Source Great Tech Candidates By Creating a Great Relationship with Your Hiring Manager

As of 2021, around 4.3 million employees in the U.S. work remotely full-time, and many many more are on a hybrid work schedule. That’s a lot of people who are trying to move into a more modern form of work. It’s no surprise that so many of these people work in tech, an industry where, many times, all they need is a computer and skill. Tech candidates are in high demand and recruiters and talent acquisition professionals are tasked with cutting through the noise to find and hire them. 

This shift in where people work has caused a lot of people to move into tech as a career, but it has also created a lot more tech job opportunities. Many companies have had to move to the cloud and new individuals to oversee that process. Other companies have realized that they have a huge need for data analysts and web developers. 

How do you find the best tech candidates for your company? What are the secrets to sorting through the qualified applicants for your open technology positions and zeroing in on the best tech talent? 

Sourcing. Sometimes called research, and formerly (incorrectly) posited as a portion of the recruiting lifecycle, sourcing is now coming into its own as a defined skill, with best practices, innovative trends, and during this tight talent market, a highly sought-after and effective way to get qualified candidates to sit up and take notice of the companies that need them to drive business results. 

 There’s an influx of talent coming into the tech community, but it’s not easy to source the very best candidates. To do so, you need a strong strategy and the right mindset. Here are some tips for laying the right foundation: Click To Tweet

Build Your Sourcing Process: Create a Strong Partnership 

There’s no possible way to source or hire well without a clear view of the desired outcomes. Start by asking the right questions about what things look like today:

How long is our current hiring process?
What are the traits of successful people in this role right now?
How have we hired and retained the best employees we have today? 

The answers to these questions can help you come up with desired outcomes. For example, if your current hiring process requires 4-6 interviews, and pays below-market compensation, you’re going to need to make some shifts before entering the foray of hiring during a, particularly hectic time. If you have failed to retain successful employees in this particular role, you’ll need to alter your interview process, discuss pain points with hiring managers, and consider assessments in the future. If you find commonalities among your successful tech employees, you should include those parameters in your prospect or candidate personas before sitting down to source. 

These answers differ for every company and the hiring manager is often the person who holds the keys to understanding. That’s why, in order to source and recruit well, you’ll need to create a strong partnership with your hiring managers. A good relationship with your hiring manager is especially important when hiring tech candidates because these candidates can be more difficult to identify and, eventually, land and finally, KEEP. 


Running An Intake Meeting With Your Hiring Manager

Recruiters will not be able to provide hiring managers with the quality of candidates they want, meaning you’ll need to start all over again. Insisted on a face-to-face meeting instead of an email or job posting. Below are some questions you should ask during the meeting.

  • In what capacity will the person be responsible (projects, impact, etc.)? 
  • Does the hire address any pain points?
  • To be qualified, what skills should they have, and what tool proficiency should they have? 
  • What are nice-to-have skills and qualifications? 
  • What will they do on a daily basis? What tasks will they have to perform? 
  • How will you evaluate their success?
  • Do you know a person who has worked in this role well? What made them successful?
  • What challenges does hiring for this role typically present, or what challenges do you anticipate?

If you can, bring a few profiles of potential candidates to your first meeting so you and your hiring manager can discuss them. The profiles may give them an opportunity to express what excites them about potential hires and what makes them lose interest.


What makes a successful relationship with your hiring manager?

Get to know them
Take some time to learn about your hiring managers – what they’re looking for in a candidate, what their team is like, and what their priorities are. This information will help you better target your sourcing efforts and identify potential candidates who are a good fit for the role.

Stay up-to-date on their work
Make sure you’re following your hiring managers and the companies they work for on social media. This will allow you to build rapport and establish mutual interests. You can even introduce them to other people in your network, as a way of saying “we’re worthy of your attention”. 

Help find great people by making introductions & referrals
If possible, try to make personal connections between the hiring manager’s team members and the top candidates you’ve uncovered through sourcing – it’ll give you both credibility points when talking with future recruits. 

Be proactive about scheduling meetings
Hiring managers are likely juggling many roles, possibly even competing priorities. A great sourcing pro will be proactive about setting up meetings with hiring managers to discuss sourcing strategies and tactics. 

Turn sourcing conversations into collaborative projects
Think of sourcing as a long-term project that requires consistent communication, not simply an initial conversation or email exchange before disappearing for weeks on end. By consistently following up with sourcing leads, sourcing discussions are more likely to turn into meaningful conversations about what your hiring manager really needs, versus generic emails about the position you’re filling. 

Be helpful
Whenever possible, go above and beyond for your hiring managers by providing resources and tools to help them do their job better. By strengthening your sourcing relationship with hiring managers, not only will you position yourself as a more valuable resource, but you’ll also deepen your connection with individuals who are the gatekeepers of the top talent in your industry. And that’s good for everyone involved.

Assessing Your Relationship with Your Hiring Manager 

In order to create a strong sourcing partnership, the hiring manager has to understand the method to your madness. Of course they care about results, but many things that you do in your process will inform how they handle candidates on the back end. They need a clear idea of your organizational techniques and findings. If you’re either not properly conveying your findings to the hiring manager, or they’re not properly explaining their needs and expectations to you, the process won’t succeed. 

Here’s what you need to share: 

  • Naming conventions: How are you organizing and packaging your information? Are you keeping the hiring manager’s KPIs in mind, and are you prioritizing your information towards a smooth handover? 
  • Time Management: Are you allowing the hiring manager to see how you’re managing your time? Do they know how and when they can reach you and what you’re working on at a given moment? 
  • Data Organization: Is your data clean and structured? Are you constantly checking for errors that can eat up time down the road if they go unchecked? 
  • Transparency: Are you open about your process? Are you collaborative and willing to share information? 
  • Meeting Productivity: Are your meetings positive and productive? Do you ensure that the hiring manager stays on track and pushes the ball forward each and every time?

All of the issues are extremely important to creating a collaborative, transparent process that benefits all parties involved.

Data Supports Great Sourcing Relationships

For the first time ever, talent acquisition teams have access to analytics at their fingertips. You can use them both to answer any remaining questions about the open position, as well as to help your hiring manager understand the state of the talent market and what they can expect in terms of candidate quality and time-to-hire.

If you’re sourcing for a quality analyst role, for example, and you show the hiring manager that there are only 35 qualified candidates in the market but that they can fill this role within 45 days if they are willing to wait, this will improve their grasp of the tradeoffs involved. 

Your ATS and CRM are repositories of all the data that enables you to forecast your recruiting outcomes since they store all your past hiring efforts. They tell you the number of people who were found, screened, interviewed, and offered to, the last time this role was open. Prior candidates were tracked to find out how long they stayed at each stage of the funnel before moving on. You can use them to explain why prospects rejected your offer or declined to work with you.

Once you have this information, you can show your hiring manager, “This is our ideal candidate profile. We have X number of candidates that meet at least 80% of that profile. Based on what we know from the past, it should take us roughly Y number of days to find that candidate, with Z number of days elapsing between sourcing the role and getting the first resume. We estimate that it will take us another Q number of days to get through the initial phone screen R number of days for an onsite interview, and S number of days more to get this person on board.”

The experience is eye-opening for HR. How many applicants withdrew from the process because it was moving too slowly? What percentage of those were caused by nonresponsive or inattentive HMs? It allows you to learn more about the candidates for each stage. Based on recent numbers, they show what your talent pipeline looks like right now.

Keep a Growth Mindset

Iteration will be the key to your success. That’s not a tip or a prophecy. It should be a mantra. Don’t stop learning because you found something that works. Adjust slightly for every new endeavor. Always reevaluate and look for chances to grow. 

You have to constantly think about filling the funnel with the right candidates, in an efficient manner. But it doesn’t stop there. Think full-funnel because that’s what the hiring manager is doing. 

It’s not Do my systems source candidates who crush the first interview? It’s Are my candidates making companies better? If you think all the way through, you’ll be the sourcer hiring managers clamor over. 

Building a better relationship with your hiring manager is key to sourcing success. By taking the time to learn what they care about, and aligning your sourcing efforts with that, you’ll be in a much better position to find the best candidates for your organization.

If you’d like more information on sourcing the very best tech talent, please download our guide