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Recruiters want hiring managers more involved in the process – here’s why

Sarah Tanoue, Business Director - Hays Sunway

As the world of work slowly recuperates from the fallout of COVID-19, it has never been more important to find the right hire. Many organisations are now trusting specialist recruitment agencies to ensure they search far and wide to find just the right fit at a time when resources are precious, and responsibilities are many. But after doing everything right – be it selecting the right agency or allocating enough spend – organisations may be missing a crucial step that would help them get the most out of their investment.

Leaving the hiring manager out

When a company uses a recruitment agency to help source talent for them, it is common for the lion’s share of the responsibility to fall into the lap of their HR department. However, since the final decision often does not lie in their hands, many end up playing the role of a ‘middle-man’ between the candidate, agency and hiring manager, which includes selecting and briefing the agency, gathering feedback on candidates from interviews and sharing this with the agency, negotiating offers and managing the onboarding of new hires. While hiring managers are almost always involved with candidate interaction and selection at some point, many are removed from direct interaction with their external recruitment partner. This results in them often becoming detached from the process and leaving critical decision making and feedback for HR to communicate with candidates and agencies.

The perceived advantage of this to most companies is that of saving time. A hiring manager may think they are leaving hiring to the experts and thus spending their time on their core business tasks. However the aptitude, speed and suitability of a new hire will directly impact the performance of their team. By staying distant, hiring managers risk miscommunication, delays, or worse: hiring someone without the right skills or fit – a mistake that could cost them dearly in terms of time and resources down the line.

Help us help you

Today, organisations are in the midst of a war for good talent. Many of them recognise this and are willing to expend resources to get the best people. The logic then is simple – if your organisation can spend on hiring the best people, then why not use your best people to get the most out of your investment? Hiring managers not only know what their team really needs, but they can also communicate this efficiently and make decisions quickly.

At Hays Malaysia, for example, we certainly leverage the skills of our in-house recruitment experts to source and screen candidates. But after that, I consider it my personal responsibility to asses them, interview them, extend their offer and check their references. The reason why we do this is because our success rate is simply better this way. Candidates feel more engaged with the team they will be joining, while management also feels the accountability and ownership of their hiring decisions. Likewise, if a rec-to-rec recruiter introduces a candidate to Hays, I will engage with them directly (there is no need to involve our in-house recruiter, because they’ve already been sourced and screened!)

Based on my experience, here are five reasons why I would recommend hiring managers get more involved with both their external recruitment agencies and candidates through the recruitment process:

1.    Your recruiters will work harder for you

At any one time, a specialist recruitment consultant may be working on 10 different roles with 10 different clients. Recruiters will always prioritise the positions they understand the best as they can confidently match candidates and sell the role more effectively. If hiring managers were to give HR instructions which are then relayed to the external recruitment partner (instead of speaking to them directly), it leaves room for error in subjective interpretations or things getting lost in translation. Placing HR in between line and the specialist recruiter means that you are diluting the value of having a specialist recruiter; it becomes a filter to information flow (think of a coffee filter; it drips slowly and not everything passes through).

2.    Your recruiters will have a better story to tell the candidates

Additionally, getting top talent to choose you as their employer is not just about a good package or perks – it is about connection. As recruiters, we can better sell a job to a candidate when we know who their boss is. Knowing this allows us to make a much more compelling pitch, find the best match and get a candidate excited about joining your organisation from the very start.

3.    Your candidates will be more committed

Often, companies don’t want to “waste” their hiring manager’s time interviewing unsuitable candidates, and only include them in later stages. This is a risk because candidates are rarely committed to a role until they know who their boss is. The earlier a candidate feels engaged and interested, the better chance you have of them sticking around for your interview process and being excited about the opportunity.

Notice periods can be long, particularly in Malaysia, and a lot can go wrong in that time. Before they reach onboarding stage, candidates can receive counter offers from their existing employers or have another company come along and offer them something better. But if a hiring manager stays in touch with them through the notice period and onboarding stage, candidates feel far more connected and remain committed to their decision.

At Hays for example, I would make it a point to invite new joiners to our month-end celebrations so they can get to know people in the office and start building connections. This will minimise the risk of them not making it to onboarding stage.

4.    Your hiring process will be faster and more efficient

Cutting out the HR ‘middleman’ results in not only more accurate and effective hiring, but faster processes as well. Recruiting top talent is always a race – good candidates often receive multiple offers and are likely to take up the first good offer. Waiting for messages to be communicated between HR, hiring managers and recruitment agencies not only prolongs the process, but also keeps candidates at a distance. This leaves more room for them to get alternative offers as they wait.

Additionally, recruiters are 80 per cent more efficient when working directly with hiring managers because if they hear directly from you, they’re more likely to get the right people straight away. And if it’s not a match the first time, your feedback will enable them to find the right people the second time around.

5.    Your candidates will have a better experience

Giving feedback or responding to candidate questions is an important part of the candidate experience. But unfortunately, many companies neglect to provide these in a timely manner (or at all), as recruiters have to go through HR and wait on a response instead of being able to reach out to hiring managers directly. The lack of connection with hiring managers can also result in an impersonal experience for the candidate who may feel devalued or a lack of consideration for their time.

Times are changing and it is becoming more important for interviews to be a two-way street where the candidate is equally interviewing a company to see if it is a good fit for them. If recruiters are able to quickly respond to any questions or share relevant and timely feedback, candidates will be more likely to regard your company better, even if the interview was unsuccessful.

To stay ahead of the curve when recruiting in these uncertain times, it is vital for organisations to truly understand that talent acquisition is essential to their business bottom line. This means seeing recruitment as not a function of HR but a responsibility that spans across levels. By letting their hiring managers take on the bulk of this process and fostering more direct communication with both candidates and recruitment agencies, companies can radically improve their hiring processes and gain access to the best talent in the market.

This blog was originally published as a LinkedIn Influencer article.



Originally from New Zealand, Sarah had a career in intellectual property before moving to Tokyo in 2010 to join HAYS Japan. During her seven years at the HAYS Tokyo office, Sarah became known as the leading bilingual recruiter in the Human Resources space. She was a Top 3 biller, while also building and managing a team of 20 consultants representing 12 different nationalities across 3 specialisms. In 2017, Sarah took a global mobility opportunity to join the HAYS Malaysia business. Within two years of being with HAYS Malaysia, she has quadrupled the size of the commercial team in the KLCC office, now with high performing teams in Human Resources, Accountancy & Finance, Information Technology, Legal, Sales, and Marketing & Digital. She has been a Top 3 biller, Manager of the Year, and was promoted to Business Director in 2018.

She now manages the HAYS Sunway office, which services clients across industries in Selangor and neighbouring states. During her time at HAYS, Sarah has also taken two maternity breaks, and is a strong advocate for gender equality and the participation of mothers in the workforce.



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