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It’s fair to say that recruiters and hiring managers share a common goal – to hire the best talent. So, in theory, you would expect them both to get along effortlessly.

The reality is that we often find misaligned expectations, causing friction from each side. They sometimes don’t understand each other’s role in the process which can make collaboration seem arduous.

Whilst the end goal is to fill the position with the best person, hiring managers’ expectations are sometimes different from the reality. Their expectation is often that their role will be the recruiter’s No.1 priority. The recruiter might have done a really good job for them the first time. Now the bar is set high but in truth, the recruiter will most likely have loads of roles to fill and it is up to them to prioritise.

So, what can they do to form a fruitful working relationship?

Set & manage expectations

Setting expectations early on can eliminate some of the tension from the recruitment process. From the outset, recruiters should discuss market conditions, what candidates are coming on to the market, typical timescales to fill this type of role and agree on the process from here on in. If they can show any evidence or data to support this then even better.

Who is really responsible for hiring?

You could argue that it isn’t just the recruiter’s responsibility to find the right person for the role. To a certain extent, it is also the responsibility of the client as a whole but at the very least the hiring manager needs to be held accountable too. After all, they play a crucial part in the recruitment process. Not only because they are going to manage them, but also because their strong personal brand will attract others. Good recruiters should help their client build an employer brand to consistently attract suitable applicants and hiring managers should do their part here too.

Candidates choose where they want to work, not only for their brand or reputation but also for the people they’ll be working with. It’s often the case that the main influence in a candidate’s decision to accept or reject the offer is the hiring manager. People want to work with people they get along with and who care about helping them develop.

Challenge your client

A good consultant should ask their client, “What have you done recently to attract talent to your business?” And that could mean “How many industry meet-ups have you attended?” or simple things like, “Did you share on social media that you are hiring?” or maybe even, “How many articles have you written and published on your website?”

If you’re working collaboratively then it’s more likely the role will get filled quicker. Furthermore, when hiring managers share their knowledge and expertise, that creates benefits like attracting outside talent, more referrals and higher offer acceptance rates.


If expectations are set from the start, the role is often filled quicker and the hiring manager is less likely to ask the recruiter, “Where are my candidates?” every other day.

Hiring managers should also act as recruiters and work on their personal brand outside the company. A good personal brand works like a good company brand in the way that it attracts people. The more the hiring managers are being proactive and engaged, the more information they will have about their company and why people love to work for them. This will give them valuable market information.

The ideal partnership should be where hiring managers and recruiters speak openly to each other and the expectations are set early on. This raises the chance of better results and in turn achieving the shared common goal.