Budgeting Yourself to Below Average Recruiting

I was with a great group of TA leaders this week at the ATAP annual board meeting. One of my colleagues made a comment during a break:

“You can’t budget yourself to great TA”

A Great TA Leader Once Said

Meaning, if you keep cutting your TA budget year after year, eventually your tech is going to be so dated, or behind the times, that you won’t be able to ever pull yourself out of the hole you budgeted yourself into. While you’ll save some money in the short term, ultimately these ‘cuts’ to the budget will cost you more overall when it comes to filling positions.

Ideally, you work for a c-suite that actually understands this and they aren’t coming to you asking for you to cut your TA budget and produce more quality hires, faster! That doesn’t really work, unless you’ve gone a run of ten straight years of padding your TA budget year after year with extra and this budget cycle is about getting back to a midpoint.

I’m not saying you need a ton of budget to have solid TA tools and processes. Too often we overspend on technology that has a lot of promise, but little actual, proven ROI. Also, we hang on to bad budget investments. Most TA leaders I speak to don’t have a real clear picture of what their best sources are and how much they are paying for each source.

When they run this analysis and really dig in, they always uncover a bucket of money that is being thrown away, but it’s a ‘legacy’ tool that at one point they relied on, but now it’s not producing like it once did, but they hope it’s going to come back, so they keep throwing money at it. It’s really scary to cut a tool that is actually producing hires, even when that tool is expensive, because we believe if we cut that over-priced tool we won’t get those hires from somewhere else.

Let me give you a Pro TA Tip! You will! Cut that $50K tool, take $25k of that money and give it to your most productive source in some way and you’ll most likely actually get more hires from that investment then you got on your weaker performing over-priced tool.

I don’t like to go backwards on my TA budget unless we know we’re going to have less hires for that budget year, or we are doing something to increase retention that will impact our capacity in a positive way. Every single time I’ve been asked to cut TA budget, but still produce, we didn’t get better, we fought like crazy to stay the same, or we got worse.

Be careful my TA friends when that budget director, CFO-type comes to you looking for cuts, but also wants you to produce the same or more. If you get trapped into this scenario make sure they give you some concessions on what they are willing to give up when it comes to your team’s services and make sure to continually remind them of your budget cut each time they complain that recruiting isn’t getting the job done!

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