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Who Are Hiring Managers & What Do They Do?

The term "hiring manager" refers to a role that is significantly involved in a hiring process and likely will be managing the new employee. It’s often confused for the role of someone who oversees all recruiting for an organization but that is an HR leader.

When paired with a structured interview process, hiring managers can be your answer to improving hiring outcomes. If trained correctly, this often underutilized but distinctly important role can be a game-changer for recruiting in our increasingly complicated labor market.

What is a Hiring Manager?

When managers work alongside recruiters and HR managers to oversee the selection and recruiting new talent, they take on the role of a hiring manager.

The amount of preparation they undergo before starting the recruitment process differs greatly depending on the role or organization, which can lead to mixed results. It’s not uncommon for them to receive little to no interview training.

The hiring manager role has two unique qualities:

1. It’s a temporary role.

Anyone in a management-level position could be one at any point in their career. It is not a stand-alone position but an additional responsibility to work with HR or recruiters to fill a role when the company needs a new employee — usually one who will be the manager’s direct report.

2. There’s usually no formal training.

Unlike traditional HR roles where training and certifications exist, there’s often no formal training process on how to be one. This can result in a lot of variation if there isn’t a structured process for managers to follow.

Interview and selection training should be mandatory for managers, but it shouldn’t be complicated. The key to training hiring managers on interview tools and techniques is creating an easy-to-use structured interview workflow with consistency and validity built in.

Hiring manager sitting on a couch selecting candidates

What Do Hiring Managers Do?

Hiring managers are often decision-makers when it comes to hiring.

They are typically the closest leader-level position to the role that’s being advertised and understand the competencies and skills the candidate would need to succeed in the position.

Hiring managers will often be asked to do the following:

Create job descriptions and materials
Create interview content, such as questions
Evaluate candidates
Select candidates

The degree of responsibility placed on hiring managers to do the tasks above, and more, differs greatly depending on the organization, department, and role.

HR professionals may be familiar with these processes. However, managers may be new to how these activities work and will likely need some assistance, especially if it's their first time. This is why providing interview guidelines for managers is especially important.

What do hiring managers do

Interview tips for managers

Part of the hiring manager role is creating a positive candidate experience. While they may seem basic, here are some interviewing do's and don'ts for managers that cannot be understated.

DO:
Start the interview on time
Be fully present during the interview
Give a realistic job preview
Maintain communication throughout the process
DON’T:
Pronounce the candidate’s name incorrectly
Show up unprepared
Purposely intimidate candidates with the complexity of the role
Ghost candidates you don’t want to hire

Hiring Managers vs. Recruiters

Hiring managers and recruiters are both involved in hiring, but they contribute different things to the process.

Recruiters are typically responsible for building a talent pool for a given position. Working with candidates and hiring is part of their job description.

Managers recruit candidates from the talent pool, eventually making the final decision. They are already busy with their regular job duties, and then they temporarily take on the role of hiring manager when they need to fill a position. This is why managers often mentally place this role into the “this is not my job” bucket.

The following actions may occur when someone is asked to be a hiring manager:

Attempting to fill the position with any candidate who seems reasonable
Having a lack of motivation or input
Complaining about getting back to the “real work”
Assuming they know who the best candidate is without thorough vetting
Hiring based on what is either safest or quickest

One can hardly fault managers for feeling less than enthusiastic about this role. To keep hiring manager satisfaction high, it’s necessary to build the recruiter and manager relationship, provide managers with quality candidates, and engage them throughout the recruitment process.

Thumbs up and down

What does satisfaction look like here?

Satisfaction is how a hiring manager would rate the effectiveness of the recruiting process they were involved in. When the manager is satisfied with the new hire, the employee is more likely to be successful (AIHR).

What’s at Stake?

Turnover can cost companies as much as two times an employee’s salary (Gallup). In addition to the financial cost, a mental and emotional strain can come with wrong-fit hires too.

HR teams that plan to use managers should invest the time and energy to teach them how to be good at hiring. Failing to do so could lead to all the negative consequences typically associated with bad hiring processes.

  • Hiring managers who are unable to identify the best candidate
  • Little depth in the interview process
  • Lack of diverse perspectives among new hires
  • Quick turnover of new hires
  • Low productivity among new hires

Take the time to collect their feedback on the process, get aligned and answer questions, explain how following the process can help address their pain points, and help them set realistic expectations. All of this, together with a structured process and adequate training, can improve hiring manager satisfaction and quality of hire.

How To Build a Hiring Process Around Managers

Managers are one of your best assets in the hiring process. Here’s how to build a process that will be easy to follow and set them up for success.

Implement a Structured Interview Process

Standardized processes will ensure your company gets better and more consistent results and will make the hiring manager role feel less like a burden. Create a structured interview process and accompanying interview guide for managers. This eliminates excess ambiguity and reduces the opportunity for hiring biases to make their way into this process.

Wondering how to improve the interview skills of managers? Train managers on how to follow the structured process and ask the interview questions you’ve prepared. This approach is far less time-consuming and nuanced than training them in the art of interviewing. Another way to train interviewers is to use interview intelligence to provide interview coaching, which is only possible when video interviewing.

Video interviewing is beneficial because it also allows you to keep a record of live interviews to help ensure interview compliance and maintain legal defensibility.

How to build your process around hiring managers

What’s an interview guide?

Interview guides contain structured interviewing best practices for managers. An interview guide includes every detail of the process, including the interview questions the manager should ask and the rating criteria for each question.

what is an interview guide

Conduct Panel Interviews

Panel interviews offer specific benefits. A panel interview involves at least one other member of your organization in addition to the hiring manager. When panel interviews are structured, they can provide multiple perspectives, reduce rater variance, increase efficiency, and support legal defensibility since more people are involved in the process. Participating in panel interviews is also a great way to start showing managers how to interview before they hire their reports.

panel interviews

Create an Interview Compliance Policy

It’s important to have a system to ensure managers adhere to the process outlined in the interview guide. Interview compliance policies set an expectation for all interviewers, including managers, around how to conduct interviews that are compliant and fair.

Use the interview compliance framework, a comprehensive set of interview best practices and processes that can be customized to your organization, to create an interview compliance policy. An interview compliance policy is how you align your interview process with organizational values to achieve strategic outcomes.

Check

Interview compliance officer

Some organizations have created a role to oversee the development of the interview compliance policy, monitor adherence to the policy, promote best practices, and more. The Interview Compliance Officer is the single point of accountability for the interview compliance policy.

Leverage Interview Intelligence To Support Managers

Interview intelligence optimizes a human-first structured interview process with artificial intelligence (AI). Instead of using AI to assess candidates or make decisions, interview intelligence is human-centric. It organizes and provides the data interviewers need to make merit-based decisions and meet organizational objectives while improving the full interview process – from interview scheduling to interviewer feedback.

Interview intelligence tools can provide managers with real-time feedback on things like interruption rate, talk time distribution, and adherence to a structured process. They can even help you monitor performance and produce individualized training plans to address areas of improvement.

reduce your risk while using ai

Reduce your risk while using AI

A 2022 SHRM study of 1,688 members found that nearly one in four organizations use automation or AI to support HR-related activities. Only two in five organizations that purchase automation or AI tools from vendors say their vendor(s) are very transparent about the steps taken to ensure the tools prevent or protect against discrimination or bias.

While it may seem like a smart shortcut, you should never review candidates using AI. Due to the black-box nature of AI in recruiting, and the questionable validity of the data on this subject, the level of risk does not justify any rewards it might offer. A much safer option is using AI to assess interviewers.

Why Hiring Managers Are the Secret to Good Hiring

Hiring is not getting any easier. Organizations should anticipate tighter labor markets in the years to come. No matter if your organization is hiring management or frontline workers, the process may change slightly, but hiring managers will always be involved.

Give yourself every advantage you can by giving hiring managers the training and support they need to make merit-based hiring decisions. Hiring managers put candidates face-to-face with the individuals they’ll be reporting to. If you can make that interaction more effective and fruitful, you’re far more likely to get a “yes” from the candidates you want.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Hiring Managers Part of an HR Department?

This is a common misconception — hiring managers are not part of the HR department. They can be any manager in any department of the organization that has a position to fill.

Is the Hiring Manager Different From the Manager?

If the organization is following best practices, the hiring manager will have some sort of oversight over the job they’re hiring for so candidates can discuss specific details of the role and duties with them.

However, the hiring manager may not be related to the role at all. Any employee within an organization may be considered a hiring manager if they are tasked with finding someone to fill an open position. If this is the case, it’s best to let applicants know during the interview so they don’t make assumptions.

Why Do Hiring Managers Need Interview Training?

Interview training helps your organization to make effective hiring decisions, improve candidate experience, promote interview compliance, mitigate the risk of introducing bias into the interview process, and stay protected.

Hiring managers can be your key to interview success – but only if you equip them with the knowledge and materials they need to perform the role confidently and correctly.

How Do You Train a Manager To Interview Candidates?

Here are some tips for training managers on how to interview.

  1. Focus on teaching them how to follow a structured process- this is the most important part.
  2. When it comes to teaching them how to create a positive candidate experience, provide an interview checklist for managers to cover the basics.
  3. Emphasize the ‘why’ and show them how implementing what they’ve learned will help them achieve their goals.
  4. Get them involved in panel interviewing so they can start seeing interview dynamics and learning how important they are to the hiring process.
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