Giving Feedback to Recruiters

Recruiters and hiring managers have long had a history of a relationship in need of improvement. A major area that they can improve on is communication. Communication, just like it does in any other relationship, plays a vital role between the hiring manager and the recruiter. Specifically, a needed aspect of communication between the two is feedback from hiring managers to recruiters. 

Why Feedback Matters

Feedback between hiring managers and recruiters is crucial because it shows that the hiring manager is actually engaged in the hiring process. If they’re not providing feedback, then it brings recruiters to question whether they’re even reviewing the resumes. Is the position a need or a want for the hiring manager? What is their urgency-level on filling it? They may tell recruiters that it’s an urgent need, but if their actions do not back that up and they can’t give them feedback, then it’s probably time for the recruiter to call BS.

Giving feedback also helps the recruiters know if they’re on the right track or not. Sure, job descriptions and intake meetings are a starting point for recruiters to get an idea, but sometimes the important skill sets for a position evolve over time with the issues the manager is facing day-to-day. When this happens, a one-on-one meeting with them is needed to review what recruiters should be sourcing for. It’s okay if requirements have changed, but they then need to be redefined and both parties need to agree that moving forward those are what will be looked for. Hiring managers will also need to give feedback on candidates received to make sure that recruiters are hitting the mark and to find out where they can improve. Until the manager starts giving specific feedback, they are going to see more of the same types of applicants, wasting both parties time.

Some organizations don’t like to give feedback because they’re very sensitive to the legal ramifications if something is communicated poorly. The truth is, there is nothing wrong with giving feedback as long as you’re not breaking an actual law and discriminating against people. The recruiters need those specifics to zero in on what is going to work, so it’s important to be candid with them. They can manage delivering feedback to candidates to avoid any repercussions. Giving objective and specific feedback allows the recruiter to take it and retool their search and screening process. This really pays off in the long run because over time, the recruiter will understand the manager and get really good at knowing what they want. What used to take 20 applicants to hit the mark will take 10 or even 5 in a short amount of time.

How To Ensure Feedback is Given and Received

Weekly Meetings:

Both parties can set aside time a week or two after the intake meeting that both parties commit to. This will be the time when candidates are discussed and feedback is provided. If people are not identified to move forward in the process at that time, then the feedback can be used to source new ones and the follow up meeting the next week will be more productive. These meetings should not take long as long as both parties come prepared.

Listen and Ask Questions

Good recruiters are excellent listeners and ask probing questions. If you are meeting with a manager to go over candidates, then you better be actively listening and not wasting their time. If you need clarification or have an idea, then ask the probing questions. You might find a different set of criteria to search with by asking the right questions since you are not the expert in that field.


Managers need to respect the recruiters and the candidates time and vice versa. We all want to get the position filled quickly, so start with a level of respect between all parties that will allow that to happen.

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