TA Survey: Hiring Managers Say They Can Recruit Better

LAS VEGAS — There’s an amazing difference in how talent acquisition leaders and hiring managers see recruiting at their company.

TA leaders believe their teams are doing a pretty good job. Not outstanding even though there were a few As , but good enough to give themselves a B-.

When hiring managers graded those same teams, they gave them a C-. If that isn’t worrisome enough, not one hiring manager in ERE’s State of Talent Acquisition Survey 2016 awarded their team an A.

Deserved or not, the grades show the gulf between how recruiting leaders view the job they do and what their customers, the hiring managers of their companies, think.

“If that’s their perception,” said Ron Mester, speaking Thursday morning to an audience of some 600 talent leaders and others at ERE’s spring recruiting conference here in Las Vegas, “It’s your problem.”

State of TA slideIn his morning general session presentation, Mester, ERE Media’s CEO and president, walked through some of the key issues raised by the survey, pointing to results illustrating the disconnect between recruiters and hiring managers:

  • Asked to rate the quality of candidates from various sources, hiring managers scored the candidates they find themselves significantly higher than those submitted by the recruiting team. What’s more, Mester noted, the 3.6 score they gave to recruiter candidates was only slightly ahead of the 3.5 score they gave to candidates from job boards and the company career site.
  • Regarding how they felt by “Corporate recruiters’ ability to act as a talent advisor,” 42% indicated they were “encouraged.” Recruiters asked a similar question were 72% encouraged.

Citing some other survey responses where TA leaders noted their chief concerns (quality of candidates, speed of hiring topped the list) and another where 8 in 10 leaders admitted their teams “have a way to go” — or worse — to being considered true talent advisors to the business, Mester said, “The good news is you are sensing this problem.”

Concluding with survey results that showed an alarming lack of knowledge of even such basic recruiting metrics as cost to fill, Mester turned to a panel of experts for what leaders can do quickly and easily to improve the situation.

Participating were Jeanna Barrie, Director, North America Solutions Recruiting for Avanade, David Watson, Senior Director of North America Talent Acquisition and Integration also for Avanade, and John Ricciardi, Vice President, Talent Solutions, ERE Media.

The first step in improving relations with hiring managers, the State of TA 2016 Panelists with captionpanelists agreed, was to ask them what’s working and what’s not. “Pick up the phone,” suggested Watson. You may not always get a direct answer, but if “there’s a pause,” he added, “There’s a problem.”

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What is the quickest way to begin improving how hiring managers and recruiters work together? At the intake session, Ricciardi said, with quick agreement from Watson and Barrie. That’s when you can set the roles and responsibilities, making clear not only who does what, but when. “Get the details and the specifics,” Watson counseled.

Share relevant recruiting data with them, they all agreed, even when it may not reflect positively on the TA team. By sharing that — and describing what you are doing to fix the problem — you build credibility. But to get hiring managers to care about your data — good or bad — it needs to be made relevant to them.

“Put it in a context that relates to the hiring manager’s interest,” said Ricciardi. Agreed Barrie, “Every hiring manager has a stake in the game.”

About the Author

John Zappe is contributing editor of ERE.net, and the former editor of the now closed Fordyce Letter. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. 

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him by clicking here.

  • Christopher Murray

    Wow. How toxic. It would be interesting to see what could potentially happen if hiring managers put away the whip and started nurturing their resources. But yeah – bullying and blaming others is easier right? It couldn’t be your process – no… definitely not that. Quick and easy – pick up the phone! No thinking allowed!

  • http://cielotalent.com Russ Heritage

    This echoes what Cielo found in our Talent Acquisition 360 survey: http://cielotalent.com/360

    Picking up the phone is certainly good advice to fix the relationship! In-person conversations work even better. We created a worksheet that talent leaders can use to facilitate that discussion. Here’s a link if you are interested: http://resources.cielotalent.com/article-12-dimensions-of-talent-acquisition-prioritization-worksheet-rsp.html

  • http://www.jobvite.com Jeremy Reid

    Yes, I agree there is often a dysfunctional (sometimes toxic) relationship between hiring mangers and recruiters. It has a lot to do with the lack of importance/commitment/training a company puts into the recruiting function. Plus, you can add the transactional nature of the work (often, not allowed to be strategic), the immediacy (“we need this position filled yesterday”), and difficult interview teams (poor feedback loops, untrained interviewers, cat-herding, etc.) to the mix.

    Then, there is a culture of generalists recruiters that may recruit within a category they don’t know very well. They either know the industry or the function, but not both. Even the best recruiters tend to know a little about a lot, but are rarely experts in the functions they hire for. I think many hiring managers often expect their recruiters to be as knowledgeable about their company/product/technology/team-culture as they are. That is a pretty high bar, and a setup for failure.

    Even for the companies that treat their recruiting function more like a sales process, they don’t even come close to giving the same kind of support to the recruiting team as they do the sales team. Recruiters will get thrown to the wolves, hired on as contractors (not a true employee team-member), have very little support, need to wear many hats by supporting different teams and roles, and typically be put in situations of desperation and unrealistic targets. But, you know what? We’re recruiters and we’re resilient!

    I believe, if companies started treating their recruiting teams like an integral part of their organization, we’d see better partnerships with hiring managers, better candidate experiences, higher quality hiring, and a group of people that you could leverage into other company functions when the hiring slows down. Just imagine if recruiting was given the same treatment as the sales team: regular training/education on the product and company, employee status, support form lead-gen and marketing, proper tools and resources to be effective, etc. You would have a knowledgeable and incentivized team of career evangelists properly representing your brand and partnering with your company managers for great hiring pipelines and candidate experiences!