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For human resources recruiting consultant Antoinette Perkins, working with hiring managers to fill a job can turn into a frustrating, emotional roller coaster.
One hiring manager would praise Perkins for helping to fill 10 open slots with stellar technology candidates. But that same person’s colleague would gripe that Perkins wasn’t doing enough to fill a job quickly.
“Generally there is a disconnect between the recruiter and hiring manager due to unmet expectations and what to expect in terms of timelines,” said Perkins, who is based in Atlanta and specializes in helping high-tech firms get new hires. “It’s like you are on a hamster wheel.”
A new study from iCIMS Inc., a recruitment software company based in Matawan, N.J., shows that the conflict Perkins sees between recruiters and hiring managers is common. However, human resources experts say there are steps that can be taken to bridge the divide, including using software and video to ease the hiring process and getting higher-ups to referee the two sides.
“We decided to research the relationship between hiring managers and recruiters because we know that it can be a tension point and sometimes impedes the success of an otherwise good recruiting and talent acquisition program,” said Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer at iCIMS.
Hiring Managers Are from Venus and Recruiters from Mars
The iCIMS Hire Expectations Institute analyzed 400,000 jobs and surveyed 375 hiring managers and 600 recruiters to see where hiring bottlenecks occur and how to prevent them.
The results of the survey show that the way recruiters and hiring managers perceive each other is so far apart that hiring managers may as well be from Venus and recruiters from Mars.
According to the survey:
80 percent of recruiters said they have a high understanding of jobs they recruit for, but 61 percent of hiring managers said recruiters don’t have a clue.
77 percent of hiring managers say recruiters don’t adequately screen candidates.
54 percent of recruiters complain that hiring managers expect them to find candidates for hard-to-fill jobs more quickly than is possible.
There are ways to bring the two sides together, experts said.
David Lewis is president and CEO of OperationsInc, a Norwalk, Conn.-based human resources outsourcing and consulting firm. Lewis, who has spoken at previous SHRM Annual Conferences, also worked as a recruiter and hiring manager.
Lewis suggested that a company’s chief operating officer sit down with hiring managers and recruiters and mediate any conflicts between the two sides during the job candidate search and hire process.
Human resources professionals, who often act as recruiters, can also do a better job of explaining the realities of the job market so hiring managers have a better grasp of how long it will take to fill a position, he said. According to the SHRM Customized Benchmarking Service report, the average time to fill job vacancies was 34 days.
Lewis said some hiring managers expect candidates to be lining up at the door because the recession is still easing, but that is not necessarily so.
And recruiters should work closely with hiring managers to anticipate future hiring needs so that recruiters can keep candidates in the pipeline, he said.
“From the hiring manager perspective, they need to make it clear to human resources how their organization works and how the requirements for positions have been achieved so that human resources knows what is a requirement and what they can do without,” Lewis explained.
Technology Can Help
Vitale at iCIMS said her company offers tools to help recruiters and hiring managers communicate and not frustrate each other.
Video screening allows candidates to submit short, pre-recorded videos to give employers a sneak peek at the candidate before interviews. Hiring managers can review candidates and provide feedback before moving further in the hiring process, she said.
Social Media Use on the Rise
Meanwhile, other recruiters are turning to social media to keep hiring managers happy by keeping potential job candidates in the pipeline, according to a survey released in October by Jobvite, a San Mateo, Calif., company that offers recruiting platforms for the social Web.
According to Jobvite's survey of more than 1,800 recruiting and human resources professionals, 73 percent of recruiters planned to increase their investment in social media recruiting through LinkedIn and other sites. And 55 percent of recruiters use or plan to use mobile career sites, which have already proven to be beneficial in improving time-to-hire and the quality of candidates.
“Companies today are fighting in a war for the best talent, which is forcing recruiters to seek new avenues for engagement,” said Dan Finnigan, CEO of Jobvite.
Helping hiring managers and recruiters work more closely can be magic for a company, enabling both sides to get the best candidates for positions. Just ask Perkins, who has been a recruiter for more than a decade.
“When it’s working well, it’s so fulfilling,” she said. “When you go to company meetings and know you’re bringing in the right talent to make the company successful, it is very fulfilling.”
Greg Wright is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.
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