Steven Yeong | Today's Manager Singapore Institute of Management
Published on 01/06/2016

How can internal talent acquisition and HR professionals work with hiring managers to develop strong relationships with their stakeholders?

The same issues come up in my one-on-one meetings with hiring managers:

  • Internal recruiters do not understand the hiring manager’s business,
  • There is very little communication between the corporate recruiter and the hiring manager during the entire recruitment process,
  • Hiring managers complain that corporate recruiters do not know how to sell to good candidates, and
  • Hiring managers are frustrated by internal staffing executives’ lack of domain knowledge in areas like the availability of suitable candidate pools, competitor information, and industry experience.

Here is a non-exhaustive guide of what talent acquisition leaders can do to help internal recruiters improve stakeholder relationships.


Meeting Your Customer
Recruiters should participate in the hiring manager’s weekly meeting he/she has with his/her own team. This gives the recruiter a better sense of issues that the department is facing. Being “embedded” in the department is much better than asking the hiring manager to give a 30-minute presentation on the workings of the business. The weekly meeting is more rooted in reality and one can see the people dynamics at play.


Refine Your Recruitment Process
The recruitment process from headcount approval to on-boarding should develop into a rigorous flowchart as they do in manufacturing. After all, recruitment is similar to that of the supply chain management system that many firms are familiar with. This way, recruiters will have a framework where they can deliver weekly progress reports for the hiring manager regarding his/her hires in areas such as number of candidates approached, competitor analysis, salary benchmarks, rejection rates, and reasons for delays.


Market Your Organisation
During an internal meeting with a major banking client of mine, the recruitment leader for Asia was exhorting her recruitment team to sell and aggressively market to candidates “with as much passion as you can!” There were blank stares from the recruiters. It then dawned on me that this was because they did not know how to do it given that most of them were human resource (HR) generalists converted to internal recruiters. So began my multi-month project to instill in them the finer points of selling jobs in internal workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions. I think many firms face the same issues not only with their internal staffers but with HR executives who handle recruitment too. In a world where candidates have multiple job offers, the recruiter needs to do an outstanding job at being a salesperson.


Know Your Industry
If I am ever to return to the corporate space as a head of recruitment, I will have key performance indicators (KPIs) for my entire team to know who our competitors are and what they are up to, establish a list of candidates from our competitors, and build relations with them. I will get each recruiter to do a monthly or quarterly presentation on what is happening in our industry especially within their home country. Only then, can we add value to hiring managers by sharing the happenings in the market that we operate in. This domain expertise is the very reason why hiring managers love working with specialist recruitment agencies.

There are other challenges facing the corporate recruiters/hiring manager relationship. Hopefully, the points listed above can serve as a starting point.


Mr Steven Yeong is a human resources trainer specialising in talent acquisition. For 14 years, he has helped local and global corporations in implementing strategies to find the best talent in the workforce. These projects include training of HR staff to attract better candidates, employer branding, and creating effective talent pipelines. Mr Yeong was the recruitment director for 3M Asia Pacific before his current role as a talent evangelist. He is also a corporate trainer with the Singapore Institute of Management’s Professional Development arm; where he focuses on talent acquisition and interviewing workshops.


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