When HR And Hiring Managers Clash

February 8, 2016 Kelly Marc Alston

The relationship between HR and hiring managers, specifically when it comes to filling open positions, can be complicated. HR professionals work diligently to find and screen candidates, only to get pushback from managers about the quality or quantity of applicants. Front-line managers are balancing the exigencies of their day to day jobs in addition to trying to review candidates that may or may not fit the hiring criteria.

As I’ve written about before, hiring the best available talent is an ‘all hands on deck’ endeavor. There is actually a benefit to having a hiring team comprised of individuals from different departments - this diversity can result in candidates who are more fully vetted for the success factors that matter at your company. But this can also lead to conflict, and not the ‘healthy’ kind. So what should HR professionals and hiring managers do to make sure their recruiting efforts aren’t sidetracked by misunderstandings?

Starting out with a face to face meeting (in-person or video conference) to discuss role requirements is the best way to make sure the team is on the same page. This article on TalentCulture includes a list of questions to answer before posting the job. Doing this upfront will improve the level of candidates that make it through initial screens. And while the hiring manager is the expert regarding required skills, the HR team has been down this road many times and can offer guidance.

Much like any relationship, the key to avoiding misunderstandings is frequent communication. What this usually means during the hiring process is a long series of emails and phone calls between HR and the hiring manager. A better idea is to invest in a system that makes collaboration simple. Being able to quickly share feedback or to understand where candidates are in the process is invaluable. Collaborative software (like Hoops) keeps the hiring team on track while minimizing the need for meetings and email updates.

Another key to creating a harmonious relationship between HR and hiring managers is a mutual understanding of their roles. Courtney Meyer of Menlo Partners Staffing points out that HR emphasizes compliance, looking to eliminate risky candidates. Hiring managers are looking for competence and fit. Of course, both competence and compliance are important when evaluating candidates - talking about these different priorities up front and when making decisions will help.

With the average time-to-fill rate for open jobs at 27 days (and growing), it’s important to eliminate any bottlenecks that you can control in the recruitment and hiring process, and misalignment between HR and hiring managers can be fixed. Take some time to understand each other’s POV; HR, hiring managers and the organization will all benefit from it.

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