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Thought Leadership

Can This Relationship Be Saved? 

HR technology has an important role to play in improving the relationship between recruiters and hiring managers.

Friday, May 26, 2017
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It's estimated to cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to replace talent, while it takes longer than ever to nail down the right fit. Filling an open position takes nearly a month longer than it did five years ago, and for large global organizations, the average time to fill a job -- from the initial posting to accepted offer -- increased by 62 percent between 2010 and 2015. With more talent in the market than positions to fill, one might ask, what's the hold-up?

A fractured relationship between recruiters and hiring managers could be to blame. While it's true that these partnerships are mutually beneficial in many cases, there's a troubling disconnect: According to a study from Deloitte, 80 percent of recruiters believe they have a good understanding of the jobs they're recruiting for, while just 39 percent of hiring managers agree.

What's behind these diverging views?

Oftentimes, hiring managers have trouble explaining exactly what they're looking for in a candidate, giving recruiters little to go on other than "find me someone." This leaves recruiters guessing about what skills the position requires. Of course hiring managers want great people working for their companies -- the problem is, they don't always invest enough time and resources to make that dream a reality.

Recruiters share some of the blame, too. In many cases, they fail to thoroughly question hiring managers in order to fully understand the position and the traits a candidate needs to effectively fill the role.

Candidates play an important role as well, as they must do their homework on the employer brand to ensure they're a good fit for the positions they're vying for. Recruiters and hiring managers can execute flawlessly, but if the talent doesn't fit with the mission and values of the organization, their work could be all for naught.

As a result of the miscommunications on all ends, the mutual trust between hiring managers and recruiters deteriorates with each unfit candidate who interviews.

This is a solvable problem, of course. As HR technology and applications evolve, they play an increasingly important role in the way companies approach the talent search and hiring processes, and can ease the burden on both recruiters and hiring managers to identify and hire the right candidates.

For recruiters, the advantage of pairing candidate-relationship management technology with an active recruitment campaign is two-fold:

It can help "keep warm" passive leads found through referrals, job fairs and careers site portals. Hiring managers could better partner with the organization's marketing team on content to send to these potential candidates highlighting the employer brand. Examples include having employees write blog posts about working at the organization, or a specific event or volunteer activity they participated in with their team. Or, if the organization is engaged in newsworthy activities, repurpose the corresponding press release to ensure that candidates know about it.

It can help proactively improve the internal hiring process and the candidate pool. As an example, technology firm NetIQ Corp. faced a massive daily influx of resumes from several sources, forcing its recruiters to spend tremendous amounts of time qualifying candidates, processing resumes, communicating with hiring managers and organizing data. Without a centralized system to manage the hiring process, NetIQ had trouble controlling the influx and quality of agency referrals because the organization didn't have the tools for analyzing the effectiveness of each vendor or collecting each interviewer's feedback from candidate interviews. Hiring decisions were made in "consensus meetings" in which interviewers' personalities often overshadowed the actual data on candidates.

NetIQ turned to HR technology to organize data from all sources, process resumes and generate customized response letters, reducing administrative tasks for recruiters by 60 percent. Implementation reduced quarterly agency spending from $840,000 to $306,000 (a cost reduction of 87 percent) by tracking candidates through the recruiting cycle, detecting if they'd already received the same candidate from another source. System centralization improved time-to-hire by reducing the time spent searching for and identifying talent, and it improved quality-per-hire by standardizing and systematizing the way recruiters evaluate candidates. Today, each interviewer at NetIQ has an equal chance to support his or her evaluations by recording interview feedback and accessing and evaluating everyone's information. The decision process is driven by documented facts and insulated from personalities.

Additionally, data from an organization's applicant tracking system can help identify process bottlenecks and reduce the time-to-hire by more efficiently finding, attracting and screening top talent. Hiring managers can generate ATS reports detailing average time for job requisition and candidate progress during the hiring process (including time till screenings and interviews, offer approval and offer acceptance) to determine which, if any, of these important tasks are taking too long and holding up the hiring process. From the first steps of the hiring process to the last, an ATS can reduce spend by as much as 80 percent and help fill open desks quickly.

Further, tech solutions can improve mid-hiring communications through video. If a recruiter can review a candidate screening video with hiring managers before the in-person interview, the “oops” of a clearly unqualified candidate is minimized, as it enables companies to screen for critical soft skills that may not come across on paper, and allows the recruiter to alter their talent search based on immediate feedback from hiring managers. Candidate requirements for effective presentation skills, interpersonal communication and command of a particular language are just a few of the mission-critical job skills that can be quickly evaluated with video interviewing tools. Candidates can be effectively compared to one another by asking them all a consistent series of the same questions.

HR tech is great for the employer brand, too. A well-crafted career portal, a strong social media presence and a steady stream of open-position shares by current employees with their networks are powerful tools, as companies with a strong employer brand attract at least three and a half more applications per job posting than other companies in the same industry. Boiled down, a strong employer brand helps potential candidates self-select. Applicants can make better decisions as to whether they believe they'll fit in or be successful, while ensuring those who apply align with the mission of the company, saving time for employer and applicant alike.

Of course, the best way to fill vacancies is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. HR technology can help organizations understand what motivates their workforce, successfully activating them to produce a positive impact on business outcomes. An activated workforce leads to increased retention and lessens the overall recruiting burden.

Considering that top-tier talent is always looking for their next opportunity, organizations must make their hiring processes more efficient. Of course, clarifying roles and fostering relationships between hiring managers and recruiters is a strong first step, because (as numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show) a bad hire can cost between 30 percent to 200 percent of that worker's annual salary.

HR technology is a valuable tool for easing an already-strained relationship, simplifying the hiring process and assisting in communication that could shine light on the previously-clouded partnership between recruiters and hiring managers.


Amber Hyatt is vice president of product marketing for cloud-based talent activation solutions provider SilkRoad. She can be reached at





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