Recruiters can take many steps to be better partners in the hiring process.
1. Do your research. Before you meet with the hiring manager about the open role, review your existing ATS and CRM databases and LinkedIn for candidates who could be a fit based on whatever information you have. Bring current market salary data with you to the meeting. Providing profiles and salary ranges at the beginning will help the manager better understand the market and properly position the role. It will also save you time later in the process.
2. Partner with the manager to document the skills and competencies required for the role. Guide them through this process and help them understand where they can make tradeoffs. Challenge their hard and fast requirements (do they really need 8 years of Java, or is 5 enough if they can demonstrate the skill?). Bringing the sample profiles and salary market data will help this discussion.
3. Don't accept "not a fit" as a response to a candidate. Probe the manager for specific reasons. Use that information to modify your approach. If the manager needs to be more responsive or cannot give specifics, tell them you will put the role on hold until you get more information. You need to find out whom they want to hire before you can continue.
4. Be responsive to everyone. Respond to hiring managers and candidates within 1 business day, sooner to candidates with other opportunities brewing. Don't be the bottleneck in the process. Block time on your calendar every day for responding and providing updates.
5. Prepare your candidates for the interviews. Spend 15-30 minutes with each candidate reviewing the role, providing background on each person on the interview schedule, and helping them identify the key points from their experience that they should emphasize. Set them up for success, and you will set yourself up for success.
6. Actively debrief all interviewers once interviews are complete. Fully understand where candidates matched the need and where they didn't. Review the requirements and competencies outlined at the beginning of the process and have them rate a candidate against those. If a candidate is deficient in an area, use this information to adjust your sourcing and screening process. When a candidate meets the requirements, coach them to make an offer. Help them understand the costs of wanting to see more candidates. If they continually pass on candidates meeting their own requirements, it is time to close the job and rewrite the job ad. Don't keep chasing your tail.
Providing advice and counsel is a crucial part of being a true partner. Sometimes that means pushing back or pausing the search. Being a partner is also about learning from each other. Take what you hear during the process to adjust your approach.