Talent Acquisition

It's about Relationships, not Numbers.

Joy Hunt
August 25, 2021

There are two specific questions that will no doubt be asked while interviewing a recruiter; these two questions seem to resonate as if they have the power to make or break the success of that person.  The two questions are: 1. how many searches they can carry at one time and 2. what their average ‘time to close’ is. 

Many companies aim to bring recruiters on board who have the ability to source passive candidates in an effort to canvas more of the market as well as minimize the need to utilize an external search firm. 

Although these companies seek recruiters with these skill sets, they continue to align their KPIs based on their ability to handle high volume work with extremely tight time constraints that do not allow for passive recruitment.  In essence, the recruiters are ‘bogged down’ with too many requisitions which pushes them to rely on candidates that apply for jobs given they do not have time to passively recruit.

I would like to offer an alternative view to recruitment. To be effective, a recruiter must be relationship-driven and be supported and encouraged to take the time necessary to:

  • Be curious – Ask the client/hiring manager questions (i.e., during the kickoff, fully understand the role, who the key stakeholders are, the challenges, how to position the role in the market, etc.); Ask the candidate questions in a warm conversation style rather than a cold checkbox style (i.e., learn their skill set, motivation, what drives them, what matters to them).
  • Be strategic – Read between the lines and determine what is really needed for a person to be successful in the role, department, division and company. Research to understand the marketplace. Have conversations with individuals in the market to gain additional perspectives on the company brand and approach to the role.
  • Be an out-of-the-box thinker – Speak with individuals in ancillary roles to round out your network; Ask the tough questions and get to the bottom of potential challenges to assess a candidate’s characteristic fit.
  • Be an advisor – Take what you have learned in the market and share that intelligence with the hiring manager to determine if a pivot in the approach is necessary (fail fast). Develop trust with the hiring manager and candidates.
  • Be confident – YOU are the expert in your field, know that and take the time to develop an opinion and then share it.
  • Be passionate – Care about your role and take the responsibility seriously. Candidates and hiring managers can hear your commitment and compassion in your voice.  They need to know that you care and are there to find a mutually beneficial match.

When recruiting becomes about the numbers (how many roles can you handle at one time and how quickly can you close them) rather than the relationships, it waters down the effectiveness and impact that a recruiter can really have on an organization.  To set recruiters up for success and attract those that are relationship-driven there are key elements that must be present in an organization:

  • A company culture that invests in the talent that is bringing in the talent - to include ongoing training, collaboration, open door access to senior leaders, mentorship, recruiting tools, human capital resources (sourcers and administrative support), and a culture of respect. 
  • KPIs that weigh heavily towards measuring candidate and hiring manager satisfaction versus heavily weighted towards ‘time to close’.
  • A Talent Acquisition leader that has been a recruiter and understands what it takes to be truly successful and is able to evangelize relationship-driven recruitment throughout the company.
  • A talent acquisition structure with 3 tiers:
  1. Entry-level roles where candidates can be found via responding to applicants coming into the ATS.  These recruiters can handle a higher volume of requisitions (around 30).
  2. Mid-level roles where half of the candidates can be found via applicants and half of the candidates will need to be passively sourced.  These recruiters should not have a req load of more than 20 to be effective.
  3. Experienced-level roles where passive recruitment is required.  These recruiters should not have a req load of more than 12-15 to be effective.

This structure allows for:

  • increased candidate satisfaction - having the time to develop a trusted recruiter/candidate relationship gives the candidate an understanding of what kind of company they are considering joining and humanizes the process.
  • increased recruiter satisfaction – giving the recruiter the time and mental energy they need to feel engaged and impactful in the process rather than feeling like a cog in the wheel.
  • increased hiring manager satisfaction – noticing a higher quality of candidate being presented as well as an empathetic recruiting partner that has time to deliver will save the hiring manager time and stress.

Leadership that not only understands the value of new talent coming in the door but also understands the value of their existing talent that is bringing in that talent is critical.  If you want an impactful and effective recruiting organization, protect your brand by hiring people that are encouraged to and understand how to build relationships.  

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