in the UK and Europe. They also have products available in supermarkets.
Laura is the CX Operations Manager at tails.com. Her main focus areas are customer experience, continuous improvement and people management & development. She currently manages two team leaders.
The role of a hiring manager in the recruitment process
Tails.com mainly hires for head office roles; customer experience specialists (e.g., call centre roles) have more turnover and hire approximately ten specialists a year.
Laura’s favourite part of being a hiring manager is bringing new talent into the team.
Being a hiring manager can positively affect and impact people’s lives and careers. Getting the right people who fit or add to the culture is important. Some hiring managers don’t realise that being a part of the hiring process is among their responsibilities.
As a hiring manager, you must understand that you’re recruiting because you need someone in that role. There are challenges in that area, and you need a new person to overcome them – that means prioritising it and investing time in finding the right person.
Your TA or recruitment team will help you find the right channels and sources and set expectations for the role.
For Laura and Tails.com, the best sources for candidates are LinkedIn, an organic career page, and a well-working referral program. Building a career page that matches the company culture is very important.
Additionally, it is important to get the salary right – it can become a stopper for getting the right candidates. Discuss the budget for the role with the TA people – do regular benchmarking to keep up with the market changes.
Becoming a better hiring manager
Prioritising recruitment was difficult for Laura in the beginning because she didn’t understand the hiring process. She didn’t know much about the interviewing process or which questions to ask. Colleagues with experience helped a lot. She used every opportunity to shadow them during interviews and always asked questions. This helps hiring managers understand how long the process can take and how strategic it is.
Tips on helping hiring managers improve in recruitment
- Develop team leaders into hiring managers
- Treat the candidates like you were the ones going through the recruitment process. How can you make it better? And if you have had a good experience, how can you replicate that?
- Use software or ATS to streamline the process. Anyone can move candidates from one stage to another – that’s an admin or software task.
- Leverage the experience and expertise of the in-house TAMs.
Using ATS to streamline the hiring process
ATS helps get a clear and visual overview of the recruitment process. You can conveniently send automated, on-brand emails and help introduce the culture.
Automated Scorecards speed up the feedback loop, and you can add in your interview questions.
At Tails.com, they have a relatively long and thorough recruitment process. They prioritise introducing the candidates to the people they will talk to and potentially work with.
The recruitment process at tails.com
- Initial call by TA – to talk through the CV and questions about motivation
- Interview with Team leader (manager) – to go over the skills required for the role
- Interview with the hiring manager – to evaluate team fit and see whether something was missed
+ last questions from the candidate
Hiring manager learnings from recruiters
- Determine the core or key responsibilities and not waste any time; be clear and concise.
- TAs know the best channels to post job ads on; trust them.
- Including the salary range helps qualify candidates faster.
- Focus on the brief and the job description of the role. You have to be happy with it.
- Prioritise your time when the job post is live.
- Take the time to give constructive feedback (even when you hire them) – it might be uncomfortable, but it helps and adds to the employer brand.
Engage hiring managers with Teamdash
Teamdash recruitment software offers various solutions for engaging hiring managers in the recruitment process:
- User roles – give access to the hiring managers as limited users
- Recruitment Performance tab for sharing insights
- Ping hiring managers for feedback
- (Luxury) Interview Scheduler
Explore these options and more, and see them in practice – book a demo with one of our Recruitment Flow and Automation Experts.