Recruitment process
February 2, 2020

How do You Engage a Hiring Manager During Recruitment?

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In our previous article, we explained who a hiring manager (HM) is and what his/her responsibilities are. We also shared some suggestions with you on how to avoid tensions between the HR team and HM.

But, what if your HM isn’t particularly engaged in the process that they’re responsible for?

In this article, you’ll learn how to engage your hiring manager and how to help them lead you towards your common goal: hiring the best candidate for a vacancy.

Explain Your Hiring Manager’s Role

For smooth and easy cooperation, your HM needs to understand both his/her key role in the process and job responsibilities. If your HM isn’t engaged in recruitment, maybe they simply don’t know what to do.

Go through the list of responsibilities together, and discuss them one by one. Make sure they understand who is responsible for what and that they know what they can expect from you during the process.

Describe the Perfect Candidate Together

Since it is the HM who will be able to tell who you’re actually looking for, they’re also directly responsible for the success of the entire process. So the problem with your HM may very well be that they’re just lost on where to start.

Ask them a series of questions about the ideal candidate — the required skills, desired experience, and education level. Help your HM formulate realistic expectations that are adequate to the job responsibilities. Make sure you include personal characteristics on that list to have a greater chance that the chosen candidate will get along with the team. Mark some of the expectations and characteristics with an asterisk so that your HM can drop them if the situation deems it necessary.

Based on what you’ve worked out, the HM should then be able to create a detailed job description for the HR team who will then prepare a job advertisement.

Set out Your Expectations Towards the Process

It is possible that your hiring manager doesn’t know what to expect of a recruitment process overall. So, show him/her the options and let them decide at the very beginning what it will entail: the number of stages, the purpose of each, and their duration. Also, create a general outline for the interview itself — its character, length, tests and assessments to be completed by the candidate, and so on.

Ensure that your HM knows the size and quality of your talent pool and how long it took to hire a similar employee in the past.

Keep Communication Open and Welcome Feedback

Whatever happens, have no secrets with your hiring manager. Inform them about the level of interest in the job advertisement, the number of applications, and their quality. If necessary, refer to historical data to put everything in a meaningful context.

Be open to feedback regarding this particular process and how it can be improved. Allow your HM to assess your part of the job. At the same time, don’t be afraid to challenge some of their previous assumptions regarding the recruitment and the candidates (if they turn out to be unrealistic).

Do a Dry Run of an Interview

Not all hiring managers are experienced in interviews. Some may be awesome managers and poor interviewers — and they may be very self-aware of that.

So, offer your HM a couple of dry run interviews where you will pretend to be the candidate. Go through the agreed scenario and pay close attention to them. This will allow you to see what your HM’s strengths and weaknesses are. Make sure you suggest to them how to work on and improve the newly identified weaknesses.


A lack of sufficient engagement on the hiring manager’s behalf doesn’t actually mean that they have bad intentions — it is often due to ignorance or inexperience. As you can see, there are a lot of things that you can do to get your hiring manager back on the right track in order to get out of them what you both need to succeed in the process.

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