You might be familiar with the terms “talent advisor,” “talent scientist,” or “talent influencer.” All of these describe different parts of the modern recruiter’s responsibilities, but they all share a single core: empowering recruiters to focus on really high impact activities, rather than the transactional and administrative tasks they’re traditionally charged with.
In our latest eBook “The Empowered Recruiter: Leading Empowered Recruiting Teams”, we investigated five big areas where recruiters can make a massive impact.
In this post, we’re doing a deep dive into one of those areas: consulting with hiring managers.
1) Advise on Job Requirements
Hiring managers often do not have the same perspective as recruiters when it comes to the minimum requirements of a position. While their subject matter expertise about the job should play a role in the job’s requirements, it should not be the end-all-be-all, particularly in a tight job market.
Empowered recruiters can challenge unrealistic expectations - like 2-5 years experience for an entry level role - and work with hiring managers to strike a balance between the ideal skills and experience and the skills and experience realistically available in the market.
How recruiters advise on job requirements also plays a role in improving workplace diversity. It’s well observed that, generally speaking, women are significantly less likely to apply when they do not meet 100% of a job’s listed requirements. Reevaluating a job’s minimum requirements so they are inclusive of many backgrounds makes the job more accessible; you can cast a wider net.
2) Come with Data
Not too long ago, the recruiter-hiring manager relationship was one-way. Hiring managers would open a requisition, hold an intake meeting with a recruiter, and explain what they needed for the role.
Today it’s evolved into a two-way relationship, in large part due to the data recruiters have at their disposal. While a hiring manager walks into an intake meeting with a general idea of the skills and experience the ideal hire might have, the recruiter can walk in with robust data. This includes:
- External talent market analysis. This data provides useful context around the external supply of talent. For example, if you are filling a Customer Service Agent requisition, how many potential candidates are there in your area? Are there roles with similar skill sets (like Financial Clerks or Bank Tellers) that could also be targeted? How competitive do you anticipate hiring to be, given the roles’ current unemployment rate and rate of growth? These are all questions that a talent market analysis provides answers to, giving crucial context to hiring managers.
- Internal benchmarks. Recruiters set realistic expectations when they bring internal benchmarking data to the table. Where a talent market analysis provides general context for a given role, internal benchmarks display how that context plays out in your organization. Based on previous hires, how long should a hiring manager expect the requisition to stay open? How many candidates should they expect to interview? These are questions internal benchmarking data can answer.
When empowered recruiters come to an intake meeting with robust data, the conversation changes. It becomes less about what a hiring manager wants, and more about how to get them what they need.
3) Refine Job Descriptions
How old are your job descriptions? It’s not unusual to see the same job description float up year after year; some seem to stick around for decades.
Given what we know about the importance of the job description (a more scientific approach to job description attracts 3x as many highly qualified applicants) this is an area recruiters can have an impact on everything from candidate pipeline to employment brand.
- Open up job requirements. We mentioned in #1 that certain focuses (like requiring a very specific background) can lead to highly qualified job seekers disqualifying themselves. The job description is where the candidate-facing portion of this plays out. If a hiring manager is intent on a specific background that is too exclusive, try putting it under the “preferred qualifications” part of the job descriptions.
- Rethink the focus. Most job descriptions read like a list of demands. Refocusing on what opportunities the job provides candidates (professional development, work autonomy, great management, etc) attracts 3x as many highly qualified applicants, and makes your opportunities stand out.
- Choose words wisely. Some ways of describing opportunities send potential applicants a clear signal that they are not welcome. For example, describing the ideal candidate in highly gendered terms (think: “rockstar”) can turn off job seekers who don’t identify with the implied gender.
Just recently, a study from the University of Chicago revealed that “equal opportunity statements” on job descriptions actually made minority job seekers 30% less likely to apply. While these are required by law for public employers and government contractors, they are frequently appended to the bottom of the job description with little context, and feel out of place.
This is an area where recruiters can go the extra step and prove that their workplace is inclusive with content like employee testimonials and hiring manager videos.
4) Support Follow-Up
While many hiring managers would like to keep in contact with the highest potential candidates, it frequently gets lost in the day-to-day. Empowered recruiters can support hiring manager follow-up, providing updates on each candidate and helping hiring managers get into a follow-up cadence.
When hiring managers follow up at a set cadence, candidates know where they stand and stay engaged.
5) Coach on Compliance
While many hiring managers are familiar with interview compliance law, others - particularly those new to interviewing - are not. Some may not even be aware that asking the wrong interview questions can have legal ramifications.
Coaching hiring managers on what they can and can’t ask might not be the most inspiring activity, but it does have a large impact. A single improper question might result in a lawsuit, which can have any number of downstream ramifications, from legal costs to employment brand.
Empowered recruiters can also automated this to a certain extent, creating materials for new hiring managers and interviewing “how-to’s.”
6) Design Predictive Interviews
When it comes to predicting success on the job, structured interviews are significantly more predictive than unstructured interviews. That said, some question types work better than others. Recruiters can work with hiring managers to design question sets that elicit responses predictive of job success.
Examples of predictive question types include:
- Past behavior questions. Past behavior is a great predictor of future behavior. Responses to these types of questions give insight into a candidate’s problem-solving ability and ability to work under pressure.
- Situational judgment questions. Situational judgment questions ask candidates to describe the actions they would take in a hypothetical situation. These questions provide insight into a candidate’s thought processes and adaptability.
- Scenario-based questions. Ask candidates to act out the actions they would take in a hypothetical scenario. These questions deliver insight into a candidate’s communication ability and ability to work in teams.
If you’re using on-demand video interviews to screen and evaluate candidates, recruiters can work with hiring managers to look back on past requisitions and review the questions that yielded the best responses. This way you can take an iterative approach to interview design, continually refine question sets, and develop a more predictive interview.
The Empowered Recruiter
This was a deeper dive into one of the five big areas empowered recruiters can have a more strategic impact, particularly if their time is freed up from administrative tasks. Read about the other four areas in the eBook “The Empowered Recruiter: Leading Empowered Recruiting Teams”.