Employer Branding, Screening, Assessment, Interviewing

Prepping Hiring Managers

A recent study conducted by CareerBuilder, a provider of human capital solutions, identifies 12 gaps in the candidate experience, and shows where companies sometimes struggle. The No. 2 item on the list, “not preparing hiring managers,” tends to get pushed aside in favor of more exciting solutions, but it deserves attention.

On average, only two out of five hiring managers are prepped by recruiters or talent acquisition specialists, according to the CareerBuilder study. Further, among recruiters and talent acquisition specialists who do prep hiring managers, only two out of five specifically address the topic of candidate experience. This means only 16 percent of hiring managers overall are prepped by specialists to help manage the candidate experience.

Why It’s Important

Hiring managers play a critical role in the candidate experience. They provide information about the company and details about the job. As important, they provide insight into the company culture, the department and its staff, and the environment where the would-be employee will work.

To a candidate, a hiring manager represents the company. As such, it’s essential that candidate interactions go well.

What It Takes

First, any manager charged with interviewing and hiring should be familiar with hiring best practices. At the basic level, this includes knowing what to say when speaking with candidates, as well as what not to discuss—with special attention to those questions it is illegal to ask.

Yet, HR and talent acquisition leaders often think managers already know what they need to know and don’t provide any information or training on how to interview and hire. This is a missing piece in talent acquisition, and it’s missing in companies of all sizes.

Even when companies get the basics right, they sometimes forget to share other information with hiring managers, like benefits details that may have attracted the candidate in the first place. Again, the assumption is that the hiring manager already knows this. She or he may not.

Closing the Gaps

HR and talent acquisition leaders must take the lead in educating hiring managers. Then, communication needs to be ongoing, on a candidate by candidate basis.

Before a hiring manager interviews a candidate, the recruiter should share information gleaned from his or her conversations with the candidate. Information to share with the hiring manager includes:

  • Any special accommodations the candidate may have requested
  • How the candidate learned about the position
  • What makes the person a top candidate, in the recruiter’s opinion
  • What benefits the candidate is most interested in
  • What the recruiter has already shared with the candidate, and what may have resonated

This information will allow the hiring manager to continue the conversation the company has already started with the candidate. This continuity, and attention to detail, will help create a positive and consistent candidate experience.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.