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The Right Questions to Ask a Hiring Manager

There’s no way around it. Miscommunication between a hiring manager and a recruiter is a major problem. Between a lack of time and overwhelmed recruiters to unrealistic expectations and constantly changing requests from hiring managers, the hiring process often gets significantly more complicated than anyone would like.

We’ve gathered some of the questions that recruiters should be asking hiring managers in order to get communication off on the right foot! When you and your team can communicate effectively and efficiently, you’re going to get more people into the right positions at the right time.

The Questions to Ask

Asking questions not only opens the conversation, but it helps you to build trust and a stable relationship with the person you’re asking. Questions, rather than assumptions or statements, help people to challenge their own thinking, guide their thoughts, and more. But you can’t just ask any random question. In a conversation with a hiring manager (especially the first one), these questions help to guide the entire hiring process and when you ask the right questions upfront you could avoid some headaches in the future.

The Basics

These are the questions you know to ask:

  • What’s the job title?
  • What is the work schedule or hours?
  • What’s the salary range?
  • Where should the candidate be located?
  • What are the must-have skills versus nice-to-have skills?

This is vital information to have before starting the sourcing process, but it’s also good to get them out of the way fairly quickly. Then you can move onto the questions that really open conversation.

The Questions Job Seekers May Ask You

Put yourself in the head of the job seekers you’ll be talking to. What sort of questions will they ask beyond the basics? How can you as a recruiter stand out as prepared for any of those questions?

Asking questions of the hiring manager, like:

  • What does an average day look like?
  • Is there room for growth?
  • What is this role’s impact at the company?

can help you find the perfect candidate AND answer questions that they’ll have. Being empathetic to the candidate’s needs and making that empathy clear to a hiring manager may also help that hiring manager embrace that empathy making the hiring process better for everyone.

Outline the Interview Process

Don’t wait until you’re into the interview process to understand the interview process. The candidates you speak to are going to want to know what the process is like so you need to have a firm grasp. Asking these questions of the hiring manager will also make sure that they have considered the process rather than simply winging it.

Some simple questions to start with are:

  • How many interviews will happen?
  • Who will be in those interviews?
  • What sort of prep do those interviewers need?
  • Will there be any sort of assessment for candidates to complete?

As the conversation goes on, probe a little deeper into any uncertainties the hiring manager seems to have. An equitable and clear interview process is a wonderful way to help diversity as well!

Out of The Box Questions

Not every question has to be a straight and direct one. Sometimes you want to ask some questions that allow for longer and more complex answers to really get a feel for the hiring manager you’re working with.

We outlined some of those questions in our blog post, Bridging the Gap Between Hiring Managers and Recruiters. Take a look to learn more about some great questions to ask as well as some more tips on working effectively with hiring managers.

Plan Ongoing Communication

Don’t get off the phone or end the email without planning when you will next check-in. This is one of the simplest steps you can take as a recruiter to confirm that communication is ongoing and effective.

Make sure to ask things like:

  • How often will check-ins happen?
  • How would you like those check-ins to happen? Email? Phone?
  • When can I expect feedback from you?

Make sure that your expectations are clear and that you understand theirs. By laying out the communication plans early everyone can feel confident focusing on getting the right person into the position rather than constantly rearranging check-ins.

Ultimately, quality communication between a recruiter and a hiring manager relies on good questions, realistic expectations, and mutual respect. While communication problems can still arise, laying out these conversations early and opening the lines of communication well will make the recruiting process smoother for everyone involved!