SmartRecruiters Blog

How HR Can Engage the Hiring Manager

In most hiring scenarios the HR department allows the hiring manager to have final say over who ultimately gets the job. The rationale is since the hiring manager will be working with, and/or managing the new employee, she should have deciding vote. That makes a lot of sense but we, in HR, have seen a lot of favoritism, nepotism and overall abuse of power. HR tries to avoid complaints and litigious situations brought on by that abuse of power. Things like hiring the cute guy/gal, the personal buddies and/or the unqualified family member.

Maybe HR is too focused on risk aversion, hiring for demographics and compliance rather than things like integrity and personality. Maybe the hiring manager is too focused on likeability rather than education, skills and red flags. Or, maybe there is a compromise which will allow the human resources department to engage the hiring manger in the process, and leave the hiring manager happy that HR is involved.


Hiring Manager’s POV

Hiring Managers have long since been frustrated with the lack of control and understanding from the HR department. The hiring manager too often times feel like candidates are pushed upon them by people who are out of touch with the reality of the job. They also feel that HR should not have final say over or veto power since the hiring manager will be working with the individual for 40 or more hours per week. The hiring manager thinks, “They don’t know what the team needs better than I do!”

Human Resource’s POV

HR has been trained to protect the company against possible liability. Everything we are taught is to evaluate and avoid the risk involved with any new process, system, communication, tech, social network and procedures. This is why we tend to draft policies that suggest you refrain from or stop doing certain things. We are quick to try to limit anything that comes long. For instance, the internet, mobile technology and social media, among other things. The human resource professional thinks, “I have to limit the company’s liability in each new hire.”

While the hiring manager has a valid point, it is also short sided because it focuses on only one part of the organization – their team. And whereas HR has a valid point, it also is too constricting. HR needs to change its approach from “this is dangerous and won’t work” to “how can we make this work.” And the hiring manager needs to understand recruiting and talent acquisition play a greater role in organizational culture.

Hiring Managers and HR, Happy Together

The solution seems clear. HR needs to meet with the hiring manager and bring them in on the process. They need to explain to the hiring manager (without boring them to death) why certain aspects of the hiring process must be verifiable and defensible. Recruitment compliance is part of HR’s life, which means it is part of the organization’s life. You never know when you may get audited or an unfair hiring practice charge. This is why HR creates recruitment process which uses metrics, weight questions and scales. We also use assessments and personality tests to remove any bias. But even with all those stipulations there is a way to make it work for both HR and the hiring manager.

The hiring manager needs to be sure to they’ve done a proper job analysis for the role. The hiring manager needs written feedback on the candidate from all relevant stakeholders in the hiring decision. This information needs to be incorporated into the hiring software and talent management processes so it can be used to help select the best candidate.

Think partnership. HR needs to concede the fact that the hiring manager will be working more closely with the new employee. HR should help the hiring manager find and evaluate candidates that satisfy all job requirements, which are developed through collaboration. They should review top candidates together to determine which best fits the team and organization. This way everyone is happy and engaged.


Gladiator In A SuitChris Fields is an HR professional and leadership guy who also helps job seekers write great resumes and blogs. His work can be found at & Photo Credit QuoteFactory and flickr KateTerHaal

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Chris Fields

Chris Fields is an HR professional and leadership guy who blogs and dispenses great (not just good) advice at Cost of Work & ResumeCrusade.