Recruiters and hiring managers may sound as though they’re fulfilling the same function, but job applicants and firms alike ignore the differences between them at their peril. In this article, we will explain the distinguishing characteristics of these two positions, discuss what questions candidates should ask of each, and detail why both need to work with each other in the hiring process.
What’s the difference between a hiring manager and a recruiter?
Legal job candidates sometimes ask, “Is a recruiter the same as a hiring manager?” It’s easy to understand why they may do so since both titles sound as though they do the same thing, namely bring new talent into an organization. However, while these positions serve a similar function, knowing what the difference between a hiring manager and a recruiter is matters because they have significantly different roles.
What is a hiring manager? In short, a hiring manager is the person directly responsible for finalizing the hiring of a specific person for a specific position. Sometimes this manager works in a generalized role, such as in an HR department. Other times, a hiring manager will be the head of a department in which the candidate will work.
A recruiter has less authority and a more specialized role than the hiring manager. This position seeks out the talent that he or she thinks would work well in a particular job. When conceptualizing a job recruiter vs hiring manager, remember that a recruiter will usually have the first and most contact with the candidate, but doesn’t do the actual hiring.
Hiring manager vs. recruiter: Who does what?
While recruiter vs hiring manager positions sound alike, they perform radically different tasks. In this section, we will explain what exactly those tasks are and how they shape interactions with candidates.
What Does a Hiring Manager Do?
The very first responsibility that a hiring manager has is to identify a job vacancy and determine if it needs filling. Unlike a recruiter, a hiring manager’s primary task involves the effective and efficient running of a particular department and bringing on new employees is simply one part of that undertaking. Once hiring managers decide to seek a new hire, they draft job descriptions and set hiring criteria, a distinctive that makes sense because hiring managers are intimately involved with day-to-day operations.
When time comes to consider a potential hire, a hiring manager is involved in the interview process and eventually makes the final hiring decision. After selecting a particular person, the hiring manager then negotiates pay and benefits, then onboards the hire into his or her new job.
What Does a Recruiter Do?
Where a hiring manager handles the high-level issues related to bringing on new employees, recruiters deal with the nitty-gritty of finding the appropriate people. After receiving the hiring guidelines, recruiters construct a recruitment strategy. Part of that strategy involves creating a promotional campaign. Recruiters will also develop or leverage candidate networks in order to let potential applicants know about the opening.
Part of the recruiter and hiring manager relationship involves the recruiter serving as the face of the firm or company, which is why recruiters usually pre-screen candidates and introduce qualified applicants to the hiring manager. If the hiring manager decides to hire an applicant, the recruiter will extend the job offer and sometimes also assists with onboarding the new hire once the offer has been accepted.
Key Questions to Ask Each One
Because hiring managers and recruiters fill different roles and perform different tasks, job applicants need to ask different questions of both — and both managers and recruiters need to expect unique queries from applicants. In this section, we will talk about recruiter vs hiring manager interviews and key questions to ask each one.
Questions To Ask a Hiring Manager
The main thing to keep in mind when speaking with a hiring manager is that he or she deals with the daily operations of the organization. This person intimately understands what the position will entail, and any questions asked should take that into account, questions such as:
- What does a typical day look like for someone in this role? Not only does this clarify responsibilities for the applicant, but it also lets the interviewer know the candidate is detail minded.
- What kind of qualities should your ideal candidate possess? Plenty of potential hires reach the interview table — only for both parties to realize that the individual isn’t ideal. This question clarifies matters for everyone involved.
- What kind of challenges will this position entail? Jobs are multi-faceted, and it’s good to know if an applicant is fit for every element.
- What can you tell me about your company’s culture? “Fit” is a notoriously difficult thing to quantify, but interviewers and interviewees ignore it at their peril.
Questions To Ask a Recruiter
When considering an interview with recruiter vs hiring manager, remember that recruiters exist to sell the company to you — so let them sell! Ask them questions that will help you understand how the company works and how you would fit into it. Some of these may include:
- Why did the company create this position and what’s its history? Some positions come with established track records, whereas others are brand new. Understanding the nature of the job opening can help applicants know if they’d fit well in it.
- How can I stand out from other candidates? Recruiters see everyone applying for a particular position, and they can let applicants know exactly how they can best contribute value.
- What is the next step in the hiring process? Sometimes candidates can feel lost in the hiring process, waiting on the culmination of some mysterious step they don’t know about. Recruiters can help clear up the proceedings.
Hiring manager vs recruiter? Collaboration is the key
Sometimes recruiting new talent really can feel like a hiring manager vs talent acquisition affair. It needn’t, though. The best kind of hiring involves collaborative effort between a hiring manager, a recruiter, and the rest of the departmental team. By involving multiple parties, firms can ensure that overpromising gets reined in, the correct applicants get considered, and the people who will eventually end up working with them have their say on the matter. Working together is a win-win proposition for everyone, ensuring that recruiters remain honest and that hiring managers don’t overlook worthy hires.
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