By: Helios on October 30th, 2013

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How to Manage the Problem of an Unresponsive Hiring Manager

Communication | Best Practices | Employee Relations | Talent Acquisition

“I need to interview candidates and hire someone as soon as possible. This position is urgent and I needed someone yesterday.” Does this phrase from a hiring manager sound familiar to you?

As recruiters, it is our responsibility to read the position description, gather as many details as possible about the requisition, and dig deep to find out exactly what type of candidate the hiring manager is looking for. Now, it’s time to let the sourcing begin!

Working with an extreme sense of urgency, the recruiter sources, phone screens, submits candidates to the hiring manager, and then interviews start to take place. But, all of a sudden, the hiring manager is unresponsive to either the resumes that were submitted or providing feedback on the interviews that have taken place.

Could they be busy with other things? Of course! In fact, this is very likely the cause and they probably aren’t ignoring the recruiter on purpose.  Yet, it is the recruiter’s responsibility to make sure the process continues to progress and ensure the requisition gets filled. While the hiring manager’s reasons for lack or delay of feedback may very well be valid, both parties must work together in a timely manner and be in constant communication in order to achieve success.

Let’s face it- the more time that passes, the more likely you are to lose that great candidate. By using the following techniques, your hiring manager should remain engaged throughout the recruiting process.

How to Manage an Unresponsive Hiring Manager


  1. Meet face to face: Whether you are seeking feedback on a resume or interview, go to the hiring manager’s office. If you are seeking feedback on a resume, go with the resume or resumes in hand and request them to read the resume on the spot. If you are seeking feedback on an interview, pay them a visit shortly after the candidate leaves the building. The more face time you get with your hiring managers, the better the rapport will become.
  2. Schedule routine meetings: Set a time once a week where you and your hiring manager can sit down and review resumes together, share all updates, and obtain feedback on the interviews that have taken place. If you aren’t the type that is comfortable with constantly walking to their office, this may be the best approach. Use your best judgment to determine if the hiring manager prefers you to come in spontaneously or prefers more of a structured, scheduled arrangement. If they are in and out of their office a lot, this may be the best method to use. Try to read their body language and tone of voice when you interact with them. This will be indicative of what type of meeting you should strive for.
  3. Set the expectations up front: In the very early stages of the process, set guidelines with your hiring manager and have them commit to either 24 or 448-hourfeedback window on both resumes and interviews. If they do not provide feedback in one of these time frames, politely remind them of your agreement.
  4. Get others involved: By saying this, I don’t mean that you should complain about your hiring manager or try to get your hiring manager in trouble. Ask your supervisor or your hiring manager’s supervisor for advice on how to get them to be more engaged in the recruiting/hiring process. Getting a position filled is a team effort and sometimes by getting more people involved, the process can be sped up. Make it a collaborative effort.

By using these techniques, you should be able to build rapport and trust with your hiring manager, both of which are imperative. Consequently, the recruiting/hiring process should flow with ease and your next great hire can be brought into your organization in a timely fashion. Remember: Don’t be pushy or demanding and refrain from complaining. Always be professional, use effective communication, stay involved, and be engaged!