I Get By With a Little Help From My…Hiring Manager

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May 1, 2020

A great many sourcing discussions start with or involve some talk of candidate engagement. There are countless viewpoints on the best methods of outreach (how’s that Tik-Tok thing going?) and the best ways to get the talent we want to respond to our craftily worded messages.

The truth is, sometimes, despite the best research, the funniest meme, or the bullet point choices to get them to give you any response, it just won’t get it done. People who are talented have options. Lots of them. The sheer volume of messages they are getting is staggering and exhausting for them. And it’s time-consuming to parse through all the noise to get to the good ones.

Sometimes we just need some additional help. Someone with a different perspective, who can add an extra option to get the person to respond. Enter your hiring manager. (For the purposes of this post, we’ll assume you’ve got a hiring manager who is willing to play ball and help you out with some messages. If they aren’t, I’m sorry. And that’s a whole other post.)

Getting the Hiring Manager Involved in Sourcing

Sometimes, all the req intake meetings in the world are meaningless compared to a sourcing blitz (or a source-a-thon or whatever you’d like to call it).  A sourcing blitz is when the sourcer (you) sits with the Hiring Manager and runs through several searches while selecting candidates that are a potential fit.  Having the hiring manager right there will instantly calibrate your search and establish an understanding between both parties as to what the req search requires.

Getting the Hiring Manager + other team members is the sourcing blitz is even better.  Getting them search within their networks can be very useful.  Provide them simple search strings and have them search through 1st (and maybe 2nd) degree connections.  The profiles that the team likes can then be selected for messaging.  If a candidate is a strong one, an initial message from the Hiring Manager can mean a lot more than one from a recruiter.

Getting the Hiring Manager Involved in Messaging

Having your hiring manager assist with some outreach to the people with the skills you want can be done in any number of ways. It comes down to what platforms your research is able to uncover for the person to be messaged. It’s also a matter of your hiring manager’s comfort level with platforms. If they don’t do Twitter, that may not be the best way to message the candidate. This is particularly true if they’ve never Tweeted and still have the “egg”. Even the simplest of efforts, such as emailing a candidate directly or connecting with and messaging them on LinkedIn, are good options.

You can help the hiring manager with a basic framework for the messaging, which may help get things kickstarted. If they are more experienced at doing this, and have a style that works, that is a viable option as well. As an additional measure of caution (since hiring managers not as experienced in this realm) it’s a best practice for both of you to review what they are planning to send before the first batch of messages go out.

It can be a creative and fruitful collaboration, but don’t forget that the results of the outreach campaign should be measured. Data is still king around these parts.

While I’m sure there are other benefits to be realized from a partnership like this, here are a few that really stand out:

They Have a Vested Interest

Hiring Managers who are active, invested participants in the hiring process tend to be successful in their efforts and have deeper relationships with their recruiters & sourcers. And when there’s activity around roles they deem to be critical, there is a direct benefit to them that is real and tangible. They also will likely have a different perspective on the “sell” of the position. Probably far more than is gleaned in any intake meeting – because this is their world, where they live and breathe…every day.

You Aren’t an Engineer (Or Accountant. Or Whatever.)

Face it. We, as sourcers and recruiters aren’t really all that appealing to people like engineers. We know about as much about Docker containers as we do shipping containers at the Port of Los Angeles. But this hiring manager, with potentially 15-20 years of living, breathing and eating code, probably has some more interesting things to connect with the candidate about. With recruiter burnout still a real problem from the talent side, this is a nice change of pace.

You Get the Ball on the 10 Yard Line

When the manager does the messaging, they should have something in the message that introduces you as a point of contact if they would be interested in hearing more. Getting them interested is the hard part. What’s beyond that, is for you to provide a smooth experience from an operational perspective, and to cultivate a good relationship with the candidate. I’m not downplaying the importance of the rest of the process, but there are more repeatable steps in the later stages of the candidate cycle, versus the uniqueness of the initial outreach.

In Conclusion

As with any of the tools at our disposal, no solution is absolute. But you have an opportunity to build rapport and credibility with the people you support the most. And in this field, your credibility is a core pillar of your overall success.

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