I recently went to an event and met a corporate recruiter who was frustrated with a hiring manager because she thought they were on the same page but the manager kept turning away all the candidates. I assured her that managers wanting to see more candidates, even when the perfect candidate is sitting right in front of them, is a common problem.
We talked a little bit about her relationship with the manager the way she had been dealing with these issues. She did what a lot of people do; cater to the manager's individual preferences and personality to "keep them happy".
This might work to some degree, but it will not be sustainable as your company grows. The advice I gave to her that I wanted to share with you all was to recalibrate her relationship with the manager.
You can't write a manager off as a lost cause and work around the problem. You need to talk to them and work through the problem. If you're not understanding why they are saying no to candidates that fit the profile then you need to sit down and go over the candidates in detail. If they are not being consistent about what they want in a candidate then you need to bring their attention to those inconsistencies. If the manager cares at all about their team, then this discussion should be met with some sort of empathy.
Of course, this is all easier said than done and it helps to have a plan to recalibrate your relationship. Here is my approach:
The reality is not everyone has the skills, experience, or even self-awareness to know they are being difficult. I've found that each manager has their own experience working on teams and hiring at various companies. The reality is they are probably unaware there is an issue and just operating from a place of fear. Fear that they are going to make a bad hire, look bad in some way or are not confident in their own ability to recruit the right people. If you understand that then you can start to approach the problem with a different mindset, one that allows you to detach your own emotions from the behavior of the manager.
If you're having trouble partnering with a hiring manager and want to talk in more detail shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.