The Missing Link to Partnering with the Business in Talent Acquisition

Feb 10, 2016

One of the most critical aspects of having an effective talent acquisition team is to have strong relationships with the business you support.  Often, the lack of partnership between the recruiters and leadership is the missing link to success. In a recent study of hiring manager satisfaction, the voice of the hiring managers was compiled and it identified the following set of expectations that drive delight:

  1. Provide quality candidates

  2. Know the job

  3. Provide insights early in the process

  4. Be creative on sourcing talent

  5. Importance of speed late in the process


These expectations are often overlooked or taken for granted when a talent acquisition organization becomes complacent or is overworked. Taking the time to ensure that the hiring process can meet these business needs is essential to improving the relationship with the business.


What is an effective Talent Acquisition business partner?

Let’s explore what successful business partnering looks like.  Success in partnering with the business is a direct result of achieving balance with a few key factors.  These factors include an understanding of the business and culture, managing the process and hiring manager expectations and leveraging insights and data.


Now, let’s dig deeper into what the hiring managers had to say and explore ways to meet and exceed their expectations:


Provide quality candidates

  • This one is sort of a “no-brainer”, but nevertheless one of the most important expectations of the hiring manager.  Often, the disconnect is the definition of quality candidates.  This is where the intake process is essential.  Bringing candidate samples and spending time talking about what is a quality candidate with the hiring manager is essential.  Another best practice is to agree to calibrate after the manager has met with 1-2 candidates to ensure you are hitting the mark.  A possible key measurement is to allow the hiring manager to rate the quality of slate, so this standard can be measured throughout the process.

Know the job

  • When you know the job, it gives the hiring manager confidence in your ability to source the right candidates. There is nothing like walking a mile in the shoes of your future candidates. Picking out major job categories, actually being on the job or shadowing employees currently in that role is an outstanding way to truly learn the job.  The hiring manager will be assured that you understand what is required for that position when you are able to use proper job language and can clearly communicate the job culture.

Provide insights early in the process

  • This turns out to be one of those hiring manager needs that will be an unexpected way to delight them and overachieve expectations.  It is not something the hiring manager will ask for unless all of their basic needs are met.  However, a recruiter that can provide insights will add tremendous value and stand out as an expert in the eyes of the hiring manager. Timing is everything, and insights must be offered early in the process as a means to demonstrate expertise in the craft of recruiting.  Examples of data to bring to the intake session are; candidate supply and demand, specific time to fill numbers, average interviews to hire or the best source of candidates for the job in question.

Be creative on sourcing talent

  • The hiring manager wants to see that you are always looking for effective and innovative ways to source top talent.  Sharing with them what works best to fill the position, and more importantly what new techniques/tools you are using is music to their ears.  Most of the hiring managers we spoke to in our study shared that when recruiters did this, they felt more connected to the hiring process. In a few cases, they shared that they were disappointed when the recruiter did not ask them their ideas on innovative sourcing techniques.  This is a great way to involve them once you have demonstrated your ability to combine proven methods with innovative methods. Bottom line:  begin with what works, then get creative.

Importance of speed late in the process

  • Speed in the hiring process is one of those things that varies greatly by company and team.  For many companies, quality is of most importance and speed is secondary.  For others, they demand quality and speed and understand they will pay more for it.  What we uncovered in our research is that managers were focused on speed once a strong candidate was identified. It was acceptable for the recruiter to take their time on sourcing and qualifying candidates, as long as they were quick to hire the candidate the hiring manager selected to fill the position.



In closing, the hiring manager has a set of needs which range from expectations to delighters.  A great way to build a sustainable and high-performing talent acquisition team is to start with the basic needs, then have a plan to move to the delighters.  Of course, having a way to measure your improvement is essential.  Otherwise, you will continue to try new things without truly understanding the impact you are having.  


: Recruiting, Performance Management