Recruiting through line managers
There is a dirty saying in the recruitment industry: “HR probably stands for Human Resistance!” While that is not entirely true, recruiters usually have to interact mainly with HR in the client companies that they place candidates into. More often than not, HR professionals handling recruitment are merely administrative in their duties. Why? Because they are merely acting as recruitment process assistants for the line managers.
Line managers are decision makers
Crucially, having contact with a line manager can make or break your placement. Handling a salary negotiation with a human resources person at a company is like dealing with someone that can say no, but not yes. The most important thing to remember is that you deal with the decision maker. You will not make (m)any placements otherwise.
If you don’t know what the position is about or what the new employee is supposed to be doing, phone the line manager. If you want to know more about what they can be paid, ask the decision-making line manager. HR, who has simply received a document and perhaps a short briefing on the role, just doesn’t know, or has to best-guess the answer. Don’t work on third party information, go to the source.
But we have to deal with HR
Dealing with HR isn’t always that bad. More and more often, human resources professionals are getting involved in the recruitment process from a business-focused point of view instead of an administrative one. That said, the average HR person is still clueless about many important parts of the job, and often a junior staff member who is not keen to constantly go back to the line manager with your questions.
The ideal situation is that you have HR contact (the formal route) with line manager contact as well (for questions and a meeting for each new role). Deepen your relationship with the company by meeting and interacting with more and more employees.
How do I start dealing with managers?
Mostly, you just simply phone them. Sometimes there are rules of engagement with a firm, where you have to deal through HR, which is fine, but at the start of the relationship, tell them that for each new position, you must have at least a call, if not a meeting, with the line manager responsible, otherwise you will not spend as much time on the assignment. I cannot remember one client I had who did not allow me to speak to the line manager – who is the person I was recruiting for.
Remember, I am not saying that HR people are unprofessional or “the pits”. They are very often excellent workers and friendly people with a hard ask from management or directors. They have a very challenging and difficult job to do and should be praised far more than they are. That said, they should also allow recruiters more contact with line managers, as this would improve the entire process for all, most especially the job seekers that may one day work for the company.
Simply put, recruiters, if you are dealing with anyone who is not a decision maker, they simply cannot answer all your questions and this will reduce the chance of you making a placement. Dealing with managers is fun, interesting and helpful in finding your candidates a home.