What’s the Difference Between a Hiring Manager vs Recruiter?

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interviewee sitting across from a hiring manager vs recruiter

As companies look to grow their employee headcount in the new year, terms such as “hiring manager” and “recruiter” will be tossed around as growth plans are implemented. At times, firms will partake in a recruiter vs hiring manager debate, in which they evaluate whether hiring one of the two positions will help them achieve their expansion goals.

While it may seem as though these two terms are interchangeable, the truth of the matter is that they are not. While there is some overlap in these positions, these titles represent two different job functions with entirely different practices and objectives.

Before answering the “hiring manager vs recruiter” question and picking a side between the two, we must first understand how each role functions within or on behalf of a given organization.

What Does A Job Recruiter Do?

A job recruiter is an individual who is responsible for sourcing talent on behalf of an organization (the client). Recruiters can work as external partners, meaning they work directly for an agency that oversees recruitment activities for the client. They may also work for the client directly, in-house.

The primary responsibilities of a job recruiter include conversing with candidates, conducting background checks, identifying references, and proposing candidates to hiring managers and other internal members of the client’s team to fill vacant positions.

For a recruiter to identify candidates for a client, they must first take the time to meet with hiring managers. This develops a strong understanding of the organization’s goals, culture, and technical components. Having the ability to engage in technical conversations with hiring managers is one of the essential crafts that recruiters need to master to lead successful recruitment campaigns.

By developing a strong sense of how the company functions, what kind of technology stack is in place, and what operational gaps currently exist, a quality recruiter can develop a strategic plan to source candidates that best fit the company profile. Suppose a recruiter asks detailed questions when learning about the organization they are recruiting for. They can use the answers and information they receive as key talking points with candidates during the search.

Now the question shifts from “What does a job recruiter do?” to “Which kind of recruiter should I hire?”

Internal vs External Recruiters

Internal recruiters need to have a pulse on the overall company culture. They need to know how the company’s compensation packages work, the benefits offered to their employees, the pay scale ranges that must be made public if they are operating in a fair pay equity state, and more. These factors must be considered during the internal recruiter’s screening calls.

External recruiters are tasked with the same responsibilities, but their technical competency is expected to be higher than an internal recruiter. Whereas an internal recruiter may have experience recruiting within a given industry, they may not be well-versed in recruiting for multiple positions across different departments of their organization.

Suppose an external recruiter is being brought on board by an organization via an agency. In that case, they will likely be expected to have experience in recruiting within the industry and for many roles. There is often an expectation of a higher efficiency regarding the overall recruitment process. If an organization dedicates funds and external resources to a recruitment endeavor, its leaders will expect reduced time-to-fill speed.

Beyond that, they must be comfortable participating in conversations using role-specific terminology. Understanding the minute details and being able to relay that information to hiring managers who may or may not manage the vacant roles in question is a crucial skill for external recruiters to master.

Additional Benefits of External Recruiters

Another critical aspect of the external recruitment role is securing quality references. References can take days or weeks for a candidate to produce. An external recruiter is usually tasked with requesting and securing these documents before the hiring manager reviews candidates. This is an overlooked aspect of the recruiter vs hiring manager debate, as hiring managers will usually only ask candidates for references at the tail end of the interviewing process.

One of the benefits of leveraging an external recruiter is gaining access to a network of professionals. They have close ties with thousands of professionals who may be actively or passively seeking a new role. An in-house recruiter may be a more inexpensive option up front but may have a less diverse network of professionals, which may end up costing an organization more in the long run.

Before you think you’ve solved the hiring manager vs recruiter dilemma, we need to look at the other side of the equation and learn more about how a hiring manager functions. Read more to discover the advantages of hiring through external recruitment.

What Does A Hiring Manager Do?

A recruiter’s main task is to source quality candidates for the client or their employer if they work in-house.

This is not the primary responsibility of the hiring manager. People often misconstrue this in the recruiter versus hiring manager discussion.

So, what does a hiring manager do?

In some organizations, a dedicated human resources representative will serve as the hiring manager. However, this is not always the case.

Often, a hiring manager is a team member within an organization who has been tasked internally with filling a role on their own team or a team they support. A senior accountant can function as a hiring manager, as could a corporate controller or a marketing lead. Their core responsibilities are those detailed in their job description. They are primarily focused on fulfilling their duties within their role while also trying to add a new team member to their organization simultaneously.

The hiring manager is essential to the recruitment process. They play a key role in enabling the recruiter to source talent and host the initial meetings with candidates.

A hiring manager needs to be an expert in position and candidate assessment. In other words, they must be able to provide recruiters with concise answers to their questions pertaining to the position (key skills, technology stack, past experiences, etc.). When tasked with reviewing proposed candidates, they should have a clear idea of what attributes are the most important for the organization’s purposes.

A Hiring Manager in Action

In the early stages of a recruitment campaign, a hiring manager usually oversees advertising campaigns promoting the job listing. This includes writing the job description, posting to job boards, and monitoring the ATS for inbound leads. They then sift through applications to identify the most promising candidates who have submitted information online.

Hiring managers are salaried employees whether they are dedicated HR hiring managers or employees from other departments. These individuals are not charged a fee for their recruitment efforts, unlike an external agency recruiter.

There are downsides to this approach if internal hiring managers lack the tools to navigate the next wave of hiring.

To attract the right candidates when promoting a job through advertisements and job boards, you must keyword-optimize the listing. Despite this, many listings will continue to attract applications from botted accounts, people who are simply submitting applications for unemployment purposes, and individuals whose resumes do not match the job description at all.

Even with all that clutter to sift through, many hiring managers still rely on these systems.

A Blended Approach

Agencies and external recruiters typically enter the scene to alleviate pressure. They won’t always necessarily assist with the tasks assigned to the hiring managers. They will introduce new talent pools and resources from other markets to reduce the reliance on ATS systems. Without an agency’s support, these resources are simply not accessible.

The external recruiter is not duplicating the work of the hiring manager. They are enhancing it with additional candidates in the pipeline that are sound technical and cultural fits for the client. Recruiters do not seek to threaten the hiring manager’s position, nor do they expect to fill every vacant role the client has by themselves.

When done correctly, the external recruiter acts as a strategic partner, collaborating with internal recruiting staff to identify the right individuals for the organization’s open roles. The recruiter serves to bridge the gap between the hiring manager’s objectives and the resources they cannot access internally. A close relationship between the two parties is the difference between a streamlined recruitment process and a fractured and disjointed one.

Daley And Associates

Many recruiting firms struggle to meet client’s expectations largely because they refuse to embrace personal relationships with key team members.

At Daley And Associates, our team of expert recruiters applies a hands-on approach to help clients find the best candidates for the job listings that are the most difficult for their internal teams to place by themselves. Fostering personal relationships with our clients and their key stakeholders is integral to our recruitment philosophy.

Our team isn’t concerned with the hiring manager vs recruiter battle. We simply do not view the relationship that way.

Comprised of subject matter experts and niche-oriented individuals with years of recruiting experience, our team leverages data analytics and industry research to advise our clients on current market conditions and the most effective ways to navigate their industry-specific challenges successfully.

The way we see it, there is no “recruiter vs hiring manager” debate. Instead, a strong alliance between our recruiters and internal staff that works in unison to achieve our client’s recruiting goals.

Our areas of staffing expertise include accounting, finance, administration, human resources, and marketing, information technology, legal, and life science. If you are interested in developing a strong relationship with our recruitment experts, please get in touch with a member of the Daley And Associates team today.

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