Internal Recruitment Overload

What is it with corporates that load up their recruiters with a ridiculous workload? I recently met a recruitment manager who leads a team of three recruiters, and their current workload is 140 open requisitions. Needless to say, the team is stretched; they work long hours and are reaching burnout. And their budget is tight, so they can’t outsource or increase their team.
Over the last 5-10 years there has been a huge shift in the recruitment market where many corporates have seen the opportunity to reduce their recruiting costs by bringing it all in-house.  Makes sense? Yes, but only to a point.
Sure, back in the agency glory days, recruitment fees were the necessary evil for acquiring good talent.  Bringing the function in-house has changed this, and in fact, there are many really good, mature internal recruitment functions that deliver a great service to their company. But there are also a lot who just take on the work, and bear the load.
You can cut costs to a point, but ultimately, recruiting takes time and costs money. Someone has to pay.  So why has it come to this?
In my opinion it comes down to a couple of factors:

  • Firstly, the recruitment manager’s influencing skills:  As long as you nod your head and say ‘yes’ to impossible workloads, you will be laden with impossible workloads.  Ok, maybe not impossible, you can do a herculean effort to deliver, but for how long can you sustain this?
  • Secondly, the overarching business driver of ‘cost cutting’:  Of course we all need to find ways to do more with less.  But if cost cutting is king, then other aspects will suffer such as quality of hire, time to hire, staff engagement and retention, not to mention candidate and hiring manager satisfaction.  Non-one is going to remember that you reduced agency usage, if you have critical roles remaining open and cannot meet the needs of the business.

So here are some things to help you address this problem:

  • Use metrics to calculate a reasonable workload per recruiter:  Calculate your average time to hire – you may need to segment this by role type.  Review the services you are delivering in the recruitment process and measure how long each step takes.  Now, add this all together and you should be able to work out the average cycle time for a recruitment campaign – segmented by volume and non-volume.  And then you should be able to calculate the number of cycles per recruiter per year that is sustainable (don’t forget to account for public holidays and leave).  This will provide you with a good basis for a business case to increase your resources or to outsource where required.
  • Identify which steps in the process can be automated or eliminated:  Do you really have to read every resume – can you use online assessment tools early in the process to weed out candidates that are unlikely to be successful in the role?  Do you really have to do a face to face interview for every candidate?  How about implementing video interviewing – this saves lots of time and can add huge value in the selection process.
  • Develop a framework to identify which roles will be done in-house and which ones get outsourced, and under what circumstances.  Apply a bit of science to this – we use a methodology which rates the strategic value of the role, the ease to fill it, the impact of the resource on the organisation, and the urgency of the role.  For example, a Senior Finance Manager may be a strategic resource for the organisation and depending on your framework, you may decide to do this in-house. You may decide that open requisitions after a certain timeframe are outsourced to a preferred supplier. You may decide that easy to fill, volume roles are always outsourced. Applying a planned approach to which roles to outsource, will help you develop preferred suppliers and manage recruitment fees.  I will write a follow up blog on ‘criticality versus scarcity’ when considering which roles to outsource and which ones to undertake in-house.  But my key point here is, have an agreed framework in place.
  • Implement sensible KPIs:  Agree the percentage of roles to be outsourced; agree target time to fill by role type; measure early attrition; measure source of hire; measure quality of hire; measure candidate and hiring manager satisfaction.  Metrics are a great way to support any change initiative.

You don’t necessarily have to say ‘no’, but saying ‘yes’ to everything won’t serve you.  The above tactics will help you implement a viable strategy to ensure your team delivers a quality and viable recruitment service that is sustainable.  This will also help you increase your influence as a strategic leader within your organisation.
Jenni Nelson will be facilitating a session at #CWF2014 on Building A Bullet-Proof Business Case. Delegates will discuss the various forms of business cases, and help decide which suits them. You can find out more about Jenni’s session, as well as view the conference agenda here

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