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The Secret World of Hiring Manager & Recruiter Feedback

By Ian Alexander on the Survale Blog

When we talk about candidate experience, two of the most important factors are hiring manager and recruiter feedback. Perhaps this is because two of the most important candidate interfaces are recruiters and hiring managers. These interfaces are members of what I call the Big 3: Career sites (including applications), recruiters and hiring managers.

The quality of these three interfaces virtually define what kind of experience candidates will have, and therefore, how efficient and effective ALL your hiring strategies are.

When we launched the Survale Talent Feedback platform, our early adopters were all forward thinking employers. And while Survale gave them eye opening feedback about how candidates experience their hiring process, one of the biggest requests from these progressive employers was “Can we gather recruiter feedback from hiring managers?”

Of course the answer was yes, and this recruiter feedback practice has become standard for most of our clients now. Some clients gather direct feedback from recruiters about hiring managers as well. But most are content to get feedback about hiring managers directly from candidates and then make this feedback available to hiring managers to self manage their performance.

And why is this important? Because very shortly after instituting this feedback loop between candidates, recruiters and hiring managers, questions get answered and greater recruiter and hiring manager alignment quickly evolves.

Recently, we started spilling some of the secrets that feedback-based recruiting organizations know that other organizations might not know. The first article had to do with crafting better offers based on analytics that show a near universal desire for “opportunity for growth.”

So in that spirit, what do we know about hiring manager and recruiter feedback, and what effect it has on candidate experience?

(Some) Hiring Managers Are Not Good Interviewers

The bad news is that recruiter fears that hiring managers are sabotaging their hard earned candidate’s interviews are true. But the good news is that the damage typically affects only a small portion of hiring managers.

In aggregate, the data shows that it only takes a few less than capable hiring managers to make a big headache for candidates and recruiters. The issues we see most often are:

Hiring manager wasted my time
o Didn’t show up on time (or at all)
o Hadn’t read my resume
o Already had mind made up
o Didn’t paint a great picture of the company
o No follow up or feedback on the interview
o Asked questions irrelevant to the job

Hiring manager buzzkill
o Negative demeanor
o Not on same page as recruiter about role
o Does not effectively “sell” the opportunity/company

These complaints likely sound familiar to any company that has surveyed its candidates. The trick is using a system that automatically ties feedback to individual hiring managers, jobs, locations, etc. Survale does this, and the take-away is that there is always a small number of hiring managers who drive these kinds of complaints and, armed with the correct data, it’s easy to train away these candidate experience killing issues.

Many Survale clients provide managers with dashboards that show them their personal anonymous feedback from candidate interviews. This is a great practice that puts both hiring managers and recruiters on notice that they are being evaluated on common criteria. You’d be amazed at how quickly candidate net promoter scores increase when all hiring stakeholders see their feedback.

Recruiters Need More Communication

So what do hiring managers want from recruiters? This is the kind of recruiter feedback that all hiring organizations should be gathering- regularly. Most Survale clients track recruiter feedback from hiring managers and use it in performance management and/or incentives.

The number one answer is more, qualified, perfectly vetted candidates – and a lot of them! But once that utopian requirement is out of the way, here are some of the top needs for hiring managers that tend to go unmet:

More candidates! – Hey just because it’s utopian to expect more qualified candidates in the current environment doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem. The number one area for recruiting improvement is lack of quality candidates.

More frequent communication – about new candidates, follow ups on previously interviewed candidates, etc. This is a catch all for a litany of shortcomings that all have to do with timely action. Am I getting candidates as soon as they are screened? Why do I have to push recruiting to feel like they are actively working my positions? It feels like a lack of urgency. This is especially true for situations where there is no manager self service and hiring managers rely on recruiting to status candidates through each recruiting stage.

Understand the role better – Hiring managers are happy to work with recruiters to educate them about the roles for which they are sourcing candidates. They want recruiters to be more proactive in communication and urgency by reaching out to (or simply responding to) hiring managers as they try to engage and educate about needs.

As you can see, there are significant issues to be sorted out on both sides. The good news is that most hiring managers understand that hiring the right talent is the key to their success. And they earnestly want more from recruiters in order to hire that talent.

As in many things in this life, broad brushes paint distorted pictures. Yes, great employers give some candidates awful experiences. But being able to identify bad experiences with recruiter, candidate and hiring manager feedback allows organizations to pinpoint the causes and make relevant changes with the parties involved.

Feedback doesn’t lie. And making it available and visible gets everyone on the same page, using the same success criteria.

Using this approach, the recruiter and hiring manager alignment that is created not only reduces bad candidate experiences but it takes positive candidate experience to a whole new level.