RTT – Recruiter Volumes: At which point do you risk diluting quality?

These are the thoughts and takeaways from the latest Resourcing Think Tank (RTT) held on Tuesday 21st January 2014 hosted by Gilead Sciences’ Grant Weinberg (Director of International Talent Acquisition), titled ‘Recruiter Volumes: At which point do you risk diluting quality?’

The following summary has been prepared to reflect a segment of the discussion held amongst senior HR and Resourcing professionals from leading national and international businesses. Specific company details, experiences and examples have been omitted from this summary as all discussions are held under ‘Chatham House Rules’.

When it comes to assessing the ‘right’ number of requisitions per recruiter, there are a number of variables that can be considered to arrive at an appropriate number. You can consider geographical diversity, functional area, seniority, volume, recruiter capability, resources available and life cycle management. So how are businesses defining their recruiter volumes and monitoring impact on resourcing productivity?

Proactive hiring

One of the biggest barriers to effectively managing a large volume of requisitions is expecting recruiters to recruit from a standing start. The life of a recruiter is made much easier if there’s a degree of forecasting that can be done. Based on having projected requirements, Resourcing is able to structure teams accordingly to effectively source and facilitate these requisitions. However, planning headcount numbers realistically cannot be done without access to the business’s corporate plan and strategic direction; essentially the bones of a strategic workforce plan.

Nevertheless, Hiring Managers and Business Partners should be able to work with Resourcing to flag any impending vacancies and projects that will result in additional hiring over the mid-long term. A problem many businesses face when forecasting hiring volumes is firstly getting projected numbers from business functions and secondly holding them accountable for these figures should any dramatic changes occur. Why not run the model similarly to a Shared Service environment whereby recruitment allocates resources for the figures projected and should the number increase, the respective function is charged on a project basis? A great tool for making the business aware of the wider implications of not forecasting.

How many requisitions is too many?

Looking specifically at the optimal number of requisitions per recruiter is a complex challenge – there’s a whole host of criteria that needs to be considered. And whilst there’s no exact science, it seems on average that an internal recruiter will work on an average of 93 roles over the course of a year. So how can you break down hiring volumes to assess what’s ‘fair’ amongst recruiters? Clearly, this is dependent on the type of recruiter (do they solely source or is there an element of selection?) but there are certain measures which undoubtedly impact a recruiter’s capacity:

  • Are your recruiters geographically or functionally aligned?
  • If recruiting across multiple geographies, how many employment laws and contracts are they having to take into consideration?
  • How many Business Partners are they consulting with and updating during the process?
  • Are your recruiting systems fit-for-purpose and if recruiters are working across multiple locations, are these systems universal?
  • How responsive and ‘bought-into’ the recruitment process are your hiring mangers and stakeholder groups?
  • How are you dividing your roles between executive, specialist and business as usual hiring?

Allowing your recruiters the time to recruit 

As outlined above, a key variable that will impact a recruiter’s requisition number is the scope of their role. For instance, are they purely sourcers, do they influence the selection process and are they responsible for administration? Employing Recruitment Coordinators helps free up the time of recruiters to focus on what they do best and prevents them getting bogged down with scheduling interviews, booking meetings rooms etc. However, many businesses seem to report a difficulty with retaining staffing coordinators based on the often transactional nature of tasks. Therefore, this position provides a great opportunity to bring highly organised apprentices into the business and offers them a different route into the internal recruitment industry.

Hiring Manager Maturity

It goes without saying that recruiters feel more engaged when they are working with a client, Hiring Manager or stakeholder who is responsive and also engaged. Generally speaking, by improving this relationship and the capability of the Hiring Manager a recruiter should be able to work on a greater number of requisitions. Many businesses have reported success with running ‘Licence to Hire’ training sessions to up-skill and educate Hiring Managers on the importance of working effectively with recruiters. Additionally, some companies are introducing a rating scale detailing ‘Hiring Manager Maturity’; this rating (from 1-3) identifies the Hiring Manager’s capability and helps determine the number of roles a recruiter can realistically work on.

Assigning ownership to all elements of the process

Recruitment processes vary from company to company, however what remains consistent is the importance of ensuring all stakeholders are aware of the part they play and are accountable for it. Setting expectations up front is key when addressing the following:

  • Are you expecting your Hiring Managers to help name gather and source for roles by reaching out to their networks?
  • Who makes the ultimate hiring decision? Are recruiters being expected to assess on technical skills, or do Hiring Managers take this responsibility?
  • Are recruiters required to sit in on every interview and is this really feasible? This answer really comes down to the business’s drivers. If it’s quality and the business has invested in the infrastructure to allow this, then it’s important and necessary.

Measuring the success of a hire

Determining a measure for quality of hire is incredibly challenging, as in most cases you are relying on subjective data. Do you measure a candidate’s performance six months down the line, or will results be skewed based on the on-boarding experience and the employee’s relationship with their line manager? How can recruitment be accountable for the first six months when there are so many other influencing factors? It seems a combination of variables need to be considered to make a ‘fair’ assessment such as: attrition, retention, candidate impact, performance data, candidate and line manager feedback etc. After all, until you start measuring value or quality of hire, you’re less likely to uncover poor elements of the process.

The Resourcing Think Tank’s recommendations:

  • Learn the capability of the stakeholders (and process efficiency) to determine what is a deemed a reasonable workload
  • A recruitment function is only as good as its understanding of key metrics and search requirements; such as time to hire, time to competency, value of hire, quality of process. These metrics will determine effectiveness
  • Take into consideration Hiring Manager capability and regional differences to develop better base line data to more accurately work with your business
  • Educate Hiring Managers on conducting an effective recruitment process and grade their ‘maturity’ to help appropriately assign vacancies to recruiters
  • To garner a fair measure of quality of hire you need to consider multiple factors. We need to move away from the perception that a good performer has ‘obviously been trained and managed well’, compared to a poor performer who was ‘obviously the wrong recruit!’
  • Engage with HRBPs to help reach a clearer picture of hiring volumes and business areas that will likely require some sourcing.
Oasis HR

Written by , Network Driven HR Recruitment

Oasis HR is a multi-award winning HR Recruitment Agency based in London that delivers Contingency and Search services within the Human Resource and Business Change Markets. Our client base encompasses all industry sectors and we have a proven track record of delivering permanent, interim and temporary professionals at all levels across all HR disciplines. From a £20k HR Administrator to a £200k HR Director, Oasis HR is well placed to identify, approach and secure the best available talent in the market

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One Response to “RTT – Recruiter Volumes: At which point do you risk diluting quality?”

  1. Jackie Keefe

    Very good ‘product’ from this latest RTT. I especially liked the intelligent approach to whether a new hire is unsuccessful because of poor recruitment or because of poor training and line management. I have often come across the situation where, in a one-off hire, the line manager has ‘oversold’ the role and, upon joining, the new recruit finds that the role, and the responsibility they are given, is not what they thought it was. In my HR teams I have always encouraged the HR Business Partners to look behind the reasons for leaving by understanding the leadership environment that the new candidate will be joining. Also encouraging the line manager to select not the ‘best’ candidate but the one that best fits – and that means challenging the line manner on their version of the role description and person spec. Not easy sometimes!

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