Hiring is a process marked by frequent handoffs. While technology and workflow automation have significantly reduced the number of handoffs required to make a hire, the fundamentals haven’t changed for decades.

The recruiter sources and screens, the hiring manager hires.

But what if that wasn’t the case?

What if the hiring manager didn’t need to be involved in the hiring decision at all?

That’s what we’re going to explore here.

The Problem: Longer Time to Fill, Limited Feedback, and Candidates Lost to Other Opportunities

Hiring managers are central to the conventional hiring process. They bring subject matter expertise, and – ideally – unique insight into the attributes and competencies that make for a great employee.

That said, hiring managers frequently bottleneck their own requisitions. This isn’t intentional, of course. Hiring managers are not hiring professionals. While hiring may be a priority, they have other responsibilities. Reviewing candidates, providing feedback, and interviewing often take a backseat to other duties.

The result? Longer fill times, limited feedback for candidates, and applicants lost to other opportunities. While a lot of this can be solved when recruiters adopt a more consultative approach to hiring manager relationships, much of it is structural.

In some scenarios, recruiters are perfectly positioned to take on the responsibility of hiring.

This isn’t just a pie-in-the-sky idea. At HireVue we’ve seen some of our customers implement this approach with great success. They’re achieving radically decreased fill times (in some cases under 24 hours), increased new hire diversity, and delivering up to 8 hours per week back to each hiring manager. All while boosting recruiter morale and job satisfaction: one company decreased recruiter turnover from 30% to single digits.

That said, recruiter-driven hiring decisions aren’t a fit for every situation. 

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2. Prerequisites for Recruiter-Driven Hiring Decisions

Recruiters aren’t equipped to make hiring decisions across the business. Before experimenting with a recruiter-driven hiring approach, you should consider the following criteria when looking at job families.

  • Every person employed in the job performs the same duties. This ensures recruiters can be adequately equipped with the know-how to make the final hiring decision. If this is not the case, then individual hiring managers are much better suited to hire for the nuances of their specific requisitions.
  • Job duties are routine, standardized, and consistent. Like the previous point, this ensures recruiting teams can take on the responsibility of hiring. If jobs are dynamic in their responsibilities, it will be difficult for recruiters – who are removed from the job’s day-to-day – to develop a sense for who should ultimately be hired.

If a job role meets these criteria, it is likely a good fit for recruiter-driven hiring.  

3 Steps to Make Recruiter-Driven Hiring Work

There are three key steps to take for successful recruiter-driven hiring. At a glance, these are:

  1. Build trust with hiring managers;
  2. Rethink conventional screening; and
  3. Track down your data.

Let’s examine these more in depth.

1) Build Trust with Hiring Managers

Many hiring managers will this approach with some skepticism. Building trust here takes time, and some hiring managers will be more receptive than others. Early on it’s crucial to work with the most open-minded and visionary hiring managers; this way recruiting teams can focus on hiring great employees, rather than fielding skeptical managers’ objections.

We’ve broken the trust-building process down into four steps:

  1. Explain the Benefits & Identify Champions. Hiring managers are always busy, and managers for the types of roles that are a good fit for this approach are no exception. Time they don’t need to spend interviewing can be spent training new hires, manning the shop floor, and performing other necessary duties. Some will be more receptive than others; focus your efforts on getting buy-in from these and delivering them incredible hires.
  2. Perform an Onsite Job Study. Before recruiting teams start hiring, they should go onsite and perform a job study. This entails interviewing current employees and hiring managers to develop a sense for the skills and competencies that lead to success. Ideally, recruiters will also spend a day performing the job. If duties are routine and standardized, this provides crucial insight into the job’s day-to-day.
  3. Develop Interview Questions with Hiring Managers. With a recruiter-driven approach, hiring managers are removed almost entirely from the hiring process. To ensure managers still have some say over the type of employee hired under them, recruiters should work with them to develop standardized interview questions.
  4. Incrementally Prove Success. This is not a recruiting approach that can be rolled out overnight. Instead, you should work with your hiring manager champions to publicize successes internally and take a “pull” approach to adoption.

2) Rethink Conventional Screening

recruiter-driven hiring processRecruiter-driven hiring will be very difficult (if not impossible) if recruiting teams are still phone screening candidates to evaluate their job fit and competencies. Conventional phone screens take too much time to adequately consider many candidates. Since the roles that can be filled by recruiting teams are typically high volume, this won’t work. Information on a resume or job application only goes so far – it’s certainly not enough to make a final hiring decision.

This is where structured, on-demand video interviews come into play. They allow you to scale the deep insight that comes from a conventional phone screen in a way that is convenient, fair, and expedient.

In a structured video interview, candidates should be asked the questions recruiting teams developed in tandem with hiring managers. Since recruiters have already performed an onsite job study to understand what leads to success, they should have a good sense for what makes a good candidate.

Once a great candidate is identified, recruiters should call them to ask any outstanding questions and deliver a job offer.

3) Track Down Your Data

This approach to hiring is not conventional.

That said, HireVue customers who take this approach for their high volume, high turnover roles are seeing:

  • Drastic reductions in time to hire (21+ days to 7 days);
  • Huge lifts in hiring manager productivity (delivering them an entire day each week that would previously be spent interviewing finalists);
  • Significant reductions in recruiter turnover (from 30% to single digits); and
  • Increases in new hire diversity (7% to 33% of new hires from underrepresented groups).

Data is critical to their ongoing success as they prove the value of the approach to other hiring managers and the rest of business. Most TA teams track time to fill, but other metrics are less commonly tracked. If you haven’t already, you should start establishing benchmarks for:

  • Time to Fill
  • New Hire Turnover
  • Hiring Manager Satisfaction (you can measure this quickly with a Net Promoter Score survey)
  • Recruiter Satisfaction
  • Recruiter Turnover
  • Proportion of new hires that come from underrepresented groups (if this is an initiative for your organization – and it should be)

When recruiting teams are empowered to make the final hiring decision, it changes the conversation. Rather than facilitating the hire, they’re responsible for it. The conversation shifts from “What sort of candidates can we find our hiring managers?” to “What sort of people does our organization need?” And that is a much more impactful conversation.

Centralizing hiring decisions is one of the many ways TA leaders can empower recruiters.

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