The 5 Reasons Your Recruiters Aren’t Recruiting!

Oh boy, here we go. Buckle up, gang!

I guess I need to start at what the hell is “recruiting” and what’s not “recruiting.” We have to because what most of you are calling “recruiting,” I call processing candidates who applied to your job. To me, that’s administering the recruiting process, not really recruiting.

If you post a job and someone applies, technically, most of you call that recruiting. You’re paying a full-functioning human anywhere from $65K to $165K for them to be a “recruiter,” and they are posting jobs and waiting for someone to apply. I used to say I could train a monkey to do that job, but now I get to say I can easily train A.I. to do that job for pennies on the dollar.

Posting and Praying is not recruiting. Posting, collecting candidates who applied, and screening them, is what I like to call “Inbound Recruiting,” and that’s not really recruiting. It’s just administering the recruiting process. Do. Not. Get. Me. Wrong. Being amazing at administering your recruiting process is still valuable and needed. The best “outbound” recruiting shops will still have about 70% of their hires filled by “inbound” recruiting!

Outbound recruiting is then “real” recruiting. That’s when a recruiter has a requisition and really has no valid candidates for the hiring manager, and thus they have to go out and find valid candidates. Now, part of that process might still be finding new places to share and post jobs, but that’s only one small part. The larger part of “real” recruiting is cold outreach to people who don’t know your job is open or might know, but they need some persuasion.

Okay, Why Aren’t Your Recruiters Doing Any “Real” Recruiting?

1. They don’t have capacity because, as humans, we naturally fill our time with what gives us the most success, and in your current state, that is “Inbound recruiting.” This means you tell your recruiters, and you expect your recruiters to do outbound recruiting, but they can easily fill their day with inbound recruiting, and it pays the same. So, why not take the easier route?

2. They don’t know how to really recruit. Honestly, most corporate talent acquisition pros who have never worked in an agency have spent most of their career doing 99% inbound recruiting. That’s just the truth, and we know why from what I said in #1. So, we have to teach them how to do outbound recruiting! (Side note – HireEZ’s own internal Recruiter, Vivian Jiang, will be doing an Outbound Recruiting Session specifically for Corporate TA Pros at the Michigan Recruiters Conference on Nov. 10th in Detroit!)

3. They aren’t rewarded and recognized for doing real recruiting. Almost every time I work with corporate TA teams, I find that the recruiter who fills the most jobs is looked at and rewarded like they are the top recruiter. What I find is they rarely are the top recruiter, but they are the recruiter who processes the most fills through inbound recruiting.

4. Your TA Shop is not structured to do real recruiting. See #1, but basically, you should have “processors” who only do inbound recruiting, and they are amazing at it, and then you have recruiters who only really recruit in a modern TA function. You can get processors for half the price of real recruiters, and they are measured completely differently than outbound recruiters.

5. Your hiring managers don’t know the difference. Right now, today, your hiring managers honestly believe that your TA team is recruiting for their opening. They have no idea that you are only posting jobs and collecting whatever person applies. Those people applying might be the worst talent in the industry, but you are selling them on they are the best. If they knew the truth, they would demand change. What I find is real recruiters work with hiring managers to actually uncover the best talent together in the best TA shops.

This isn’t easy!

I get it. The change management alone from moving from inbound recruiting to outbound recruiting is painful, which is why I think the best approach is to break up the function into two very specific processes of inbound and outbound. It never, and yes, I’m saying never, works to have and expect recruiters to do both.

We built the Michigan Recruiter’s Conference to specifically work with Corporate Talent Acquisition teams to start to work on these challenges and pain points, and I’m super excited to bring it back on November 10th in Detroit with our awesome corporate TA team sponsor DTE Energy onsite at their beautiful and modern campus. Join us!

You Have No F@cking Idea What You Want!

Can I be real a second?
For just a millisecond?
Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?

We have a core problem in HR and Talent Acquisition that might be impossible to solve. On one side, we have hiring managers who think they know what they want, but any Recruiter can tell you that changes by the minute and by the candidate you put in front of them. Can you spell conscious bias?

On the other hand, we have candidates who truly believe they know what they want, but until they actually get into the job and work with the team and get a feel for how the culture works, they also have no clue of what they really want. Can you spell clueless?

All the while, the reality is that none of us really know what we want.

Oh, Timmy, I do! I want more money! Ugh, this new job with more money sucks!

Oh, Timmy, I do! I want passion and purpose in my work! Ugh, this new job doesn’t pay enough for me to live!

Oh, Timmy, I do! I want a job that pays me more than I should be making, makes me feel like I’m helping out the world in some major way, allows me to come and go as I please, and never asks me to produce any evidence of any work that I ever did!

Well, yes, yes, you do know what you want!

Even then, some idiot would find fault with that job. The brand isn’t cool anymore…(and here comes the throat punch!).

Humans are awful at knowing what they want and combining what’s best for them. We tend to pick things that make us feel good at the moment, but a week later, we hate ourselves for it. This makes employee selection super difficult. You have two people meeting each other for an hour, if you’re lucky and then making a life-changing decision. Turns out, that rarely works out well for either side.

We try to throw psychology and technology into the mix, and honestly, this would work better, but we still throw a human in the loop (candidate) at some point who basically can’t be honest with themselves or the A.I., and we can’t figure out why this entire thing keeps failing.

So, what should we do?

I think we should just select employees based on a lottery. “Are you interested in this job? and Do you meet the requirements?” Two yes’s, and you get a shot at the job lottery! Let the odds forever be in your favor! Good luck.

I mean, would it really be worse than what you’re doing right now?

I don’t know.

I hope you liked the picture of my puppy.

4 Strategies to Get Candidates to Open Your Emails!

I found some cool data that probably got overlooked a while back from CB Insights. Now, this data is from 2016, but it’s super relevant!

CB Insights did some testing with their own email newsletter that went out to 175K+. A very big sample, and the reality is they have the exact same goal as we all do, Get Candidates to Open Our Email!

These four things work really well in getting people to open your email:

1. Brand Names. CB found that using a big brand name like Apple, Google, Nike, etc., in your subject line increases your odds greatly of getting someone to open your email. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Tim, how the heck am I going to use a brand name in my recruiting emails!?” How about something like, “3 Ways we are a better place to work than Apple!”

2. Short Titles. Less is more when it comes to attention-grabbing subject lines! I suggest under five words if possible. “Are we paying too much?” or “I’ve Got a Quick Question” or “Sackett” – Yep, in my own testing, the one email that gets open at a higher rate than any other is when I only put my last name in the subject line!

3. Negativity. This seems counter-intuitive. No way! People love positivity. You are right, but negativity draws them in! “How Candidates Fall on their Face!” will get opened way more than “How Candidates Succeed!” Again, in ten years of blogging and making headlines, this data also rings true. I get way more interaction on negative headlines than positive headlines.

4. Surprises. Different viewpoints that people don’t expect. “Punching Your Boss Can Get You a Raise!” or “Older Workers Have More Energy Than Millennials!” or “Hiring Dumb People!” Basically, people open these because they don’t agree with the headline. What the heck is Tim talking about today!?!

So, if all of these things work. What does CB Insights say doesn’t work?

What should we stop doing with our subject lines? 

  • All of the opposites of the above! Long headlines, positive headlines, boring, etc.
  • Question Headlines. “What 3 Things Are You Doing to Hurt Your Brand!” While Buzzfeed has made billions with these clickbait headlines, CB found readers are getting fatigued with these types of headlines. (I will tell you “The X Things to do…” headlines still work in my world. 5 Ways to Hire More People! Will always do well.
  • Broad topics do worse than Niche. A headline that says “5 Ways to Attract More Talent” will do worse than “5 Ways to Attract More Nurses Right Now!”

The key to great email subject lines is they get opened! If you send out a hundred emails to candidates and no one opens them, it doesn’t matter what the content is and how much time you spent making it perfect. Get Them To Open Your Emails! Is the single most important thing you should worry about first!

It’s very Recruiting 101, and it’s something almost every recruiting shop struggles with, but then we go and focus on the picture we’re using. Does it have a puppy and a kid in a wheelchair? No, stop the presses! Stop it. Fix the basics first, then worry about doing the higher-level stuff.

What is your most responsive email subject line?

What is your CEOs #1 Priority in Talent Acquisition? I bet it’s different than yours!

If we could all just be on the same page with most things, life would be considerably easier. I work with a lot of Talent Acquisition and HR leaders who are new to the role, and one of the things I try to advise them on is ensuring the c-suite knows exactly what their plan is, and to make sure it’s also the c-suite’s plan!

I find rarely the two are on the same page about what’s most important and it’s the major reason most HR and TA leaders fail in their role. Nothing to do with functional expertise, and everything to do with misalignment of priorities!

The Conference Board recently did a survey with 750 c-suite executives about this very topic, and here are the results:

Is Promoting Your Hybrid Work Model Your #1 Priority in Talent Acquisition!?

No, it’s not!

Now, moving more quickly in your process to get people hired and onboard definitely might be. Adding automation and technology that will definitely help will be high on your list. Having a more efficient recruiting process would also be very high. So, not completely a misalignment, but #1 seems completely off-base!

I wonder how many heads of TA or HR would have promoting our Hybrid Work Model as their #1 priority right now? I doubt it would be a ton. My guess is filling jobs and doing all those things underneath #1 would be much higher, and promoting hybrid would be way down the list.

What should you do with this information?

It’s a great reminder that throughout the year, we should be setting up some one-on-one time with our individual c-suite leaders to ensure their priorities around talent and our priorities around talent align. If they don’t, we need to make sure we have those discussions and leave the room on the same page moving forward!

Too many of us assume we are on the same page without verifying. I find that these discussions are usually the most valuable you’ll have, and just like our business priorities, we have to do frequent check-ins to ensure those priorities aren’t changing.

What is your #1 priority in Talent Acquisition right now? Hit me in the comments.

7 Things a Tech Startup Can Teach You About Your Own Success!

My buddy John Hill works for Techstars as the VP of Network. Go connect with him, he’s completely an awesome guy who will sit down and have a beer with you and talk about how to change the world for hours!  Last week he got to meet the latest crop of Techstar startups and came away motivated with some great learnings.

Here are John’s takeaways from the newest Techstar startups:

1. Nothing beats hustle. Nothing.

2. The world is full of good ideas, but only a few will execute them.

3. Relational capital is vital.

4. Networks matter. Surround yourself with those who can help you.

5. There are some wicked smart people in the world.

6. To build a great company, you need help with funding, talent, and connections to business/industry to scale and the understanding of how to navigate each.

7. Suspend disbelief!

I’m drawn to each of the seven for different reasons, but #2 jumps out because I witness this on a daily basis. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who execute and those who talk about executing. Hire those who execute. Understand that they are rare, and you should overpay for this ‘skill.’

Do you notice nowhere on his list does he talk about failure. John is a motherfucking doer! He gets shit done. Techstars will only take a chance on startups led by people who will execute. John talks about ways to succeed, not about just throwing caution to the wind and failing. The reality is most will fail. Setting yourself up for success is key.

I love that he ends his list with “Suspend disbelief.” The world is a critic. Those who make it big have that special combination of John’s list. Great idea, ability to execute, the right network to make it happen, super smart, etc. What they also have is true belief! At the end of the day, you have to believe 1000% of your idea is going to work. No part of you even questions that it won’t.

If it didn’t work, you would be destroyed because your belief was so strong that you never saw it coming when it failed. That’s how most great ideas actually make it. You find a combination of all of these things and you put money and resources behind it.

These seven learnings aren’t about how to make a startup successful. These are how you make anything successful that you’re working on.

The Baby Bonus Program You Never Knew You Needed!

In HR and Talent Acquisition, we tend to be in crisis mode constantly. We are some of the best firefighters are organization has! Our functions tend, by their very nature, to be short-termed focused. This month, this quarter, this year. Rarely are we able to think and plan further than twelve months ahead.

The problem is, currently and in the future, we (the U.S. and pretty much every industrialized country on the planet) are not making enough humans! In the U.S., we are early Japan. This means our birth rate has dipped below the replacement rate. Japan has been facing this crisis for decades; we are just starting down this path.

Why does this matter?

  1. If we can’t replace our humans, we have a shrinking workforce, and it’s very hard to grow.
  2. If we aren’t going to grow enough humans, we have to find another path to get more humans, and that’s immigration, and in the U.S., we have been awful at immigration.
  3. If we can’t get real humans, we have to build robots. The problem is, why robots will come faster than humans, it still takes time, and robots can’t effectively replace humans in most roles.

What is the solution?

This might sound a bit controversial, it’s definitely out of the norm, but HR needs to build a policy that encourages our employees to have babies!!

“Wait, what?! You want us to encourage our employees to have s…”

Okay, hear me out! Japan knew it had an issue decades ago and did nothing to address it, believing nature would take its course. But it didn’t! We have the opportunity to reward and compensate our employees for growing our next employees!

In the U.S., historically, we’ve also sucked at parental leave policies, and we’ve held parenthood against workers for promotion. Having kids, for the most part, has been a negative to your career. We need to change that! We need to make it a reward and benefit to your career. Like, imagine if Mark and Mary had seven kids! They both should be promoted immediately to Vice Presidents or Chief Growing Officers or something!

I’m only saying that half-joking! We are in a crisis and to get out of a crisis takes bold moves.

The hard part of encouraging our employees to procreate is that HR has spent its entire existence trying to stop our employees from doing this very thing! Now I’m asking you to become the Chief Baby Officer.

Um, are there other solutions?

Yes, but America tends to hate both of these options, traditionally.

The first option is to completely revamp our immigration policy and allow in millions of immigrants in both skilled/educated backgrounds and non-skilled/labor backgrounds. Traditionally, both political parties are against this because of the belief immigrants take jobs away from current citizens. Labor Unions hate this. Conservatives hate this. It’s usually a political non-starter.

The UK recently made a major change to their immigration policy because, like the U.S., they are facing a similar human challenge, and we should all take note because it’s an amazing policy. Basically, it allows professionals to come in with a Visa before getting a job, as long as they can prove they can pay their own way. This works because one of the biggest hurdles in U.S. immigration policy is we force an immigrant to have a job before they can enter, and for most U.S. employers, that just doesn’t work from a timing perspective.

The second option is more automation and robots. This is another one that labor unions tend to fight because it takes jobs away from humans. Unfortunately, this one is moving forward because we just don’t have enough workers, and even unions can’t produce more unions. More and more, we’ll see automation take the place of traditional roles we are used to seeing humans in. Cashiers, order takers, warehouse workers, truck drivers, etc. This is scary for many but a necessity for employers looking to run their day-to-day operations.

You might think that encouraging your employees to have babies is a very out-of-the-box idea, but in HR, we need to start thinking more long-term about how we’ll manage our workforce. If you believe your company will be around twenty years from now, a part of our job, strategically, should be thinking about this workforce concept.

“X” Won’t Respond to Me on @LinkedIn! How can I get them to respond? #SHRMTalent

I’m out in Denver this week at the SHRM Talent Conference. It’s packed with talent acquisition pros and everyone is super excited to be out and share, so the conversations have been really dynamic!

I got involved with a group of TA leaders where one asked the question: “We (their recruiters) can’t get software engineers to reply on LinkedIn. Does anyone know a way we can make that happen?” The next leader said, “Oh, we are having the same issue, but with accountants!” And then another in Healthcare. Basically, all of their teams were struggling to get responses on LinkedIn.

Oh, you all, are my people! Let’s talk shop!

I find there are a few kinds of people that will respond on LinkedIn without too much trouble:

  1. People who actually know you. Turns out, “network” is and should be about folks you actually know.
  2. Recruiters and Sales People. No explanation is needed.
  3. Life Coaches. See #2.
  4. Catfish and Scam Artist. I would think the LinkedIn algos could weed a lot of this out, but it just seems to grow.

Everybody else is really hard to get to respond to, especially if there’s no connection and it’s a cold outreach.

I’m going to answer the main question with a question. Don’t you hate that! Here’s my question: “If they won’t respond to you as a recruiter, who would they respond to?”

Take a minute, gather stakeholders, and answer that question.

If I’m a software engineer, and there’s a professional networking site I’m on, who would I normally respond to?

  • People I’m connected to through work, school, life, etc.
  • People I view as peers or superiors in my career.
  • People who think might be able to offer me some value. (No, your job isn’t of value to them)

If this is the case, why are we having recruiters reach out to candidates on LinkedIn at all? Why aren’t hiring managers and organizational leaders reaching out? That’s really the question! A potential candidate is exponentially more likely to respond to a peer in their skill profession or leader in their skill profession or an executive from your company.

Why?

Because they feel like that “direct” connection has value. If I’m a software engineer and VP of Engineering from a local company reaches out to connect with me, I’m much more likely to connect with this person. If I’m a manager or some function and the CEO of a company reaches out to me to connect to share leadership philosophy, I’m almost always going to accept that connection.

How do I get my Hiring Managers and/or Executives to do my Sourcing on LinkedIn?

Well, if the pain is enough for the organization you might be able to make this happen, but the reality is, it won’t be consistent enough to make a difference. The better way is to have your TA team partner with these folks and allow them to run their accounts. If I support the VP of Engineering, I’m 100% sure I would have a relationship where she would allow me access to her LinkedIn. This would happen because I would be beyond professional in using it and also give her a weekly activity report of what I did and what happened.

I’ve done this with both LinkedIn and their work email. In a way, I’m their AI bot! I’m going to use your profile to help us attract talent, and when we find someone with interest, I’ll do a transfer from you to me as the recruiter, so the candidate is left to believe a handoff happened and it’s going to be an awesome experience.

Some people think this is deceitful. I get it, but I don’t truly believe it’s different from acting like your chatbot or our crappy mass email that is made to look like it’s personal but it’s just automation. I’m not trying to deceive the candidate, I’m trying to make a connection with them and one of my leaders, in hopes that turn into interest.

Tell me why or why not this wouldn’t work in your organization?

4 Tips in Hiring Candidates with Grit!

In our ever-constant struggle to find the secret sauce of finding the best talent, many organizations are looking to hire candidates who have grit. What the heck is grit? Candidates who have grit tend to have better resolve, tenacity, and endurance.

Ultimately, executives are looking for employees who will get after it and get stuff done. Employees who aren’t waiting around to be told what to do, but those who will find out what it is we should be doing and go make it happen. Grit.

In tough economic times, our organizations need more employees with grit!

It seems so easy until you sit down in front of a candidate and try and figure out if the person actually has grit or not! You take a look at that guy from 127 Hours, the one who cut his own arm off to save his life. That’s easy, he has grit! Susy, the gal sitting across from you, who went to a great state school, and worked at a Fortune 500 company for five years, it’s hard to tell if she has grit or not!

I haven’t found a grit test on the market, so we get back to being really good at questioning and interviewing to raise our odds we’ll make the right choices for those with grit over those who tell us they have grit but really don’t!

When questioning candidates about their grit, focus on these four things:

  1. Passion. People with grit are passionate about something. I always feel that if someone has passion it’s way easier to get them to be passionate about my business and my industry. If they don’t have a true passion for anything, it’s hard to get them passionate about my organization.
  2. Doer. When they tell you what they’re passionate about, are they backing it up by actually doing something with it? I can’t tell you how many times I’ll ask someone what their passion is and then ask them how they’re pursuing their passion and they’ve done nothing!
  3. What matters to them. Different from a passion, you need to find out what matters to these people in a work setting. Candidates with grit will answer this precisely and quickly. Others will search for an answer and feel you out for what you’re looking for. I want a workplace that allows me to… the rest doesn’t matter, they know, many have no idea.
  4. Hope. To have grit, to be able to keep going when the going gets tough, you must have hope that things will work out. The glass might be half full or half empty, it doesn’t matter, because if I have a glass, I’ll find something to put in it!

I’ve said this often, but I believe individuals can acquire grit by going through bad work situations. We tend to want to hire perfect unscarred candidates from the best brands who haven’t had to show if they have grit or not.

I love those candidates with battle wounds and scars from companies that were falling apart but didn’t. I know those people had to have the grit to make it out alive!  I want those employees by my side when we go to battle.

Should Corporate Recruiters Get Paid Salary & Commission?

First, shoutout to @Hervbird21 (Recruister) on Twitter for starting this conversation (Editor’s Note: Hervbird21 I don’t know who you are but send me a note and I’ll share your LinkedIn if you’d like) Also, take a look at the Twitter thread as there are some exceptional recruiting thought leaders who had thoughts on this subject.

Link to the thread

I’ve written about this a number of times over the years, but with the recruiting market being so hot right now, I’ve actually had a number of Recruiter compensation calls with corporate TA leaders trying to figure out three main things: 1. How do we retain our recruiters; 2. How do I attract more recruiters; 3. How do we reward great recruiting performance?

First, I’m all in on the fact that recruiters should be paid in a pay-for-performance model. That doesn’t mean that corporate recruiters, agency recruiters, and RPO should all be paid the same way. All three of those roles are different and should be compensated based on what the organization needs from each recruiter.

Let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons of Performance Pay for Corporate Recruiters

Pros:

  • You get more of what you measure and more of what you reward.
  • Your best recruiters will be compensated more, and higher compensation is tied to longer tenure.
  • Low performers and internal recruiters who actually hate recruiting will hate it and self-select out.
  • It will most likely raise individual recruiting team member performance in the aggregate.

Cons:

  • You will most likely have turnover with this type of change
  • Potentially, you could get behaviors that aren’t team-oriented. (IE., senior recruiters not helping junior recruiters)
  • Potentially, you could lower your quality of candidates as recruiters move quickly to gain performance comp. (the quantity over quality argument)
  • It actually might increase your compensation budget, initially, until you can find the model that is most effective.

Okay, wait, why did I say “potentially” on the Cons? Primarily, because it truly depends on the model design. Just making a decision to pay more for hires is ridiculous and leads to bad outcomes. But, developing a model that rewards individual performance that is based on recruiting behaviors that lead to better hires, quickly, and in a team setting, well, now you diminish the negative outcomes of pay for performance.

How could we make pay for performance work for corporate recruiters?

I’m not trying to dump on all the folks who commented on “Quarterly Bonuses” but stop that! “Quarterly Bonus” really means, “I don’t want to be individually measured and held accountable, but I also want more money on top of my great base salary”. Quarterly bonuses in most corp TA shops are a joke. They are usually based on Hiring Manager satisfaction and days to fill, two of the most subject measures that have zero correlation to better recruiting.

Also, internal recruiting pay for performance is not just a modified agency or RPO model. Corporate recruiters do much more than just recruit in most TA departments, so if you reward them to just recruit, understand, you’re just standing up an in-house agency model. Your internal recruiting model for corporate has to be unique to the job.

Some thoughts and ideas:

– Spend a bunch of time deciding what you actually want from your recruiters and from your function as a whole. Those two things must be aligned.

– Before going to a pay for performance model you need to get your arms around your recruiting funnel data. Otherwise, you’re just guessing at what and who to reward.

– In most cases, you can’t make the rewards the same because recruiters have different requisition loads and levels of position. Also, in most cases, certain areas of your organization hire at different times. So, get ready to test and be flexible to do the right thing at the right time.

– It’s okay if a recruiter makes more than you think if the model is producing what you want it to produce. Too often I hear from TA leaders that are like, “Jill is making too much!” But, Jill it killing it and the top recruiter.

– If you can’t get your head around paying for hires, pay for the behaviors and activities that lead to more hires.

– Start with a month or quarter test, make sure during the test no one will lose money. The goal is to try and reach some sort of outcome of better performance, to see if it can work. If they are only concerned they might make less money, you won’t truly see what can work or not work.

– It’s not about quality or quantity. It’s about quality and quantity. I’ve never led a recruiting team in a corporate or agency where good recruiters would ever send a crappy candidate on purpose. That just doesn’t happen, normally. If it did, that recruiter didn’t belong on the team.

I don’t believe in recruiting “team” rewards as pay for performance in most cases. Most teams are not designed and measured for “team” performance, so many on the team are getting the reward for a few doing most of the heavy lifting. You can still have team rewards, but you truly have to think about how you reward your most effective recruiters, short and long-term.

I think the ideal ratio for compensation for corporate recruiters should be 75% base salary and 25% pay for performance, where your best top recruiters can make 125% of their normal total comp if they are killing it. As I mentioned above, you will have recruiters quit because you have “recruiters” on your team that didn’t take the job to recruit, but to administer a recruiting process and collect a nice base salary.

Okay, tell me what I missed in the comments or if you have a model that is working you would like to share with everyone!

Top Speed is Overrated in Recruiting!

I have this tendency to get up on a soapbox and tell HR and TA leaders that measuring “Days to Fill” (Time to Fill, Time to Hire, Applicant to Hire, etc.) is a complete waste of time! I do this knowing that this is primarily the main recruiting metric used by the vast majority of organizations. So, I’m kind of calling them dumb, and I don’t like that, because that’s not what I believe!

I find the majority of HR & TA leaders to be hardworking, caring folks who want to do the right thing, but no one is showing them the “right” thing. I mean, I did in my book, but no one wants to read a full book!

Why is speed overrated in recruiting?

First, there is absolutely no correlation between how fast you got someone hired to how good of an employee they will be. Zero! Nil! Naught! None! So, you are measuring something, and telling people is massively important, but it has zero correlation to whether or not you hired someone that will be good for your company.

Awesome! Wow! Let’s hire faster! The faster we can get these walking zombies in here the faster we can fail! Yay! Fail faster! #WinkyFace

Second, I’ll give you that some sort of speed of recruiting metric as correlated to your industry benchmarks might be a good indicator to let you know how well your function is running or not running. Meaning, if your average days to fill is 40 and the industry benchmark is 30, you probably have some work to do. But, if you are at 29 and the benchmark is at 30, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are better at recruiting, just a bit faster.

Third, you can hire too fast. We tend to never think about all the false-positive hiring we do by moving too quickly. If we are rushing our process, we open the door to letting bad hires into the organization. We also open the door to filling roles before we can truly see what’s available in the market. Oh, Timmy is interested, let’s hire him quickly! And then the day after, Mary, applies and she’s much better, but you already hired Timmy.

Fourth, a large portion of the time in a day’s-to-fill metric isn’t even owned and controlled by recruiting. Hiring managers and the candidates themselves, control upwards of 50% of a time metric in any recruiting process.

Why do we focus so much on speed in recruiting?

Because “speed” is something c-suite executives get all excited about. If we are doing it faster, we must be doing it better. Plus, most c-suites think it takes too long to hire, so slower recruiting validates their belief that recruiting is broken. But, 99.99% of c-suites never recruited, so they are stupid. I mean, they are stupid about recruiting!

Because this is the metric we’ve always used to measure recruiting success in our organizations. Throughout the history of recruiting this is the metric that was measured, so this is the one we use. Kind of like how sports used metrics like points per game, and then advanced analytics came out, like plus/minus and now we look at older metrics as rudimentary in describing the performance of athletes.

Because we don’t know a better way to measure how or if we are successful in recruiting in our organizations. This is a tough one because we don’t know what we don’t know. I wish our ATS and recruiting technology vendors would do a better job of measuring and teaching advanced metrics to TA leaders. (Shoutout to vendors like SmartRecruiters, Greenhouse, Gem, and Predictive Hire – they all have some good stuff if you choose to use it.) The reality is, you would make your technology stickier if you did this.

What should recruiting focus on, rather than speed?

You know what’s coming. The funnel dummy!

We have certain actions that lead directly to recruiting success in our organizations if we analyze our recruiting funnels. The recruiting funnel will show you directly individual and team performance. But, let’s set that aside for a second. The funnel will ultimately give your organization the first truth about recruiting it’s ever had, the actual capacity it can rely on in recruiting. Your c-suite is dying to know this, and all you can tell them is, “we’ll work faster and longer and harder”.

Knowing your actual recruiting capacity will set you free and make you look like a genius as compared to every other TA leader that has become before you in your organization.

Cost of hire by source. Source effectiveness. Quality of applicant by Source (No, not the quality of hire, that’s not a TA metric), candidate experience metrics, recruiter experience metrics, etc.

Most shops run a classic 6-3-1 funnel. Meaning, it takes six screened candidates passed onto a hiring manager, who will then choose three of those candidates to interview, and then make an offer to one. If you take the billions of hires done at all organizations each year, it will almost always, on average, fall into a 6-3-1 model. Top of funnel, I.E., how many applicants to find six screened candidates, is a different story. That is dependent on a number of variables.

So, should you stop focusing on speed?

Yes. And, No.

Yes, you should stop focusing on speed if you are in a cycle where this year’s recruiting speed goal was to reduce your days to fill from 37.1 days to 36.8 days. At that point, your speed goal is worthless. You are only incrementally getting faster and you’ll see no real positive outcome from such a small time savings, even at enterprise and a million hires. Yes, I know the math says different at scale, but you are also forgetting the most important part. THERE. IS. NO. CORRELATION. BETWEEN. SPEED. AND. QUALITY. IN. RECRUITING!

No, you should not stop if you know your recruiting is flat-out broken and you are not even in the ballpark from a speed perspective. If it’s taking you 50 days to fill a position that your competition is doing in 25 days, you’re broken, and while speed isn’t the cure to your ills, you’ve got to catch up on the process side of things.

Okay TA Peeps! Tell me I’m wrong in the comments!