Can personas help bridge the gap between hiring managers and recruiters?
By Ed Newman
I think we can all agree that hiring managers need the right talent in place to meet their objectives. At the same time, a recruiter's main focus is to find the right talent for the organization's needs, usually working with several different hiring managers with varying expectations and nuances.
Both jobs are important, but it's been almost impossible for recruiters and hiring managers to get on the same page for years. There will always be recruiters who lie, and hiring managers who are lazy. What do we do about these long-standing relationship issues between recruiters and hiring managers?
I'll tell you this -- the answer to solving these issues can be found in some upfront work, but it is possible to get on the same page.
Just like the huge push for a positive candidate experience, it's equally important to ensure your internal experience is on point. You need to truly understand the context of each hiring manager's situation, including how involved they are in the process, the nuances of their process, their personality and their preferences. Then, and only then, can you take the time to design your internal experience to deliver the desired people partnerships and results.
We've been talking about developing candidate personas and mapping their journeys. I believe the same process should be done for every stakeholder in your recruiting process, and that includes your hiring managers. To enable the right recruiter-to-hiring-manager relationships in your organization, taking the time to create your hiring manager personas is critical.
So, what sort of data and details would a hiring manager personal "canvas" include? Well, the obvious, of course: demographic information such as age, title, geographic location, along with education background and work experience. Additionally, the persona canvas would include information on the hiring manager's "values and goals," such as core values (responsibility, stability, recognition, for example), personal goals and professional goals. It would also include a summary of the difficulties he or she typically encounters during the talent acquisition process (communication with recruiters, for example, or finding time to schedule interviews), daily job responsibilities, information sources and resources, common objections ("I don't have time to review resumes and interview candidates") and areas of focus.
You should also take the time to understand the hiring manager journey, including what actions they're taking throughout the talent relationship lifecycle, and what they're thinking and feeling at each stage of the process. A hiring manager journey map might consist of a chart listing the seven stages of the recruiting process (planning, interview, selecting, offer, hire, onboarding and reporting) across the top and, down the left side, what the corresponding actions and experiences for each stage of that process would look like for the hiring manager (i.e., the actions they would need to take for the interview stage and the things they'll likely be thinking about "Will I find the right person?" "Am I interviewing the right people?").
The process of developing hiring manager personas and mapping their journeys may take a little time up front, but it's key in helping fine-tune your recruiting processes for the better. First and foremost, focus on those hiring managers requiring the most immediate attention due to higher or more complicated hiring needs. For example, your director of software development may have more recurring niche-hiring needs than your HR department does.
Second, this is a transparent process, and it's important that you get your hiring managers involved in creating these documents. Sell them on the fact that it will help recruiters understand how they operate, increasing the opportunity for a collaborative partnership. In essence, these documents will be used by the recruitment department to ensure that the right recruiter-hiring manager relationships are in place for success.
You can do this through an intake form that mirrors the questions off of the persona canvas, and sitting down with your hiring managers to discuss their typical involvement in the recruiting process. Keep in mind that it's OK if the journey maps are different for each hiring manager. You are going to have some who are more involved, others who are less involved, and everything in between. The bottom line is that in order to create more collaborative and positive recruiter-hiring manager relationships, everyone has to be involved in getting on the same page.
Technology and Tools
There's no shortage of recruiting technology and tools out there but, unfortunately, they're mostly made with candidates, recruiters and talent leaders in mind. If you want to increase collaboration, you'll need a tool or solution that gives hiring managers the ability to actively participate in the recruiting, interviewing and selection process -- on the time that works for them.
This goes deeper than just giving a hiring manager access to your ATS or CRM. Collaborative tools that increase the communication between recruiters and hiring managers are necessary and, depending on the size and scope of your organization, can be as simple as implementing an internal chat system. Some examples include Slack or HipChat.
The holy grail involves implementing a technology specific to your hiring managers and their involvement in the talent recruiting and selection process, enhancing their experience. At a minimum, a hiring manager should have the ability to do the following: create or select ideal candidate profiles based on historical data such as past hires and current successful employees; view and provide interviewing schedule details; review, reject and select resumes; communicate candidate feedback to recruiters easily; and rank candidates by preference and fit for the position.
The End Result
Finding the right fit between a recruiter and hiring manager is a critical element in finding the right talent for your organization. The main cause of the disconnect has nothing to do with the process your organization has in place. It really falls on a lack of true understanding on both ends of the equation.
The bottom line is this: If you have a standardized process in place, it must have enough internal variance to accommodate the unique personality, style and preferences of each hiring manager.
You can only attain this level of insight through the development of your hiring manager personas, mapping their individual journeys through the talent recruiting and selection process, and giving them the right tools and technology to become a collaborative player with your recruiters.
Ed Newman is the chief evangelist at talent-acquisition vendor Phenom People.