Who Does What? Hiring Relationships & Expectations

Understanding the decision-makers in a hiring process can help you tailor the right messaging to the right people.

Looking for a job is often confusing, tiring and unclear. Have you ever had questions about which point of contact to go to for negotiating, career information or other questions? Have you ever been confused at who handles different pieces of an interview process?

If that sounds like you, we’ve got your back. Today we’ll break down who owns what piece of the hiring process, your points of contact and how to figure out who you need to talk to. You’ll walk away with a more streamlined understanding of the hiring process and be able to designate questions to the right people.

So Who Does What?


The recruiter is your main point of contact, advocate and should be your best friend. Recruiters influence hiring teams, design and negotiate offers and will be the ones walking you through the interview process as a whole. They know the hiring teams well and work closely with them, giving you insight into their wants and needs. They also help enforce and design interview processes and should be very familiar with each step and able to walk you through them. They should also have an understanding of what the trajectory of the role looks like, and will be able to walk you through the basics of what your career and promotions could look like. They’ll give you an in-depth breakdown of your compensation at the offer stage and will be presenting your final offer.

What should I go to my recruiter for? All things compensation, interview tips, team or interview process information.


The sourcer is often your first point of contact - the person that finds you! Sourcers are responsible for first round interviews, finding amazing talent and getting them into the front part of the funnel. Sourcers will know the job duties and responsibilities very well, and as your first point of contact will be able to provide knowledge on the first round of interviews, team and overall role information.

What should I go to my sourcer for? All things first round interviews, questions about the company or role function within the team. Note: Many smaller companies do not have sourcing teams, it will depend on the size - default to your recruiter for this info if you don’t get contacted by a sourcer.

Hiring Manager

A hiring manager will (unless otherwise stated) be your manager at this new company, and is responsible for the overarching hiring decision. They are responsible for your career development, will have control over what level you come in at and are ultimately responsible for your role. Hiring managers will be able to give you an in-depth look at the dynamics of the team, their organizational and team goals, and what your trajectory could look like. They and the recruiter work together to design your compensation, and they will have the last say on your leveling.

What should I go to my hiring manager for? It’s best to go through your recruiter for your compensation, but you should go to your hiring manager for anything regarding your career, trajectory and team dynamics and goals.

Technical Interviewers

If you are interviewing for software engineering, your first interview (after speaking with a sourcer or recruiter) will likely be a technical interview. Your technical interviewers are often generalized and won’t necessarily be specific to a team, making them a good person to ask about overall culture and company vibes. They will know a lot about the generalized interview process and technical functions, but will likely lack knowledge in the team itself.

What should I go to my technical interviewer for? Any questions regarding the technical interview and overall company culture.

Panel Interviewers

For your final round interview, you will likely have a few back to back interviews with panel interviewers. These people are responsible for interviewing for overall craft, teamwork and ability. They will often be a part of the direct team you’re interviewing for, but sometimes will come from other teams that work closely with the one you’re interviewing for. They are a great resource for questions about both that team and others you’d work closely with, and should be craft experts in their field.

What should I go to my panel interviewers for? Any questions regarding the overall company, other teams you would work with, and the expectations and craft of the role and function.

HR Business Partner

HR business partners play a key role when it comes to leveling and organizational effectiveness. Though they are not always in interviews themselves, they play a big role in the success of that team and part of the organization. If you have a leadership interview many companies will have the HRBP step in to interview specifically around team and people development, how you grow a team effectively and any other people management skills deemed critical for the role. There are a lot of interviews that don’t include the HRBP, so don’t worry if they’re not on your interview panel.

What should I go to my HRBP for? If you’ve interviewed with them directly, they’re a great person for questions around long term career planning at an organization, the goals of said team and overarching company goals. They’re also a good person to go to in order to more deeply understand leveling.


1. Who should be my main point of contact?

Your recruiter, they will likely be the most responsive and it is their job to get you the information you need.

2. Who decides what level I come in at?

The hiring manager has the ultimate call on this, but will look at data from your onsite interview to confirm leveling. The interviewers will have some opinions, but the hiring manager will make the call. Some companies have people responsible for leveling that oversee debriefs, and in that case they will confirm leveling to attempt to mitigate any potential bias.

3. Who decides my compensation?

A combination of the recruiter and hiring manager. At many companies the recruiter will propose the overall package based on the information they’ve gotten from you around your compensation expectations, but the hiring manager is the ultimate decider on a compensation package.

4. Who can give me the most information for my technical interview?

Your sourcer or recruiter should be responsible for preparing you for the technical interview, and should be able to provide context and tips.

5. Who makes the final decision and why does it take so long?

The hiring manager will make the ultimate decision, but takes the time to consult with the recruiter and the interviewing team - it often (especially if interviewers are very senior) takes time to get the team together. They go through any potential gaps, what the overall initiatives are and determine whether it will be the best fit. It is normal for this process to take up to a week and doesn’t mean you won’t be getting an offer.

About The Author

Kylie is a writer and educator with experience in hyper growth recruiting who specializes in writing and speaking about tech, ethical hiring practices, diversity, equity and inclusion. She has worked for Atlassian and Airbnb and has led product, design and leadership hiring.

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