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Recruiting Hiring Managers as Partners

By Jay Barnett, Founder and Chief Technology Officer
With Tom Brennan, Senior Writer

Part 1 – Helping Hiring Managers Market Their Open Positions

Recruiters and human resources professionals may “own” the hiring process, but the hiring manager’s name should also appear on the deed. After all, hiring managers (HMs) have an even greater interest in finding talent that will help them achieve their goals — if Henrietta Hiring Manager is tasked with an objective of the highest priority, who does she want on her team: James Bond or Austin Powers? In this 3-part series I’ll explore the hiring manager’s role in recruitment, which should be that of an actively engaged partner. Let me point out quickly that the recruiter would still do the heavy lifting, but the HM has key insights to contribute.

Of course, if the HM is just looking for any warm body to “fill a seat,” there’s no need to read further. But the more important it is to hire exactly the right person, the more important it is for the HM and recruiter to partner on a focused and considered recruitment effort. As we say at Decision Toolbox, “Design what you want or deal with what you get.”

Marketing in Recruiting?

A key area that deserves engaged consideration is marketing the opportunity to attract the right candidates. It’s always easy to attract people who are actively looking — like drawing sci-fi geeks to ComiCon. But why limit it to active candidates? GREAT candidates are attracted in two ways: effective marketing, and a fluke of time and place. Do you really want to leave this important effort to a fluke?

Marketing in recruiting may be a new concept to HMs, so recruiters should brainstorm with the HM for an hour at the outset (perhaps the most crucial hour of all) to gain alignment. At DT we don’t believe you should even start sourcing until you have thoroughly explored both the obvious topic — identifying the ideal candidate to target — and the less obvious but equally important topic — how to attract that ideal person. Don’t worry about active candidates; instead, focus on what will tempt passive candidates to leave their current job in order to take this open position.

Dig Deep

Position the company as an employer of choice, but don’t stop there; your ideal candidate may already be working for a growing industry leader with great culture. You’ll need to dig deeper to define what makes this position an opportunity of choice specifically for the person you want in the role. Perhaps it is the impact a candidate can make, or what the candidate might learn (I’ll explore that intriguing topic in the third post of this series) or the career options open to the candidate. And think retention — what will set the stage so that this new employee is still around when iPhone 43 is released?

Find the Pain

What pain are potential candidates experiencing in their current jobs? Though market intel, the HM may know that Account Executives at a competitor are micro-managed — can you offer them greater autonomy? Be exhaustive in teasing out the various selling points, but keep it real. Candidates know fluff (“A keg in every cubicle!”) when they see it. And try turning requirements into opportunities: if you need someone with business savvy and initiative, present the opening as an opportunity for candidates to leverage their entrepreneurial spirit.

Does it work?

Decision Toolbox has been using a marketing approach in recruiting for 20 years and it has helped us achieve a 95+% client satisfaction rating and enables us to offer a 12-month candidate warranty.

Next up: Part 2 – Helping Hiring Managers Flex on Requirements

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3 Responses to “Recruiting Hiring Managers as Partners”

  1. March 11, 2013 at 6:20 am, Recruiting Hiring Managers as Partners Part 2 | Blog | Decision Toolbox said:

    […] my last post was persuasive, by now you’ve convinced your HMs not only to partner with you but also to […]


  2. April 01, 2013 at 6:19 am, Shaping Perception in the Art of Communication, Part 2 | Blog | Decision Toolbox said:

    […] HMs engage as active partners in the recruitment process. DT Founder Jay Barnett recently posted a series on the importance of recruiting hiring managers as partners, and F.I.R.E is a great guideline for […]


  3. May 29, 2013 at 5:51 am, Quality, Excellence, Passion . . . You CAN Have it All | Blog | Decision Toolbox said:

    […] relationship with hiring managers — our ultimate clients. For more great reasons, see the blog series “Recruiting Hiring Managers as Partners” by DT Founder and CTO Jay […]


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  • " (DT Recruiter) did an excellent job. Kept me informed of process and candidates. I would absolutely want to work with her again. "
  • " After spending over a year trying to fill this position, 2 offers extended, hundreds of candidates reviewed, etc...I was extremely impressed with your ability to zero in on exactly what I was looking for! The quality of the candidates was exceptional and I couldn't be more pleased with the final outcome! "
  • " (DT Recruiter) is great! It's eminently clear that she's invested in the best possible outcome for both clients and candidates -- she was always available for updates, candid thoughts and juggles to the schedule. She made a fairly onerous task manageable and (dare I say this out loud?) fun! You have a treasure on your staff and I look forward to working with her again! "
  • " (The DT Recruiter) was terrific. She dealt with some of the internal struggles our company is having in terms of "what type of candidate do we really need vs. what we thought we needed." She helped management think through the type of candidate we were looking for and was a huge asset to us. I also liked the web based system that DT has set up. I felt informed throughout the process. "
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