3 Ways to Handle High Maintenance Hiring Managers

You know the one I mean. The one who you refer to as a ‘perfectionist’ professionally and refer to as a…well, something else personally. It’s the typical difficult situation: you need your client to pipe down a bit so you can actually get on with doing your job, but they want results and they want them now. So how do you handle it? Of course, specifics vary depending on the different personalities of both you and your client, but here’s some solid, general advice for keeping your cool.

1. Boundaries

Like all classics, boundaries never go out of style. Even if you meet with a client and your initial impression is that everything will be as smooth as silk, take note from the previous occasions when it wasn’t. Be firm and confident, and make them certain that you are actually relieving them of the burden of trying to fill their latest vacancy. Let them know when you’ll be in touch, how best to contact you if they need to and what to expect.

2. Communication

Hand in hand with boundaries comes communication. Keeping your hiring managers in the loop on your terms is so much easier than them barging into the loop on their terms, which is where you’ll start to have problems. Let them know when you’re going to be in touch and make sure to follow through. Pre-schedule your catch up calls and meetings. This gives you both a chance to prepare and saves each small thing from being a thirty minute phone call. Good communication channels will keep your clients’ anxiety and impatience at bay, which in return will keep your own anxiety and impatience at bay! Smiley faces all round!

Also worth noting, some recruitment software will let your clients log in and see selected parts of the process (progress on their jobs, partial candidate details and so on). I’ll spare you the sales pitch here but if you want to build a trusting partnership without handcuffing yourself to the phone, it’s worth a look.

3. Organisation

So you’ve tactfully made it clear what your client can’t do – how about giving them something which they can? Because the absolute most useful thing any hiring manager can give you is a thoughtful and detailed brief. But the truth is, there will be hiring managers who don’t actually know what they want. And if they don’t know what they want, they can’t tell you. And if they can’t tell you, you can’t find it for them…So if you get a vague “someone in marketing with excellent communication skills, start waving a red flag. Same with “Joe in accounts just left, I need you to replace him.” Drill down for a full brief: details of the job, the culture, the company and anything else you need to sell this job to the right person.

This forces your client to spend some time thinking about what they really want and need, rather than just hitting panic stations when someone hands in their notice. It also enables you to question them on priorities. If they’re looking for a thousand skills and character traits, which are more important? Where are they willing to compromise?

Put all of this to good use and you’ll make life working with a tricky hiring manager a thousand times easier. Hiring managers will have high expectations, so the more you prove yourself capable through kept word, professionalism and fantastic placements – the easier your working relationship will become.

By Kara Shorthouse

Kara Shorthouse

Kara is a Digital Marketer based in Glasgow. In her spare time she loves a good gig, ponies and flattering Snapchat filters.

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