The Most Important Question You’ll Ever Ask a Hiring Manager

How are those hiring manager “intake” meetings going?

You know, those meetings you have with a hiring manager every single time they have an opening. You sit down with your hiring manager, face-to-face, and ask them a page full of questions: Why is this position open? What would make a candidate most successful in this role? What color of skin would you like this candidate to have? Boobs or no boobs? Whoops! Scratch those last ones, we would never ask those.

The reality is talent pros really only have one question they need to ask hiring managers. That question is this:

Do you trust that I can find the talent you need?

Ultimately, this is all that really matters for your success. If they trust you, they’ll give you all the information you need to be successful. If they don’t trust you can find the talent they need, they tend to hold stuff back.

Yes, I know that doesn’t make sense, but that’s real world talent acquisition stuff! Welcome to corporate America, a lot of stuff doesn’t make sense!

No faith in their recruiters

Most hiring managers have no faith you’ll find them great talent. They have this belief because of so many bad talent pros before you failed them. So many before you didn’t really go out and find the best talent, they just delivered whatever warm body came into the ATS.

I just come out and ask the question. The first answer you’ll get from 99% of hiring managers is a weird, “Well, sure, I do.” If you really dig into this answer, you’ll get the true answer which 90% of the time is, “Hell no! Why would I? Your department has really never gotten this right!”


Not only don’t hiring managers trust you to bring them the best people, they believe they can do a better job than you.

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Thank you! That’s what I really needed. I needed to get that out in the open, so now we can really build trust, and make great things happen. They’re mostly right. Talent acquisition fails many of our hiring managers for a number of reasons. Right now, your hiring manager doesn’t need to hear those reasons, they need to hear why this time will be different.

Then, you have to live up to “different!” You have to be better. You have to get it right. Getting it right earns trust.

Once they trust you, great things will happen. Earn that trust.

This was originally published on The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.