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The difference between a hiring manager and a recruiter

At a lot of organizations, usually smaller organizations, a hiring manager is like a one-stop shop. This person is constantly busy, they’ve got a ton of pain points, and they feel something right now that the organization has a need for. This is somebody who typically runs a search by themselves—all the resume screening themselves, all the scheduling, assessing the candidate. It can be really draining for this person and a bear to deal with.

Another way companies, possibly ones that are a bit larger, run their hiring process is they bring in somebody, like me, a recruiter, who’s going to be an expert on providing rigor, on providing process, and making sure there’s some guardrails to the hiring process.

Hiring manager vs. recruiter

The difference is that when you’ve got a hiring manager who’s in charge of candidate search, that person’s really going be centered on, “what do I feel in terms of pain right now? What can I solve today?”

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Hiring manager risks

There are some risks associated with hiring manager. With a hiring manager, you have someone who is really in need, the business is hurting, and so they may center experience and background that’s one-to-one translatable over a candidate who has high potential, somebody who could grow.

I’ve worked with hiring managers in the past that tend to think about, “what is the exact thing this person’s done that’s like what we do here?” rather than, “what do they have, what can we train them on, and what are sort of the bedrock skills that they have that could have this person crushing the job in six months.

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When you have a search that’s run with a recruiter, what you get is a little bit more of that process and on centering candidate experience. For example, I always have to think about, does everybody who interviews at this organization get the exact same thing from us? Is it all fair? Is it giving us a good assessment of candidates? Are we getting a sense of the whole person, not just can they do this job but are they a cultural fit? Are they a team fit? Do they have that potential to grow?

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Recruiter/hiring manager collaboration

When I’m working with a hiring manager I sit down early on to map out:

  • What does this person need to know how to do in order to succeed in this position?
  • What are the key skills required for this position
  • What can/can’t we train?
  • What does success look like three months down the road?
  • What would this person be doing that would make me say they’re crushing it in this job and I’m really happy with my hire?
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1. Transparency

2. Trust

3. Communication

If you’ve got all three of those things then you’re probably going to have a pretty good search, where the recruiter and hiring manager are communicating about the same things.

Trust is really important in the search and you’ve got to build it early. If you’re the hiring manager or the recruiter, you have to understand that the person on the other end of that relationship also has the same aim—the right person in the right seat at the right time.

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Thad is a senior marketing director at PI.

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