Insights from our Talent Acquisition Experts: the Role of Hiring Managers

23 April 2024

In a series of five blogs, seasoned Human Development (HD) consultants and internal domain experts share their thoughts on prevalent topics in Talent Acquisition.

Agree or disagree? Let’s see what our Talent Acquisition experts have to say!

Hiring managers play a crucial role in the recruitment & selection process and should therefore have interview skills at least as strong as the recruitment team.

The role of a hiring manager

The primary role of a hiring manager involves identifying their team’s staffing needs, defining job requirements, and actively engaging in the process of attracting, assessing, and selecting suitable candidates for open positions alongside recruiters.

The question arises: “To what extent should hiring managers engage in the recruitment and selection process?” 

Ineke Vandael argues that the recruitment team can evaluate specific competencies. Typically, HR conducts an initial screening using standardized and behavioral questions. In the next interview, the hiring manager has the opportunity to delve deeper into the candidate's career by questioning what competencies he/she has developed during his/her career, how they’ve utilized these competencies, and their potential for further development. Competency-based interviewing is in order.

Martine Groenen also identifies an important role for the hiring manager in the persuasion phase. “Hiring managers should go beyond traditional evaluation. They should assess whether or not there’s a cultural fit with the organization’s values.”

Ineke highlights the relevance of the hiring manager's role in the recruitment process, particularly if they play a significant part in the onboarding process as well.

Hiring managers play a crucial role in the persuasion phase.

Martine Groenen

What skills does a hiring manager need?

To start, a hiring manager needs a dose of realism, a good understanding of the job market, and a clear view of the necessary competencies for the role. Every hiring manager has a white raven in mind, so it is important to paint a realistic picture of what is possible in today’s job market. A dialogue between the recruiter and the hiring manager is crucial to identify must-have items/competencies/skills versus nice-to-haves.

Hiring managers are often people who have a lot of substantive knowledge in a particular field, in their profession. Charlotte Dulait notes a common challenge: “They often possess strong technical skills, particularly in fields like finance, but often lack experience in interview techniques.”

When it comes to interview techniques, the STAR technique is the preferred approach for our Talent Acquisition experts. This method helps in navigating assumptions and ensures a comprehensive interview. “It can also overcome potential pitfalls when faced with seasoned candidates,” adds Charlotte Steel. It is crucial that hiring managers engage with a candidate as objectively as possible, without any biases or prejudices. Asking questions and digging deeper is the solution when in doubt, making assumptions is forbidden territory.

Not only interview skills are necessary. Jonas Muylaert underscores the importance of communication skills: “Communication skills are essential to assess cultural fit and align with the technical background.”

Bridging the skills gap

The success of the recruitment process relies on a balanced integration of skills and responsibilities within both the recruitment team and hiring managers. A potential solution lies in clearly separating responsibilities between recruiters and hiring managers. “Certain questions should be directed towards hiring managers, especially those related to cultural fit.”

Jonas highlights a crucial role for the recruiter in preparing hiring managers, ensuring they are aware of the competencies being assessed in the interview.

“I think it is crucial to train hiring managers, especially in the context of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I),” says Eva Pelacuer. “Not only in question formulation, but also in mastering the art of self-positioning during interviews.”


    The recruitment process would be more effective if hiring managers had strong interview skills. However, their questions should center on technical competencies, skills and team fit as they are experts in their field and most of the time the manager of a team of coworkers. Additionally, hiring managers play a vital role in the persuasion phase, since candidates have bargaining power in the difficult and scarce labor market.

    The assessment of most must-have competencies can be covered by recruiters. The clear separation of responsibilities between recruiters and hiring managers is crucial. Training for hiring managers is strongly recommended, along with thorough preparation by the recruiter.

    • Martine Groenen, Project Consultant

    • Ineke Vandael, Business Consultant

    • Charlotte Dulait, Business Consultant

    • Jonas Muylaert, Intake Lead

    • Charlotte Steel, Project Consultant

    • Eva Pelacuer, Project Consultant

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