The difference between dealing with a hiring manager and a recruiter during your job search

While some companies keep their recruitment processes in-house, many still choose to use a recruiter to help them find top talent for their organisation.

As a result, every job seeker should be prepared for the possibility of dealing either with a recruiter or a hiring manager during their job search.

Jay Munro is head of career insights at Indeed.
Jay Munro is head of career insights at Indeed.

So, when you’re searching for new opportunities to apply for, how do you know whether you’ll be interacting with a hiring manager or a recruiter?

When looking at jobs, there are a few signs that can tell you whether it is being handled by a recruiter. To start with, recruiters don’t always list the company name in the job ad. Instead, they might refer to the hiring company as “our client”, or they might just make it clear through their
language that they’re representing a company.


On the other hand, it’s usually obvious when a job is being handled by a hiring manager because there are likely to be references to the company name as well as more personable language like “we”, “us” and “our.”

When it comes to why companies choose to recruit internally or use a recruiter, it’s important to remember that there are many factors that come into play. While hiring managers are likely to know the jobs and companies they’re recruiting for well, recruiters can offer specialised knowledge and experience when it comes to hard-to-fill roles. External recruiters are also beneficial to companies who lack the time and resources required to make hiring choices internally.

Knowing how to identify which jobs are being managed directly by the company versus by a recruitment agency is valuable as long as you know the best ways to interact with either during the
recruitment process.

To determine the best approach to take, it’s first important to understand the differences between their responsibilities and goals. Recruiters are the middle person between job seekers and employers, which means they have a duty to find candidates who will contribute to the organisation
while also helping job seekers make the right career move.

On the other hand, a hiring manager has a more personal and professional connection to the company and role, which means they’re likely to be more focused on identifying your credentials to
perform in a job rather than ensuring you’re making the best personal career move.

The benefit to dealing with a recruiter is that you can use their guidance, expertise and connections to ensure you are being matched with a job that is right for you – even if it turns out to be different
to the one you applied for.

So it’s reasonable to kick off your dealings with a recruiter by asking some candid questions about the role and employer. This will help you and the recruiter quickly establish whether you are suitable for the role or not before things get serious.

When dealing with a hiring manager, however, you’re already further down the hiring funnel. So, you should be ready to discuss why you are the right candidate for the job. While most hiring
managers will be happy to address any questions you may have, they’ll expect you to be reasonably
familiar with the role and company by doing your own research prior to the interview.

While with recruiters you can talk more broadly about your job opportunities, remember that all your interactions with a hiring manager will determine whether you get the job. But in either scenario, it’s key to remain professional and engaged as to not burn any bridges you may want to cross in the future.

This content was produced in commercial partnership with Indeed.

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