The relationship between TA professionals and hiring managers is an essential part of the recruitment ecosystem. On Episode 114 of Talent & Growth I spoke to Katrina Collier, author of The Robot-Proof Recruiter, about how we can improve those relationships. 

What’s annoying you about talent acquisition in 2023? 

For 2023, I really want to focus on intake. Both sides should be preparing for that critical meeting where you discuss that role in depth, but it doesn’t happen. Every time it doesn’t happen, the hiring manager loses a whole load of time and money, and the recruiter also wastes a whole load of time, plus the candidate experience and employer brand goes out the window. That can all be fixed by having a proper intake. 

What I’m seeing at the moment is when someone resigns, the hiring manager pulls their old job description out of the drawer and hands it over to the recruiter, who then goes out and tries to find this thing from the past. We should be asking ‘What does the team look like? Who has what skills? What do we really need here? What do we need going forward?’, but that isn’t happening. TA isn’t empowered to push back. Are they even allowed to have these challenging conversations? That needs to change. 

How would you approach this disconnect between TA and hiring managers? 

I would really like to see the TA leaders empowering their recruiters. I recently saw a TA leader who wouldn’t let their recruiters talk about salaries with the hiring manager. If they want someone with 10 years experience but are only offering a 50k salary, that’s only gonna get them an entry level person. These recruiters know that, but they’re not allowed to have the conversation. I want to see all that kind of BS just gone. The team should feel like they are equal partners. 

The whole point is for TA to be value-adding partners with the hiring managers. They don’t want to be seen as a service. They want to be partners and challenge them. I want to see more of that too. But, if recruiters don’t feel empowered, it’s never going to happen. It has to start at the top, with the C suite understanding that it’s a crucial role. 

I also want to run more of my design thinking workshops with hiring managers. These workshops get them to understand how they are losing time, money, and face. Not hiring  someone is actually losing them their bonus, or making them look stupid, or costing them their job. The trouble is, they don’t seem to see that. We need to reconnect TA and hiring managers by showing them the value of working together. 

What are the critical questions that TA should be asking hiring managers to ensure we qualify the roles in an effective way?

What is the cost to the bottom line every single day the job is open? 

What does the success of this person add to the team? How will you know they’ve succeeded in doing it? How will you know, at the end of 12 months, that you’ve hired the right person? 

What’s the problem they’re coming in to solve? What skills are required to fix that? 

All of these questions should be looking forward rather than backwards.

How do we push back on roles that aren’t fit for purpose while still protecting our position?

Talent acquisition does more than just recruit. To do that, they need to know that their leader has got their back. That starts with a conversation with their boss, explaining that ‘This hiring manager is treating me really poorly. I’m not going to waste any more time on it, because all it’s doing is delivering a bad candidate experience, which is impacting our employer brand, which means we aren’t better recruiters. So, I want your permission to just push back on this person. Are you going to have my back?’ That’s where TA has the ability to be more strategic. Sometimes people need to change companies because their leaders don’t have their back, which undermines their position.

Being aware of the people in your company is also essential. Know who’s a flight risk and who’s not and who could be cross trained. If we were going to lay off over here, why aren’t we moving them over there? Shouldn’t there be some cross training? Get out and talk to more people, have an open conversation to gain awareness of how the company is working. That will help because knowledge is power, and it will feed into your strategies. 

To learn more about talent acquisition in 2023, tune into Talent & Growth here