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Hiring Manager vs Recruiter: The Differences

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Talia Knowles is an avid reader, writer, and coffee enthusiast, with over five years of experience in writing and editing.

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As a seasoned HR professional with over 20 years of experience, Keca is an expert in various aspects of Human Resources.

Hiring Manager vs Recruiter: The Differences

Hiring Manager vs Recruiter: The Differences

Job candidates often interact with recruiters and hiring managers, but what’s the difference? Both are involved in recruitment, but they have vastly different roles and responsibilities.

Recruiters are sort of the face of the company and often the first person candidates meet, while hiring managers are responsible for filling open positions and helping with onboarding.

Understanding how hiring managers and recruiters differ will help streamline your recruitment and hiring. Do you know what sets these two positions apart? This guide lays out all the key differences to help your company attract and retain top talent.

Hiring Manager vs. Recruiter: Role Comparison

Recruiters and hiring managers both play key roles in hiring, but they do different things. Let’s look at a simple comparison of their tasks and skills in the table below.

Hiring ManagerRecruiter
Primary ResponsibilitiesMakes the final hiring decision, often conducts in-depth interviews.Focuses on sourcing and screening candidates.
Skill SetsDeep understanding of job-specific skills and strong decision-making abilities.Strong sourcing and sales skills, adept at evaluating initial candidate fit.
Interaction with CandidatesOften interacts with candidates later in the hiring process during interviews.Has first contact with potential candidates, maintains communication throughout hiring process.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)Successful onboarding and performance of new hires.Time to hire and quality of hire.
Reporting StructureReports to department heads or executives.Reports to a recruiting or HR manager.
Tools UsedUses tools like applicant tracking systems and may also use tools specific to their department to evaluate candidates’ technical skills.Primarily uses tools like applicant tracking systems, LinkedIn, and other sourcing tools.

Recruitment Process

Hiring managers and recruiters fill different roles and offer varying advantages. The former are intimately familiar with the day-to-day duties of the position being filled, while the latter focuses more on finding talent and building relationships with an eye toward a future hire. 

As a result, hiring managers are better placed to answer candidate questions about the available job and its responsibilities, while a recruiter would prefer to discuss company culture and the salary range for the relevant department.  

Role of the Hiring Manager

Hiring managers tend to be experienced supervisors with vast knowledge of their employer’s culture, values, and mission. They mainly work in human resources, but they can work in any department, especially in larger businesses. 

A company might have three hiring managers in HR, one in the tech department, and another one in marketing, for example. Note that in many smaller companies, some department managers will also oversee hiring for their department. This does not make them hiring managers, but rather managers who play a key role in hiring. 

Hiring managers review the resumes the recruiter has passed on and set up job interviews. During the interview, candidates expect the hiring manager to provide details about the available position, such as daily tasks and responsibilities, as well as career prospects. 

Depending on the size of the company, the hiring manager may also be involved in choosing hires, making job offers, and negotiating salary. At a larger firm, the hiring manager could be just one part of a hiring and onboarding team and may only be responsible for confirming a candidate’s skills and cultural fit.  

In a small company, the hiring manager will likely take the lead on decisions regarding schedule and compensation. In a larger firm, the hiring manager will collaborate with colleagues and the new hire’s supervisor to ensure decisions align with the company’s needs.

Recruiter Responsibilities

Recruiters recruit, to put it simply – but they also do a great deal more. Recruiters are tasked with finding talented professionals and reaching out to them in the hopes of convincing them to apply for open positions. A recruiter’s primary goal is to identify professionals who would be a good fit for your available job. 

They work to build relationships with potential candidates, conduct interviews and provide feedback to hiring managers. They might also help negotiate salary and compensation. 

Some recruiters work with hiring managers throughout the recruitment process, from crafting job descriptions to identifying passive candidates, performing initial screenings and making final selections.

While large firms often have recruiters on staff, smaller companies tend to hire independent recruiters or recruitment agencies on a temporary basis. If you go this latter route, be sure to do your due diligence before choosing your recruiter – check online reviews, contact references, and talk to your HR people about which recruiters and agencies have the best reputation. 

Relationship with Candidates

Recruiters serve as a sort of ambassador between candidates and hiring managers. They are responsible for screening applicants through phone interviews and video conferences before passing qualified candidates to the hiring manager.

Conversely, it’s ultimately up to the hiring manager to determine which candidate best fits the role and the company’s goals. Hiring managers meet with candidates during final interviews or after skill assessments are submitted. 

It’s up to the hiring manager to provide feedback after an interview, make sure job offers are made correctly, and develop long-term relationships with successful candidates who join the company.

Use of Technology

Hiring managers and recruiters rely on different types of technology to do their jobs.

Recruiter Technology

If you’re a recruiter, you can use technology to source potential candidates from job boards, social media sites, and career fairs. You may already be using software like ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems to manage communication with prospective employees and track application progress.

There are also applications that make recruiting easier. For example, many Fortune 500 companies use the talent acquisition tool Yello, which streamlines candidate selection, review, and hiring and offers a slew of useful metrics. 

Tools such as predictive analytics and AI can help identify talented candidates by scanning resumes for key phrases and relevant skills. Incorporating these tech tools into your recruiting can save time and improve the quality of your candidates. 

Hiring Manager Technology

Hiring managers tend to spend a lot of time on phone screenings, conference calls, and interviews, and should be familiar with platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. 

But a hiring manager’s work doesn’t end when the job offer is signed. They’re also responsible for new hire review, compensation, performance feedback, and even promotion and retention.

Hiring managers often rely on messaging platforms like Basecamp or Slack to keep everyone informed and on task, as well as project management tools like Asana, Clickup, and Notion. At many companies, they are the insider’s insider. 

Hiring Managers and Recruiters Must Be People-Oriented

Both hiring managers and recruiters have a tendency to connect with people and build personal relationships with candidates and staffers. And this is a good idea, as strong communication and collaboration often drives business success. 

Friendly relations between coworkers, hiring managers, and recruiters ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards common goals. Establish clear and regular communication channels between all parties – whether via Slack or stopping by someone’s desk every Thursday.  

Take the initiative to reach out to your people regularly, regardless of level or job title. Connecting on a personal level can be just as important as connecting professionally. Your employees will be more willing to open up if you express interest in their needs, beliefs, and preferences. 

Make regular check-ins and encourage staff to discuss anything from career aspirations to personal issues that may impact job performance. 


Your firm might have hiring managers or recruiters, or it might have both. What’s important is that they know their roles and responsibilities and reliably fulfill these duties. In order to grow and thrive, a 21st-century business needs smart recruitment and efficient hiring, which means both of these positions are crucial for success. Be sure to give them the attention they deserve.