Why Are So Few Hiring Managers Responsible For Hiring?

Seems like such an obvious question. Of course hiring mangers are responsible for hiring, that is why they are called hiring managers. Isn't it?

The truth is that most hiring managers do not think of hiring as part of their job.  They know they must perform the function every now and then, but few actually consider it as a critical job function. I have reviewed thousands of job descriptions ranging from CEOs to managers in my 30 years as a recruiter, and I can't think of one that included hiring as one of the job functions. NOT ONE.

Here is a classic example. I was recently speaking to a group of executives on how to develop an effective hiring process.  One of the executives complained that with all of the other work he has, he doesn't have the time it takes to continually be working on hiring. I was amazed. With all of the other work he has? Isn't hiring just as much a part of his job as any other function? He certainly didn't think so. Would a VP of Sales accept from one of his sales managers, “With all the other work I have to do, I don't have time to complete the weekly sales reports.” Should a CEO accept from their CFO, ” With all the other work I  have, I don't have time to know what is in all the accounts.”  Aren't these functions just as much a part of their job as hiring?

What they are really saying in my opinion is, “Hiring just isn't a priority for me this month.” Time is just a function of priority. Since it isn't important at this moment in time, it isn't a priority, therefore I don't have time. Yet, when an opening occurs this becomes a priority. Then the hiring manager hopes that the best person for the job will be on the market and looking at the exact same time. In a slow market that might be true, but think back a couple of years to when unemployment was under 5%. That rarely happened.

Here are some suggestions to make hiring top talent the priority it should be in your company:

1) Consider linking some level of hiring activity to your performance management system. This doesn't have to involve a great deal of time. Just something that demonstrates that hiring top talent is a priority not only for the department head but for the company.

2) Have all of your managers participate in different professional groups, alumni associations, and professional networking groups. Participation should be at a minimum of attending the monthly meetings or even serving on a committee. This is where they will meet potential top talent or people connected to that top talent. Most of these meetings take place after working hours and only involve an hour or two a month.

3) Identify key positions where any turn over will be damaging, potential future openings  in the next six months, and high turnover positions, then each month allocate just 10% of your time working to build a  queue of  names, people, and contacts that might be potential candidates. Just 10% of your time.

4) For each key position in the company maintain a list of at least three people to speak with if a position opens. This will not be a stagnant list.  These people's situations will change over time so you will have to make sure it is current.

5) At least quarterly, engage every person in the queue. Send them an email, a newsletter, an article, give them an update of some kind, connect with them via LinkedIn, meet for coffee,  or just small things that don't involve a lot of time that will keep them connected with you.

Just doing these 5 simple things can dramatically change how you prioritize hiring the best people in your company. It doesn't have to take a lot of time, it just has to take some time.

If  your managers aren't doing these simple things, isn't it time to put hiring back into the job of your hiring managers

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, You’re NOT The Person I Hired. Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.




About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.


  1. Brad … As a brief comment, when the claim is made that there’s “no time to think” about the new hire, this can reflect upon many other major issues.

    What if there’s an “800# gorilla in the room” that’s not being given due consideration?

    What if the concept of the company’s “strategy” is not being articulated?

    Strategy should be expressed for the specific company that is considering the new hire. There are many issues that different work roles within the company (& new hires) can have.

    In my view these understandings begin with the CEO/CFO & their expressions (confirmations) of longer term goals for the company.

  2. Hi Brad,
    This is a great post and you make some really valid points. As a former HR leader, I fully understand the constant struggle that exists in getting leaders to own the hiring process. Too often, they view candidate sourcing, screening and initial interviewing as the sole function of the HR/Internal Recruitment teams. While I do think that the HR team should support their efforts in building an external bench, I do believe that this responsibility should rest with the management teams. In my current practice as a career coach/job search advisor, it’s amazing to see how many hiring managers don’t respond to networking meeting requests of talented candidates. My clients seem to get much better results from connecting with internal HR people. I do agree that if organizations are serious about making talent recruitment and management a priority, they should incorporate some hiring/turnover metrics into the performance review process. I have seen this work in my past and it definitely does make a difference and sends a clear message that hiring and retaining talent is paramount to the organization’s success.

  3. Hi Brad,

    There are some companies that have a hiring manager as a dedicated role, meaning this person has nothing else to do but hire people. Some of these hiring managers make the first call to the candidates (e.g. the elimination process).

    The problem with hiring managers is that they are given some instructions by the line manager about the questions that should be asked, and what they should expect as an answer. Now if the candidate deviates from the standard answer (while still giving a right answer) that the line manager gave to the hiring manager, then s/he will be immediately eliminated, which is absolutely not the way it should be!

  4. Judy Lack says:

    Hi Brad,

    Once again, you are right on, great article!

    Believe that number one above is key so essential hiring efforts are connected to accountability. Have done this in the past, and when our hiring processes were enhanced, we implemented this factor into their quarterly and annual performance reviews. We were partners (Recruiting Mgr. & Hiring Mgrs. ) and conducted many of the elements you’ve shared for more effective results. If finding the best people is that critical, we must make time to get it done, as everyone has too much on their plate.

    Thanks again for your insight!

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