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Characteristics of a successful hiring manager

Updated: May 22, 2021

What are the characteristics of a great hiring manager?

(From the perspective of an external recruiter)

I've worked with some excellent hiring managers over the years. Here's what they have in common:

They view recruiting as a major part of their job every day. They realize that great talent may not be wrapped up in a bow or banging on their door. They prioritize interviews. They are open to interviewing passive candidates, and adjust their conversation depending on the person, not solely focusing on their own agenda.

They align internal stakeholders before a search is kicked off.

They sell. Candidates become more excited about an opportunity after speaking with them. Their passion shines through, and it's genuine.

At the same time, their interviews are challenging. Candidates look up to them. People want jobs that are hard to get, and want to work for people they will learn from.

Recruiters are partners. This isn't a skills checklist. They bring recruiters into their business and give them all the information they need to identify, attract, and assess talent.

They give detailed, timely feedback. We pivot together.

They make a decision. If collaboration is getting in the way of progress, they step up, influence, and make the call.

Great hiring managers also:

Do the first round interview (after the internal and/or external recruiter).

They don’t rely on their team to screen people out before they get to them.

They know that we may only have one opportunity to connect with a candidate, and they want to make the first impression.

This is because they realize that recruiting and interviewing aren’t the same thing.

The pendulum is pre-weighted going into every conversation. The best hiring managers are able to redistribute the weight as they talk and listen. Selective candidates become excited about opportunities and put their interviewing hat on.

Most decisions we make in recruiting come down to understanding and explaining risk. Of course not every company abides by hiring managers doing first round interviews, and that’s ok as long as the risk is understood. There is a risk that great talent will not be interested or will be swept up by another company’s hiring manager. There is also a risk that the hiring manager wastes time on too many first round conversations with unqualified candidates.

This only works well if the partnership between the hiring manager and recruiter is strong. Both have to understand each other. Trust and communication are essential.

You can check out this post along with other great topics on LinkedIn.

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