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Oct 2, 2017
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

How often do sourcers and recruiters find themselves in the midst of being categorized as an order taker? Hiring managers rarely reach out to the recruiter or sourcer with expectations of sharing responsibility for the recruitment cycle. However, they anticipate discussing the need for a position to be filled and expect that you will take down a list of all of their sometimes unrealistic criteria to meet their every demand. Oh! And let’s not forget the preconceived notion that the recruiter or sourcer should be at their beckon call until the position is filled. Sound familiar?

Here are three ways to help gain leverage and shift the perspective of hiring managers.

STOP calling it an Intake Session

Pure wordplay can be a game changer. It makes a world of difference when changing the verbiage from intake session to strategy session. For example, intake session comes with a stigma of “let’s meet so that I can take your order.” However, strategy session sets the tone for coming together and as a trusted advisor; you and the hiring manager will collaborate on the strategies to fill the vacancy. Also, be sure to prep the hiring manager for what to expect before the meeting. Let them know in advance that you will be partnering with them to discuss the position in detail. This can help clear up the expectation of the meeting being a time where the recruiter or sourcer is listening to what the hiring manager demands the entire time. Another recommendation is to place bullet points of topics that will be discussed during the meeting in the body of the calendar invite. More examples of wordplay could be “Looking forward to partnering with you to identify your next great hire!” or “Excited to work with you to find your next superstar!” Using words like partner or work with help to avoid shifting the responsibility solely to you. Recruiting and sourcing is a team effort; candidates can be sourced and recruited all day long, however, if there is not equal buy-in from the hiring manager, you will have a long journey ahead of you filled with roadblocks. Feel free to read more about that here.

Implement Service Level Agreements (SLA)

During the strategy session address with the hiring manager what their role will be in helping to get the position filled. This could include tapping into their network, reviewing previously interviewed candidates that were silver medalists, or even gathering referrals from their direct reports. Review with the hiring manager what you will be responsible for during the recruitment phase as well. Agree upon timelines for candidate contact and recruiter follows up. Immediately after the strategy session, send a service level agreement to the hiring manager. The agreement should be brief and describe exactly what each person’s responsibility will be. Nothing fancy required. If you don’t already have Service Level Agreements in place; it could be a simple email with a recap of what was discussed highlighting the responsibilities for the hiring manager and recruiter. Also, it does not have to be multiple page documents filled with a bunch of jargon. The main things to consider are: Will it be clear what each person is responsible for? Are these the specific tasks that each person has committed to during the strategy session? From there, you can be creative with how the SLA is presented to the hiring manager.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

Always stay ahead of the process and strive never to have a hiring manager chase you down with the dreaded question: “Do you have any more candidates?” Or, better yet, this question only a day or two after the requisition is opened: “Do you have any candidates yet?” Discuss the timeline for expecting the first round of candidates. More importantly, be sure that you can meet that deadline. Interactions with the hiring manager should be scheduled by the recruiter or sourcer, not the hiring manager. It is critical that you are in the lead when it comes to presenting candidates to the hiring manager as well providing updates on the recruitment and sourcing strategies in progress. Another example of being proactive is entering the strategy session with a strategy already in place. Research the role, candidate demographics, pool availability, etc. before the scheduled meeting. Be able to articulate what you plan to execute so that the top slate of candidates can be presented promptly. If the location is a tough market to find candidates, it should be communicated to the hiring manager. You can even pull up the history of similar previously filled positions. What was the prior time to fill? How many candidates were presented before a hire was selected? Reiterating this information can help you set the stage for what they should expect. This is an important factor, especially when it comes to recruiting or sourcing in historically a hard to fill markets. Also, a great time to pull out all your super sourcing tricks!

It can be a challenge for talent acquisition professionals to be seen as partners rather than subordinates.  Do not let this discourage you. Focus on continuously nurturing your skills as a recruiter or sourcer. Stay informed of the latest tools and techniques within the industry. Set your sights on becoming a subject matter expert so that you have an adequate amount of tools and knowledge to position yourself as a trusted advisor and partner if you have not already done so. And remember, there are always going to be people that do not recruit or source telling you HOW to recruit or source. It comes with the territory!

Additional Tips:

  • Attend Conferences!

ERE and SourceCon conferences are always filled with cutting-edge tips and tricks from some great recruiters, recruiting leaders, and sourcers.

  • Find Online Recruitment and/or Sourcing Training

SourceCon has recently launched SourceCon Academy. Check it out!

  • Read Talent Acquisition Blogs

Here are a few of my favorite blogs: The Searchologist, Recruiting Social, RecruitingBlogs and of course ERE and SourceCon blogs, but you are already reading it – so great job!

Tons more to name, however, those should be a good starting point.

Good luck with your next strategy session!

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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