Recruiters and Hiring Managers: Building Great Relationships

As a recruiter, it’s tempting to focus all of your energy on communicating with your candidates. But it’s important to remember that as the go-between for job seekers and your organization, you actually have two clients to serve: the candidate and the hiring manager. Securing the best candidates as quickly and as smoothly as possible starts with building a great relationship with your hiring manager. Here’s how.

Know the Role Inside Out

Before you get started with the actual recruiting process, set both yourself and the hiring manager up for success. A surefire way to do that is to become a subject matter expert on the role you’re trying to fill. This means spending a little more time upfront on the planning and preparing stages to save yourself some headaches later on. It’s worth the effort.

Why the hiring manager should be the first interview

This is the best way to learn about the vacant role and help you develop a great rapport with the hiring manager. Ask them about the desired skills and experience they want from their ideal candidate and what you should know about their team culture. Before diving into those details, be sure to ask what you can do to make them successful in hiring their newest employee. This lets them know you’re in their corner from day one.

Do your research

Learn everything you can about the role you’re filling and the specific industry it’s in. Review competitor job descriptions, compensation statistics and recent trade news articles to identify broader industry trends that fill in any gaps unconsciously left out by the hiring manager. This will help you to overdeliver by giving them what they didn’t even know they needed.

Create an accurate job description

The more detailed and precise you are when nailing down the job responsibilities and candidate requirements, the more likely you are to attract the right candidates. This works double-duty by providing a realistic representation of the role, while weeding out unqualified applicants, saving valuable time.

Set and Manage Expectations

Finding the best candidate for the job is always the goal, but it’s a lot easier when the hiring manager sees you as a trusted partner in the recruitment process. By sitting down together and clearly setting expectations (preferably in writing) you can both be on the same page about how you’ll achieve your mutual goal. And by taking the initiative to set the terms of your working relationship, the hiring manager will know that you’re both professional and prepared.

Here are some aspects of the recruiting process worth agreeing on before starting your search:

  • Quantity of candidates
  • Range of acceptable qualifications
  • Interview strategy
  • Timeline to fill the position
  • Contingency plans


It’s been said that anything worth doing is worth overdoing. Yet so often when it comes to communication, not enough information is shared. If you don’t want the effort you put into building a strong relationship with your hiring manager to be in vain, it’s best to communicate with them early and often.

That said, avoid sending frequent updates for the sake of it. Instead, share useful information in a a timely fashion. If you’re using an applicant tracking system like Recruit Right, much of the communication happens directly within the software, avoiding inbox clutter. Consider what your hiring manager will appreciate knowing throughout your search for the ideal candidate.

Here are some valuable pieces of information you can share:

  • Where you posted the role and when. This is especially important if you used an additional website or method not previously discussed. In this case, be sure to include your rationale for doing so.

More than 95% of Fortune 500 companies use an applicant tracking system to streamline the recruiting process. But plenty of smaller employers have embraced the tool, too.

  • What recruitment technology you plan to use. Software like an applicant tracking system from Recruit Right can automatically screen applicants to save you time.
  • Personal recommendations. If your recruitment strategies aren’t panning out, be transparent and let the hiring manager know – just make sure to suggest a solution, so the burden of solving the problem doesn’t fall to them.
  • Status updates. Schedule regular planning meetings every week to check-in. It’s a great opportunity to review the latest candidates. Ask questions about those they weren’t interested in, so you can avoid similar applicants going forward.

There’s a Better Way to Recruit.