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John Vlastelica: The 5 biggest lessons I learned from my smartest hiring managers

Anyone working in talent understands the often frustrating relationship between talent acquisition (TA) professionals and their hiring managers. But no one understands this relationship as much as John Vlastelica. With over 20 years of experience in the recruitment industry, John is an absolute font of wisdom and knowledge on the topic. Here are the five biggest lessons he’s learnt, and how they can apply to you and your team.

John Vlastelica

1.    Strategy starts before the kick-off

According to John, the hiring managers who are getting the lion’s share of top talent are the ones open to engagement with TA outside the initial, “kick-off” conversation. Even when there are no requisitions open, these managers want to hear about recruitment strategy. Their goal is having top talent and they’re willing to reach-out in order to get it. But, you have to earn the right to have these meetings. You have to prove that you are effective at filling roles with speed and quality. So, always listen out for those hiring managers who have a particular pain-point and swoop in with strategy and solutions. 

2.    It’s a quality – not quantity – game

Recruiting is about quality. And John believes that the best in the business don’t just say they want quality, they live it. He has found that the hiring managers who request the best handful of candidates instead of seeing all applications are the ones who value this as well. Successful hiring managers will define what quality actually means to them. They will spend time with a recruiter, driving towards alignment. This can happen in real-time, going through CVs and LinkedIn profiles together in order to calibrate effectively.

3.    Speed is the love language of hiring managers

Most of what is communicated from HR to a hiring manager will always be perceived as a process to slow them down. New interview guides and tips to self-service on the ATS won’t ignite vigor. But according to John, the best hiring managers will inspect the process and question it. Speed is that important to them. So recruiters who can deliver faster are going to be ahead of the game. John even says that ‘ideas in service to speed are in service to the hiring manager.’ Diagnose your own funnel and connect the dots. Show them how certain procedures can help to make recs close faster.

Hiring managers

4.    Great candidates demand great hiring managers

The hiring managers who get the best talent are the ones who own the role. They don’t see it as superfluous to their day job, they’re involved. But for a talent advisor to drive this kind of engagement, it’s important to re-frame it for hiring managers. Impress on them the importance of the role in order to snag top talent. Candidates demand it anyway. Their decisions and opinions of a company can be wholly informed by their experience with a hiring manager. John has even developed the Hiring Manager Maturity Model to expand on this. It’s a practical tool that will help hiring managers transform into talent champions.

5.    Hiring managers want a strategic partner 

John says he wants unrealistic expectations from hiring managers. But don’t worry! He doesn’t mean in terms of hard to work with. Instead, he wants those who push boundaries in order to get the best talent. Their constraints drive innovation and push talent advisors to deliver. By asking tough questions and seeking out insights that will enable them to find a star team member, the proactive hiring managers get results. And in tandem, it hones a recruiter’s skill. As expectations rise, there is a phenomenal opportunity for learning, growth and impact for both parties.

Want to hear the full conversation? John was recently a guest on The Shortlist and dove into the topic in greater detail. 

John Vlastelica is the Founder and Managing Director of Recruiting Toolbox. He’s also our resident hiring expert on the SocialTalent platform. If you want more information about the courses John delivers, get in-touch with us today.

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