5 Ways to Improve Virtual Collaboration Between Recruiters and Hiring Managers

Jen Nyman

Recruiters know how important it is to build strong relationships with candidates, especially now in an increasingly virtual world. But another important remote relationship can't be overlooked—the one between recruiters and hiring managers. While the two groups are ultimately on the same team, it can sometimes feel like they’re working against each other (and that was before the pandemic created physical barriers between colleagues).
 

Despite different day-to-day priorities, hiring managers and recruiters have the same goal: hiring the right people for the job and building phenomenal teams to meet company needs. To facilitate a better working relationship, recruiters need to start thinking of hiring managers as customers. This means understanding their needs, anticipating potential issues, and personalizing their approach depending on each hiring manager's preferences. 
 

Here are 5 tips to bridge communication gaps and support talent acquisition efficiency remotely and when in-person collaboration resumes:
 

1. Start off on the right foot with a killer intake meeting

It’s not a secret that the first step in the recruitment process is an intake meeting between recruiters and hiring managers. The purpose is to ensure both groups understand each other’s goals and expectations upfront. But it’s easy to overlook this step when you’re rushing to fill a job quickly or if you’ve worked on this specific job in the past. Performing a thorough job intake, however, ultimately saves time down the line by avoiding end-goal discrepancies and subsequent back and forths with hiring managers. 
 

Even if you’re not meeting in-person, a virtual sync on the subject can be just as effective. Prior to the meeting, research the position so you’re able to discuss different scenarios and ask targeted questions, including:
 

  • Who is an ideal candidate for this position?

  • What are the educational requirements?

  • How many years of experience is required?

  • What is a “must” versus a “nice to have''? 

  • What is the desired timeline to make a hire?

  • What are the steps in the interview process?

  • What type of companies would you like to pull talent from?

  • How do you prefer I communicate with you? 
     

The more direct you can be in your questioning, the better. Ambiguity opens the door to challenges later in the process so don’t be afraid to ask additional questions if you need more clarification. 
 

2. Have a feedback mechanism in place

Gathering feedback from hiring managers is challenging under normal circumstances—let alone as everyone adjusts to an exclusively remote working environment. Gone are the days when you could just walk up to a manager in the office and ask them how an interview went. Instead, you need a feedback mechanism in place to streamline this process. 
 

It’s important to have one central place to compile feedback and interview responses. One such tool is an interview scorecard. An interview scorecard is used to standardize the evaluation of candidates during the interview process based on an established rating system. Examples include Likert scales (used to measure attitude and opinions), open ended questions, and numerical rating scales.
 

3. Use technology to automate and help communicate

Many stages in the hiring process can be automated to give recruiters more time to focus on areas that require a personalized touch. Look into a “smart” interview scheduling tool that allows hiring managers to share their calendars and availability. Interview scheduling automation saves time and streamlines the interview process, which creates a better experience for everyone involved—candidates included. 
 

HR technology can also solve communication gaps between recruiters and hiring managers with 2-way communication. Many CRMs or ATSs support this functionality and prove invaluable for keeping resume and interview feedback in one centralized location for quick reference.
 

4. Schedule regular check-ins

Frequent communication with hiring managers is a must. To avoid lags in information sharing, set up weekly or bi-weekly check-ins. You can use this time to update them on sourcing progress and touch base on candidates who are currently in the interview process. 
 

Standing meetings can also be used to redefine requirements and processes, as necessary. Especially now, adaptability is crucial as business needs evolve. Being able to pivot as a team can only happen with consistent, transparent conversation—even if it is over Zoom. 
 

5. Create an employee manifesto

What are the attributes of a best-fit employee at your company? Together with core values, an employee manifesto outlines an ideal candidate persona for your company as a whole, and helps ensure culture fit. 
 

Survey hiring managers with emails or create a virtual focus group to make sure the team is aligned on what is most important. If you get hiring managers involved from the beginning, they’ll be more invested in your process because they helped create it.
 

With the right communication practices, tools, and technology, recruiters should start to see noticeable improvements in their relationships with hiring managers regardless of prolonged social distancing measures. The end result? Increased quality of hire and decreased time to hire—the ultimate goal of both parties so everybody wins.
 


Learn more about improving communication in the workplace