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Hiring Manager vs. Recruiter: What’s the Difference?

Hiring managers and recruiters both help employers find qualified workers, but each position has its own set of responsibilities. The perspectives of these hiring professionals differ, making the decision to use a hiring manager vs. recruiter potentially simpler based on what your company needs. Learn what a hiring manager and recruiter are, how they work together, as well as when to utilize the unique skills of each when you need to fill open positions within your business.

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Hiring manager vs. recruiter: Defining the roles and responsibilities

Though they sound similar, hiring managers and recruiters have very different roles within the Human Relations realm.

What hiring managers are and what they do

Hiring managers are responsible for making final hiring decisions. They are often a member of the team that’s hiring. For example, the manager of a content marketing team may be the hiring manager for a content writer role. The primary responsibilities of a hiring manager include defining criteria for a successful hire, interviewing candidates and making the final selection with the help of other members of the hiring team.

Responsibilities of a hiring manager

Hiring managers are ultimately responsible for the people their companies hire. These essential tasks make up the backbone of a hiring manager’s job while seeking new talent:

  • Deciding when and who to hire: The foremost responsibility of a hiring manager is knowing when to hire—and who. They build job descriptions, define must-have requirements and outline expectations for the candidates recruiters send their way.
  • Collaborating with recruiters: Hiring managers work closely with HR departments and recruiters during the hiring process. They communicate their requirements clearly so everyone understands what needs to happen. They also keep special considerations in mind, such as transferable skills in lieu of education.
  • Selecting candidates for interviews: Hiring managers review candidate information provided by recruiters, then decide who should get interviews. They typically base these decisions on what each candidate offers and how well they’d potentially fit within the prevailing company culture.
  • Interviewing short-listed candidates: While recruiters sometimes handle preliminary interviews, hiring managers ultimately meet with short-listed job seekers and make the final decisions. They use these sessions to explore skillsets and determine mindset and outlook via such techniques as asking behavioral questions that anticipate the potential worker’s actions and reactions.
  • Deciding who to hire for the position: After evaluating how job seekers handle the interview, hiring managers seek feedback from relevant teams and narrow down candidates. To do this, they use all the information learned from each candidate and select those who seem more likely to fit in the role and drive team success.
  • Making and negotiating job offers: Hiring managers extend candidates job offers after making their final decisions. During this process, the hiring manager and new hire discuss and agree upon details like pay, benefits and starting date.
  • Onboarding new hires: Once someone is hired, hiring managers onboard them into the company with any additional training they need. They also help new hires integrate seamlessly within their new teams.
  • Managing development and performance: After the onboarding process, hiring managers have continued responsibility for new hires. They deliver feedback to encourage professional development within their new roles and measure performance against key benchmarks.

What recruiters are and what they do

Recruiters work with HR departments and hiring managers, and they may be employees of your business or contracted from an outside consultant. They specialize in identifying talent that meets a business’s requirements and convincing them to apply for open positions. Though hiring managers make the final decisions, recruiters typically handle the legwork leading up to finalizing employment.

Responsibilities of a recruiter

Recruiters have a range of responsibilities that support hiring managers looking to onboard qualified candidates. These duties include:

  • Analyzing job requirements: Finding the right people requires recruiters to understand the job’s requirements and any qualifications employers demand. They research the competencies and experience of potential hires to find those who fit the profile.
  • Finding potential candidates: Recruiters use their extensive networks to source and identify job seekers who fulfill the job requirements. Not content to simply find active job seekers, many also reach out to those who aren’t currently seeking employment when they find a good match.
  • Creating candidate short-lists: Recruiters review applications and resumes, hold screening interviews and create short-lists of potential hires who tick off all the boxes on the hiring manager’s must-have list. They sometimes use tests and assessments to gauge candidate quality before turning things over to the hiring manager.
  • Tracking candidate applications: Recruiters use databases to track each potential hire’s information. They also keep tabs on the hiring process and document interview feedback and communications between candidates and employers.
  • Negotiating hiring packages: While hiring managers make the ultimate decision when it comes to job offers, recruiters nevertheless play a large role in relaying information between job seekers and employers and negotiating terms, including desired salary and benefits and other perks like work-from-home opportunities.
  • Curating good relationships: Recruiters not only build good relationships with employers but also with the job candidates they send to those companies. Since everyone benefits from a successful hiring process, recruiters usually serve as go-betweens when potential hires want more information about the company, making a high level of trust and rapport necessary.
  • Researching market trends: The most successful recruiters are proactive when it comes to knowing what’s trending. They stay on top of salary ranges to remain competitive, learn all they can about best hiring practices and regulations and always keep an eye out for new talent within their industries.

Recruiter vs. hiring manager: The hiring process

It’s counter-intuitive to think of a hiring manager vs. recruiter on an either/or basis—these two types of professionals work together to support more effective hiring. Let’s look at how the process works.

  1. The hiring manager lets HR know they need another staff member, whether to address an increased workload, fill an open job or handle new projects.
  2. The hiring manager then provides a recruiter with a list of requirements and qualifications necessary in a new hire. Elements that inform the hiring process here include salary range, education, skills and level of experience, plus where the new hire should fit within the reporting structure of the company.
  3. The hiring manager and recruiter meet to discuss the pace and process of hiring for the vacant job, ensuring everyone’s on the same page about the type of candidate to hire. During this collaboration, the two professionals finalize the job description, hammer out deal-breaking qualifications and agree on the specifics of the open position.
  4. Next, the recruiter develops a strategy for locating, attracting and screening a diverse array of suitable job seekers. This might include advertising on job boards, putting out feelers with professional networks or digging deep into application piles to see if the best candidate has already applied to the company.
  5. After receiving resumes and applications, recruiters start narrowing down prospects into short-lists. They analyze education, skills and qualifications relevant to the job vacancy and determine which potential hires have what it takes to succeed in the given role. Once selected, recruiters perform initial screening interviews, either in person or via phone.
  6. When recruiters identify those who match the company’s needs, they turn over the process to the hiring manager. The hiring manager then analyzes each potential hire’s information, paying careful attention to recruiter notes, to further screen out those who may not fit well within the business or who are otherwise unsuitable for the position.
  7. Once the hiring manager narrows down selections and performs a secondary interview, they extend the job offer to the candidate. During this process, they hammer out such details as salary and benefits plus the responsibilities of the role itself, then set a date for starting the new job.

While it’s tempting to debate the need for a hiring manager vs. recruiter when you need new staff, it’s best to look at these professionals as partners. Knowing what to expect of each helps you better locate and hire talent that meets your business’s needs.

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