Want to Recruit Better? Hire more Recruiters and less Recruiting Managers!


Take a look at what’s happened in healthcare over the past 40 years:


In the healthcare industry over the past forty years, there has been a 2000% growth rate in the number of “Administrators” in healthcare, which the number of Physicians has remained relatively flat. Now, some of this growth in administration could be that for decades prior there might have been a lack of proper administration and some of this growth is just catching up, but 2000%!?

And we wonder why the cost of healthcare in our country is out of control!

Healthcare isn’t the only place where this happens! The more successful an organization is, the more mid-level management hires increase. So, in times of prosperity, we tend to want to surround the worker bees with tons of management “help”. Our organizations get bloated with none productive hires all hired believing we’ll make those who actually produce more efficient and effective.

We do this in talent acquisition, a ton!

I get asked by HR and TA executives frequently about hiring recruiting leadership. Recently, I spoke with a CHRO who was struggling to attract talent and fill positions and I asked her to give me their TA structure. “Oh, we have a Director of TA, a Manager of TA, and a Recruiter.” So, you can’t hire, but you’ve got two TA leaders and one person actually doing the hiring!?

I told her to fire the director and the manager and hire 4 more recruiters and let the team of 5 recruiters work the openings. I was exaggerating a little, but she got my point. Positions don’t get filled by managing them to death. Positions get filled by recruiters generating activity that leads to filling positions.

Of course, great leadership can help any function be more effective, but having leaders for the simple fact that we believe someone or something needs to be “managed” is short-sighted at best, and destructive at it’s worst. I’ll always choose a flatter structure over empire-building any day of the week. Give me some soldiers and let me fight!

The problem with hiring non-productive employees is what we’ve seen in healthcare. Once you get one administrator/manager every other employee wants to do the same thing. “Wait, I can get paid more and not have to actually produce!? Yes, please!” And soon you have a 2000% increase in hiring folks who don’t actually see patients, who don’t fill positions, who don’t make the donuts.


6 thoughts on “Want to Recruit Better? Hire more Recruiters and less Recruiting Managers!

  1. Agree with Cara and to your articles point, Tim. I am a recruiter and have also been a recruiting team manager. I recruited, guided, strategized and reported (through metrics) to leadership. My current organization has a TA manager that is an unnecessary place holder within the organization. This position is so NOT a a recruitment leader, and has never assisted me nor have they been able to answer a single recruitment question.

    If you are a TA leader, you should be using your talent to help the team and organization. Especially in this Candidate Desert filled with mirages that look like talent, but when you get closer disappear… Otherwise what are you doing the other 38 hours when not entering data into a spreadsheet?

    Thanks for all you do-

  2. I have 8 recruiters and 3 coordinators all reporting to me. I’ll resist hiring anything between because I need to stay close to the pain, so I know where to focus my energy.

  3. I partly agree. I believe there should be a leader in place but they should ALSO recruit. They should be the cheerleader when the team needs it, be there to listen when things get tough. They should also help in developing all the recruiters and themselves professionally. In a case where there is a team of recruiters perhaps promoted from other internal teams and still learning there should be someone there with experience to guide.

    • Cara,

      Yeah, we are on the same page. I’m not saying you have no leader, but I’ve seen shops that will have a VP of TA, Director of TA, Manager of TA, Manager of Recruitment Marketing, and have like 4 actual recruiters. Stop it!


  4. You can thank the government bureaucracy as the preliminary factor of the healthcare administration growth. Healthcare, education, and financial organizations are the most regulated and monitored professions in this country. Some of the monitoring is needed, but at least in healthcare there has been a huge push to securely digitize, report, record, bill, structure, quantify, prioritize, blah blah blah. The most basic of procedures, like getting a flu shot, now has to be handled by 5 different organization. Most hospitals dream of going back to a simple patient treatment model.

  5. Amen! The same holds true in Academia, the Military and most other industries. The Peter Principle was proven correct again!

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