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September 12, 2014 / Stephanie Anderson

Job search roles: The who’s who of your search

shutterstock_158384786A lot of people are involved in the process of hiring a new candidate for a job. Hiring manager vs. HR manager. Recruiter vs. sourcer.

As a job hunter do you have a good sense of who these people are and what role they play? Understanding the responsibilities and motivations of each can set you up for success in your search.

“Seek to understand the role of each player, treat them with respect and follow their process, and they will be much more likely to become an ally in your job search,” says Dele Lowman Smith, a corporate coach and principal consultant for iLuminous Consulting.

Important roles to understand from the employer side include:

1. The sourcer: This is the person who gets down and dirty, filtering all the candidates and providing a regular pipeline of talent for the recruiter to review. If you do have interactions with a sourcer, it is likely prior to more formal discussions with a recruiter.

2. Recruiter:  This person is retained by the employer to find talent, usually for high-level or difficult-to-fill positions, says Smith. “They are motivated to find the right fit for the employer since their compensation often depends on the success of the candidate.” It is key to remember that though they are your main point of contact with an employer, they work for the business, not you.

3. HR manager: The lead HR contact oversees the  hiring process and often takes a more strategic view, ensuring a candidate is a good match for the role, but also the team and company as a whole. They offer insight on salary and in some cases will manage negotiations. They also make sure all employment laws are strictly followed. Depending on the company or role, you may or may not have conversations with the HR manager during the interview process, but they will likely support you from an HR perspective if you are hired.

4. Interviewer: Candidates typically interview with several people. An interviewer’s role is to assess whether the candidate is a good match for the position. It is often a leader in the group where a candidate would be working, a peer or a partner.

5. Hiring manager: The hiring manager is the person who makes the final decision about making a job offer, says Hank Boyer, principal adviser at Boyer Management Group. “This is the manager who will be overseeing the new hire. Most hiring managers are not experts in the interviewing and hiring process, but are strong operational people who manage their area of the organization.” The hiring manager is likely the most important person to impress in the interview process.

In addition to learning roles of note on the employer side, it’s also critical to know what roles exist within your own network that will best serve your needs. As the job seeker, understand and use these contacts to your advantage.

“All the people in your global professional network can directly or indirectly help you in your search,” says Boyer. “To be effective, the network must have been built and nourished well before it is needed to assist in a job search. Give first, get later (maybe).”

1. Reference: Someone an employer can contact to get insight about a candidate’s character and professional aptitude. Former colleagues, managers or business contacts are often references. You choose the references you provide an employer, so choose wisely.

2. Recommender: With the popularity of LinkedIn, it’s important to have professional endorsements. These contacts offer their positive opinion about the candidate’s skill set within an industry. This person might also be a reference and a referrer.

3. Insider: “People inside a target company who would be willing to meet with you (think informational meeting) and help you to gain an insider’s perspective of the employer, the culture, the people and perhaps even offer your resume to the HR department if the employer has an employee referral program,” says Boyer.

4. Career coach: Works with a job seeker to understand motivations, strengths, weaknesses and create a plan to achieve their career goals. Optional and works for a fee.

5. Support: A strong support system includes friends or family willing to assist with reviewing resume content, conducting mock interviews and providing words of encouragement.

Every job search is different, but understanding the key roles you are likely to encounter will help ensure successful interactions and a great first impression. What other roles have you come across in your job search?