If Hiring Is a Team Sport, We Need to Give Hiring Managers Feedback

If hiring is a team sport, shouldn’t we measure hiring manager effectiveness? Yes!

I want to live in a world where recruiters and hiring managers are partners. Recruiters see the company - not individual HMs - as their customers, and work together to get speed, quality, and diversity as they hire great talent into their shared company.

Here are 10 sample questions you can use in a new survey that goes to recruiters when a req is filled. One where the recruiter gives feedback on HM engagement and effectiveness. One that helps you reward amazing hiring managers. And one that recognizes it’s not just about hiring managers giving feedback to corporate recruiters.
This blog post first appeared on LinkedIn's Talent Blog.
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Hiring is a team sport. Savvy recruiting leaders and recruiters who want to reinforce this partnership are doing something unusual. In addition to surveying hiring managers to get feedback on recruiting effectiveness, they’re now surveying recruiters to get feedback on hiring manager effectiveness. 

What? Yes!

The hiring managers who get top talent don’t suck. They see recruiting as part of their day job. They work in companies that reward hiring managers for being great talent champions, leaders of the recruiting process, evangelists of high hiring bars, mentors to interviewers and new hiring managers, and excellent partners to the recruiting team.

Culture is the behaviors you reward

My favorite definition of culture is something our CHRO shared with me when I was in my early 20s, working in the new wireless industry. Culture is the behaviors you reward and the behaviors you punish.

Do we reward hiring managers for being great hiring managers? How do we know they’re consistently great? We should know this, and — as TA leaders — we should show our recruiting team that we have high expectations for our hiring managers, too. And here’s the big idea: We measure them against those expectations by surveying our recruiters when a req is closed to get feedback on how effectively the hiring manager played their very important role in driving speed, quality, diversity, and candidate experience.

What good looks like for hiring managers

Of course, this requires that you’ve defined what your expectations are for hiring managers in your company first. You need to measure them against a standard. And by the way, before you start surveying your recruiters, you should make sure you’ve established “what good looks like” for your hiring managers and share that with the hiring manager community. (In the same way you should have established what hiring managers can expect from their recruiters before you surveyed them and made sure your recruiters clearly know what they’re being measured on by the hiring managers in the surveys.)

Side note: I don’t think hiring managers are our customers. But I can tell quickly — from the hiring manager survey questions used by TA teams — if they’re rewarding order-taker/customer-service recruiter behaviors or true Talent Advisor behaviors.

So, you might be saying, “OK, I love this idea, John. Can you help me out with some sample questions, because I want to set up a survey that our recruiters complete after each req is opened.”

Yes, I got you.

Sample survey questions

Here are 10 questions you can leverage — and modify — for the surveys you send to your recruiters. You’ll notice I’ve embedded hiring manager expectations into the questions.

1. Did we lose any time early in the process because the Hiring Manager didn’t get the proper approvals for the reqs (level, compensation, etc.)? If yes, why?

2. Was the Hiring Manager open to multiple success profiles and diversity, or were they narrowly focused on things like pedigree, choosing sameness over diversity?

3. Did the Hiring Manager effectively engage their internal employees and external network to help generate leads, referrals, and candidates? If not, why not?

4. Did the Hiring Manager provide feedback on candidates submitted within the SLA target of X days? If not, why not?

5. Did the Hiring Manager provide feedback on candidates they interviewed within the SLA target of X days? If not, why not?

6. Did the Hiring Manager prepare their interviewing teams by leading an alignment meeting or sharing information about the hiring criteria, assigning focus areas, and asking them to reserve time on their calendars for interviewing? If not, why not?

7. Did the Hiring Manager uphold our focus on choosing talent who brought [competency X, Y, Z, diversity, culture-add, etc.]? If so, how? If not, why not?

8. Did the Hiring Manager help sell/close the candidate, by contacting the candidate before or after the offer presentation? If not, why not?

9. Did the Hiring Manager provide any internal candidates with developmental feedback, upholding our value of helping internal candidates understand career options and working with them on their skill gaps? If not, why not?

10. How well did the Hiring Manager partner with you, the recruiter, to fill this role with quality, diverse talent, quickly? (Comments: _______)

Now, let’s say you’ve started collecting these survey results, and you notice some hiring managers are amazing, most are OK, and some suck. What do you do with that info?

What to do with survey results?

First, make sure your recruiters know you’re reading the surveys and are using them for something. HR has historically suffered from putting surveys out and then never doing anything once they get the results. Don’t be that kind of Talent Leader.

Second, find ways to recognize and reward your top hiring managers. Check out our Hiring Manager Maturity Model for some suggestions on how to do this. At a minimum, send out some positive feedback around performance review time to your best hiring managers’ managers, so that they get some love at review time from their bosses. If that wouldn’t be well received in your culture, then at least ask your recruiters to write positive recommendations for each of their great hiring managers on LinkedIn. Highlight specific things they do — that most hiring managers don’t do — to help get great talent into your company.

Finally, find ways to empower your recruiters to help those hiring managers who are struggling. They need us to be Talent Advisors, and they may need to know now only what they need to do to get more speed, quality, and diversity, but also how. So, some 1:1 or group training (like our License to Hire training) is key. You can also build out your own training, of course — just make sure it’s going to deliver something valuable

Will surveys alone change anything? Not without action and leadership from you. Do you have to share the survey results with the business? Not necessarily, or at least not necessarily right away. You may want to capture this feedback for a while to baseline where your hiring manager community struggles the most, and then start building out action items. 

Initially, I recommend you focus on rewarding the amazing hiring managers. Focus on the struggling hiring managers later. Right now, you want to build a culture where hiring managers see recruiting and investing time in recruiting as part of their day job. Shine the light on those talent-champion hiring managers, and do what you can to elevate them to your execs and across your organization, so their peers see what good looks like. I wrote an article
based on some work one of our clients, Okta, was doing to create that kind of recognition inside their organization — they even used swag to recognize great hiring managers.

The surveys should be in service to a bigger goal around creating a culture of recruiting, which was the topic of my workshops at LinkedIn’s Talent Connect 2023 in early October. You can download a PDF of my slides from those sessions here.


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