February 20, 2024
March 20, 2024

Aligning expectations with your hiring managers

Paula Moniz

Imagine starting a new search with a Hiring Manager to find the right person for a specific niche job. They outline their expectations as a set of unique challenges:

  • A commitment to diversity, requiring at least 5 weekly candidates from different backgrounds and genders to bring diversity to the talent pool.
  • Confidentiality, as this was a new strategic role within the company.
  • Deliver high-quality candidates from outstanding organisations that will elevate their existing team within a confined salary range with limited flexibility.
  • They're not just looking for candidates on paper; they're demanding a unique skill set that goes beyond a CV or LinkedIn profile.
  • Urgency beforehand; they need someone onboard ASAP, placing the weight of time on your shoulders.
  • Despite not being an expectation, you had to navigate divergent opinions between the Hiring Manager and the leadership team regarding the role.

Sound familiar? If you've found yourself in a similar situation, Acelr8 has a solution for you. This article will explore effective strategies to navigate the complexities of challenging stakeholders and transform these obstacles into opportunities, aligning expectations and fostering seamless collaboration.

The art of working with Hiring Managers is very complex, and it doesn’t look like there's a magical formula or set of steps to follow to achieve an outstanding partnership, but there are a couple of things to pay attention to, here are some of them:

Understand the challenges

Embarking on a new project is like entering unknown territory. It's more than understanding role specifics; it's about diving into the Hiring Manager's world to reveal their pain points. As the Little Prince wisely said, the essential is often invisible to the eye. To discover these unseen challenges, ask questions that go beyond the surface, aiming to forge a genuine understanding.

Understanding a Hiring Manager's needs extends beyond the surface level. It involves navigating deep into the complexity of their operations, team dynamics, and goals. It's about asking questions that transcend the obvious, aiming to unearth the information that may not be immediately apparent. This process requires a genuine curiosity and a commitment to peeling back the layers, revealing the unseen challenges that hold the key to a successful partnership.

Arm yourself with a curated list of questions to crack the code of your hiring manager's needs. This evolving document becomes your compass for future projects, adapting to each hiring manager's unique context.

Setting expectations

Setting expectations can be a challenge. Often, Hiring Managers present recruiters with unrealistic expectations, hoping for a magic solution. Ask Hiring Managers directly about their expectations and the desired outcomes of the collaboration. This is an opportunity to showcase your expertise and knowledge. Here's how you can infuse a personal touch into this strategic view:

  • Dive into your past projects. If you've worked with similar roles before, share insights on the real-time rhythms of candidate responses. Let the data tell the story, offering the Hiring Manager a real peek into what to expect regarding candidate engagement.
  • Look into their historical data and hiring process for metrics like time-to-hire, time-to-fill, and length of the process, and benchmark against their current expectations. When you understand the historical data, you can better predict and forecast future outcomes.
  • For those niche roles that feel like hunting for hidden treasures, equip yourself with a Total Addressable Market (TAM). Dive into LinkedIn and filter candidates based on experience, seniority, industry and more requirements for the role. This isn’t just data; it's a treasure map for negotiating or adjusting requirements based on the pulse of the market.
  • Conduct benchmarking and market mapping within the industry. Understand the Hiring Manager's needs and, according to this, uncover competitors, industries in the same investment boat, or companies riding the same tech wave. This will help you to understand the competitive landscape and set your expertise apart.


Defining communication preferences with the Hiring Managers is important when starting a project. Each Hiring Manager is different; understanding processes and roles from their perspective fosters better collaboration. Here are some strategies to navigate these relationships:

  • Understand the Uniqueness: hiring Managers come from diverse professional backgrounds. Assuming a one-size-fits-all approach overlooks the richness they bring to the collaboration. Their definitions of success, their perceptions of urgency, and even their interpretation of what constitutes an ideal candidate are all colored by their individual experiences and priorities.
  • Processes Through Their Lens: avoid assuming that what worked well in one context will seamlessly fit another. Dive into the Hiring Manager’s perspective – ask questions like, “What does efficiency mean for you in this process?” Understanding their perspectives allows for process alignment that resonates with their vision.
  • The Language of Collaboration: communication is the core of collaboration, but the dialect varies. Rather than assuming a universal way of communicating, getting into the nitty-gritty details is practical. Ask straightforward questions about preferred communication channels, how often they want updates, and the level of detail that suits them best. This ensures clarity and minimises the risk of misunderstandings.
  • Cultivating a Strong Relationship: go beyond understanding challenges, invest time in getting to know them personally. Knowing their preferences, work styles, and communication preferences can foster a more collaborative and effective partnership.

Leverage Technology Wisely

In the dynamic landscape of recruitment, harnessing technology can be a game-changer when done strategically. Demonstrating tech-savviness instills confidence in Hiring Managers. Here's a closer look at how to leverage technology wisely to navigate the fast-paced talent acquisition world:

  • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): Implementing an efficient ATS can significantly streamline the hiring workflow. From resume screening to interview scheduling, these systems automate repetitive tasks, allowing recruiters to focus more on strategic tasks. Additionally, leverage feedback tools within the ATS to continuously improve your process and better support Hiring Managers.
  • Automated Interview Scheduling: Utilise tools that automate the interview scheduling process. This saves both recruiters and candidates time and ensures smoother coordination, especially when dealing with multiple stakeholders.
  • Video Interviewing Platforms: Leverage technology for video interviews. This opens the geographical scope for candidate evaluations and allows for asynchronous interviews, accommodating diverse schedules and time zones.
  • Data Analytics Tools: Explore tools that provide insights into recruitment metrics. Understanding the effectiveness of sourcing channels, time-to-fill data, and candidate drop-off rates can empower you and the Hiring Manager to make informed decisions.

The more you work with technology, the more time is left for the human element in managing your relationships with candidates and hiring managers.

How to hire for your niche role?

After the exploration of effective strategies for navigating the challenges of working with Hiring Managers, let's revisit the initial case:

  • Commitment to diversity: Acknowledging the potential limitations of an exclusive focus on diversity, you could dedicate a focused week was dedicated to it. This period allows for comprehensive research on market dynamics, potential industries, and emerging trends. Presenting these insights allows you to broaden the talent pool and enhance the overall search.
  • Confidentiality: The search can be secured with an alias name for the internal hiring team, and the outreach strategy can be adjusted to avoid the company’s name while reaching out to new candidates.
  • High-quality candidates with a limited salary range: showcase data to illustrate candidates' reluctance to continue the process with a confined salary framework. This convinces the Hiring Manager to be more flexible towards the salary range, making the role more captivating for candidates.
  • Unique skill set beyond a CV or LinkedIn profile: Ask questions and do research beyond the role's surface level, trying to grasp the Hiring Manager's perspective on what exceptional talent is.
  • Urgency for immediate onboarding: implement a fast-paced search, with weekly or even daily updates. This demonstrates commitment and involvement in the role, showcasing all efforts.
  • Divergent expectations: facilitate a strategy alignment workshop, fostering collaboration between the Hiring Manager and the leadership team to reconcile differing opinions.


In summary, the journey through effective strategies for working with Hiring Managers breaks down into being flexible, communicating clearly, and staying committed. Every project is a unique challenge, and success comes from our ability to adapt, talk openly, and truly commit to understanding and solving the puzzle. Professionals who navigate these challenges successfully learn along the way and build lasting partnerships in the ever-changing world of talent acquisition.

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