Building Trust With Hiring Managers: A New Approach

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ConveyIQ advisor Todd Wheatland explains how recruiting is changing, and how recruiters can build better relationships with their hiring managers.

Some years ago, a friend of mine was recruiting for a light industrial assembly plant. She was having trouble finding talent in the local area with the capability to pick up on the technical training as well as with the physical strength and stamina to work a full shift.

Like any good recruiter, she tried sourcing from multiple channels to solve what had become a major talent shortage problem. What she ended up seeing as the solution was something that the foreman deemed unacceptable: hiring women.

To the foreman, the issue with hiring women was simple – women just weren’t up to this type of work. He explained that he tried having women employees in the past, but got head-shakingly terrible results.

Eventually, driven by necessity, she gave him an ultimatum. She, the recruiter, would join the crew and work full shifts for two weeks straight. If she didn’t make it, fine. She’d give up. But if she performed strongly for those two weeks, she would win and the foreman would have to agree to an ongoing process of recruiting women.

I have no doubt you’ve guessed something close to the outcome. By the end of the second week, she was the most productive employee in the plant, and another historical gender discrimination story faded into total irrelevance.

In the past year, I’ve interviewed something north of 50 people for my business in the Americas, Europe and Asia. That’s a much higher rate than I’ve done for many years. We’re a high-growth company, and we believe (like every company, of course) that we have a unique culture that is absolutely fundamental to our success. We’re also very fortunate in that we have a large inbound flow of people who want to work with us.

Still, we’re growing fast into new geographies and have been open to great talent regardless of where it’s been sourced. We’ve discovered some great candidates through recruiters, and some not so great. I readily accept that I could be more proactive and establish a more intentional partnership with recruiters. At the same time, I think I’ve been underwhelmed with the relative lack of commitment recruiters seem to want to make to get to know our business.

I think long-term success comes not from hawking resumes, but rather building trust by selling the understanding of clients’ circumstances.

Marketing switched to a renewed focus on the audience nearly a decade ago; why are so many recruiters still playing the old game?

Even in the best of times, the recruitment marketing process is prone to break down in the communications between recruiter and hiring manager. Going to work in the role that you’re trying to fill is an extreme solution.

Unquestionably, there’s a lot the hiring manager can do to help mitigate poor communication. At the same time, recruiters can make significant improvements to the hiring process by simply demonstrating commitment and earning trust. In the end, recruiting is all about relationships and relationships are only successful with trust.

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