You may have entered recruiting thinking that you’ll be taking all the hiring decisions. You may also have developed all those skills and a suitable mindset, which one must have when assessing candidates.

Yet, after a while, you’ve realized that you have a limited decision-making power, when it comes to actual hiring, as there’s always a hiring manager that can screw things up, by choosing the worst of the three shortlisted candidates or by scaring the best candidate away with whatever it is that (s)he does.

After that realization, as a great recruiter you are, you may have even tried to consult and help some hiring managers. But all in vain, as they always know best… So what should you do in this case?

Before proceeding, I’d like to share with you a belief of mine. Apart from sourcing and assessing candidates, the recruiter’s job is to train hiring managers, for whom (s)he is recruiting. Educating your managers improves the quality of your hires and subsequently the quality and effectiveness of your work as a recruiter.

For sure, this is not accomplished easily. The culture of your organization may not be welcoming such HR “intrusions” or it’s just that your hiring managers have been doing it wrong for long before you got there. So who are you, that’s going to change this?!

No matter the reasons and the difficulties you face, it’s vital that you educate hiring managers of your organization and for that is why I’ll be sharing some tips with you, on how to approach this hard element of your job. An element about which very few talks, but many lose their sleep over it.


You should start your efforts small. Begin by identifying just one hiring manager with whom you’ll work. Think of this person as a strong promoter, who’s gonna be your biggest fan, since you’ll have helped him build a great team. This eventually, according to the word of mouth approach, will eventually come to the ears of other hiring managers and it won’t be long before you’ll be the person to go when it comes to recruiting a new team member. Sounds good, right?

The things you need to think when selecting your “first to coach manager” are:


How long has this person been in his/her role? Managers that have recently stepped up to their role, are more eager to learn and do a good job. They are more open to suggestions and help, especially from HR. If you approach them with a strong value proposition, which will potentially influence their image and their team’s performance, you will definitely catch their attention.


Focus on outgoing people. This trait will ensure that many more will learn about your expertise and willingness to help because outgoing people have a larger social circle, with which they share helpful information. Also, try to pick well-respected individuals in your organization and with influence. Taking into account that those are role models and capable of influencing other, the benefits of partnering with them are evident.

Having onboard eager to learn, outgoing and influential hiring managers, it becomes more likely for other hiring managers to follow and start approaching you for guidance.


So, you have “convinced” a hiring manager to accept your guidance. But there’s so much to cover. Interview structure, biases, competencies, different types of fit, candidate experience, note keeping and the list goes on and on… From where do you begin?

Again, start small. Start by exploring the interview structure and its importance. This will constitute a framework for the interaction between the hiring manager and the candidate. Some of the topics you should cover are:

  • Preparation
  • Why it’s important to make the other person feel at ease during an interview process?
  • Patterns in past behavior, predictors of future performance
  • The role of the environment and different types of fit
  • Describing the role
  • Providing candidates with essential information
  • After-interview steps

Make sure to conduct a few interviews together and then have a discussion about it. This way, you’ll understand how the hiring manager thinks, what he understands and what requires more effort from your end.

Another element, which is frequently an area of conflict between hiring managers and recruiters, is hiring manager’s focus on NOW. Hiring managers’ number one priority is often to cover the vacancy with an experienced individual. An individual, who preferably, would have done a similar job before.

What hiring managers must understand is that while experienced employees could perform the job from day 1, the very same person will ask for more money and probably won’t be as committed and satisfied as someone else with less experience. Employees need to feel that each role develops them. If this criterion is not met, they may leave the company, given the right opportunity.


Your end goal should be to create a mindset, which will shape hiring managers’ perception about the candidates and the process itself. A perception that will help them understand the complexity and the contributing factors of a great hire. All your sessions should encompass this basic principle.

Undeniably, being a partner to an hiring-manager on top of all other activities you do, may be overwhelming. But it is also extremely rewarding.

Final advice for all recruiters out there: start small, be consistent and focus on people that can actually change and benefit from your coaching. This is all you can do, and believe me, by doing it you’ll be improving tremendously your hiring decisions, your employer brand and your candidate experience!


📌 Editor’s Pick at The HR Gazette.

Recruiting is a topic dear to my heart, so I really hope to have helped you in a way. Share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me and make sure you don’t miss my future posts by following me on LinkedIn. Finally, if you’d like to get in touch, my email is or you can message me on LinkedIn.

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