Hiring manager or recruiter? What’s the difference?

Written by Bruno Boksic
hiring manager or recruiter - what is the difference
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A hiring manager is usually the person who is in charge of filling open job positions at a company and of leading new employees through the onboarding process. Every company that wants to recruit more people should have a hiring manager. 

Do recruiters have the same responsibilities, though, or is there a difference? 

A lot of people use the terms “hiring manager” and “recruiter” as synonyms, but there’s a clear distinction between these two roles. In this article, we’ll explain what each one does and look at the differences.

Let’s first define what a hiring manager is.

What is a hiring manager?

The hiring manager is the person who leads the candidates through the hiring process, from application to onboarding. The hiring manager typically has the final say when deciding whether to extend a job offer to a specific candidate. 

There are multiple touchpoints between the hiring manager and the candidates during the recruitment process; these include everything from the initial screening and skills assessment to onboarding the person and mentoring them during the first couple of weeks in the company. 

What does a hiring manager do?

A hiring manager is in charge of the hiring process, and they’re the ones that have the responsibility to find the right person for open job roles in the organization. With that in mind, let’s go over the list of tasks for which hiring managers are responsible: 

Job description of a hiring manager 

tasks of hiring managers

Hiring managers are often responsible of the following tasks:

  • Identify how many new employees the company needs to hire to meet its objectives. For example, if the company needs to strengthen their sales team, the hiring manager together with other managers might decide they need to hire five sales reps.

  • Get approval from the company’s leadership team before opening a job position.

  • Write a detailed job description after discussing the open role with department managers and team leads to see what to include in it and how to phrase it. 

  • Make sure the recruitment process attracts only the best applicants by using the right channels and platforms and, if needed, investing into passive recruitment.

  • Lead the rest of the HR team through the hiring process by establishing rules, roles, and responsibilities for all team members.

  • Screen candidates by using different skills tests to identify the most suitable ones for the role. 

  • Analyze results and invite the best applicants to an interview to gain a deeper understanding of their skills and abilities. 

  • Do post-interview assessments, if needed, and analyze all the data they have collected during the recruitment process to make a hiring decision.

  • Pick the best candidate and extend an offer to them – and negotiate employment terms, such as salary, starting date, benefits, and more. 

There can be more responsibilities for the hiring manager, but the above-mentioned tasks are usually what a hiring manager does in a company. 

The average hiring manager salary across all industries and locations in the US is a bit less than $65,000 annually, according to Glassdoor. 

What are hiring managers looking for in a candidate? 

A hiring manager will look for specific knowledge, skills, and attitude in every candidate they’re considering for an open role, depending on the position itself. However, there are certain elements that hiring managers will look for in every single candidate no matter what role they’re applying for.

what are hiring managers looking for in a candidate

Hiring managers expect applicants to be: 

  • Professional: A hiring manager will look for a candidate who is professional in their behavior. The candidate should be respectful when asking and answering questions, come on time, and do their tasks with dedication.

  • Well prepared: A candidate should always be well prepared for all parts of the hiring process – every single hiring manager will test this out. The more prepared the candidate, the better they’ll be able to perform during the hiring process. 

  • Curious and interested: Hiring managers will want to know if the candidates have already read about the company and have specific questions to ask about it or the role. This shows that the candidates are motivated.

  • Knowledgeable and skilled: Hiring managers want to know whether a person can do the job successfully. So they’re looking for candidates who can prove to them that they’re knowledgeable and skilled enough to perform well. 

  • Confident: It’s not just about having the right technical skills to do the job; the candidate should also be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and have a healthy dose of self-awareness and self-esteem. 

What are the 3 main differences between a hiring manager and a recruiter?

Even though the terms hiring manager and recruiter are used as synonyms, they’re not. 

So, what does a recruiter do? In short, they source candidates who could be a good fit for the role and invite them to apply for the open position. The average recruiter salary in the US is between $52,000 and $65,000, according to Salary.com.

3 main differences between a hiring manager and a recruiter

The following three elements are what sets apart a hiring manager from a recruiter:

Internal vs. external role

A hiring manager is in charge of candidates once they enter the hiring process. What that means is that hiring managers work with candidates only when they officially become candidates. 

From that point on, the hiring manager supports candidates all the way until they become employees and go through the onboarding process. 

A recruiter, on the other hand, has an external role; they’re actively seeking the best candidates for the open role in the company. Their role is to find candidates and have them apply for the open role. 

Lead generation vs. lead conversion

A recruiter is usually in charge of lead generation while the hiring manager is in charge of lead conversion. 

A recruiter will look at the open job position and define the profile of the candidate that would best fit the role. Then, they will search the marketplace to find the best-suited candidates and then forward this list to the hiring manager or invite them to apply for the role. 

If the recruiter did their job well, then the hiring manager should have a list of skilled candidates for the open role. Then, the hiring manager will assess applicants’ skills and conduct interviews to decide who would be the best fit and offer them a job. 

Decision-making process

Recruiters aren’t decision-makers when it comes to extending offers to candidates; that’s the role of the hiring manager. A recruiter will simply find the best candidates and then forward them to the hiring manager. The hiring manager will have the final word on who gets the job in the company.  

Hiring managers and recruiters should work in unison

To have an effective and successful hiring process, hiring managers and recruiters should work in unison. The recruiter will find the best candidates and invite them to apply – whereas the hiring manager will assess applicants’ skills and suitability for the role and pick the right person to fill the open job position in the organization. 

And one of the best ways to test your candidates is to give them pre-employment assessments, which enable you to evaluate their knowledge and expertise quickly, efficiently, and without bias. 

Book a free demo with one of our team members today to see for yourself how TestGorilla can transform your hiring process.

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