There are common behaviors found in the best in-house recruiters. The most common aspect I’ve noticed is their respect for time. It is treated as a valuable asset as they focus efforts on most critical priorities. It is less about the amount of time they work. It’s more about what they do with their time. The great ones all know how to focus on tasks that make a difference.
Based on years of observation, study, and inquiry, I offer you my list of how great corporate recruiters spend their time. I’m not suggesting the following list of 23 behaviors are totally practiced by every “great” recruiter…. but there does seems to be a direct relationship though between these traits and recruiting success.
How many of these behaviors are part of your day?
- Always hunting for great talent (even if not requisition based)
- Building brand and image (PR work, writing articles, etc.)
- Coaching, counseling, and partnering with hiring managers
- Constantly looking to reduce CPH and TTF while increasing choice and quality of hire
- Developing their personal professional knowledge and skills
- Effectively reporting and communicating with management
- Focusing on client and candidate satisfaction
- Forecasting and anticipating demand for talent
- Insuring diverse slates of candidates
- Keeping current with legal requirements
- Learning and incorporating Best Practices
- Managing offers negotiation and candidate closings
- Network in key talent markets
- Organizing their work using effective project management techniques
- Performing in-depth candidate evaluations
- Planning and managing their responsibilities using time management principals
- Proactively developing internal referrals network
- Providing hiring managers with talent market intelligence
- Reading and contributing to thought leadership blogs
- Segmenting and prioritizing work (high-yield focused while delegating low-yield)
- Sharing competitive knowledge and talent information with peers
- Strategically using and managing third parties
- Using business intelligence research to support their decision making
Accounting, consulting and law firms tend to hire talent when the need is pressing. In fact, this is a common practice among all professional services firms. Only when the market has clearly recovered will they begin to add headcount. As client work rolls in, they rush to find talent, bring it in the door, often pushing them out to client projects very quickly.
In a people-intensive business, you can’t have well-compensated professionals sitting on the bench for too long. Unfortunately, the delay in hiring leaves corporate recruiters at professional services firms with incredible workloads to be completed in short periods of time. Any delay, in this scenario, translates to lost billable hours, making the impact of this approach to corporate recruiting (i.e., doing it at the last minute) all too real. Failing to fill a req quickly means lost revenue … and probably a net gain for the competition.
The lag in professional services hiring relative to a market recovery is unlikely to change. While staffing up in advance would allow companies in this sector to secure top talent well ahead of the competition, the risk of a false start is believed to be too high to warrant adding headcount until a turn in the market is firm.
Even with this prevailing behavior, there are steps that professional services recruiters can take to get a head start on hiring. Well ahead of a market recovery, before the first flickers of hope are visible, corporate recruiters in professional services firms should begin to develop talent pools and qualify candidates (at least preliminary). With the most desirable talent identified, corporate recruiters can begin to cultivate the relationships that will lead to offer letters and filled reqs when the market is ready. So, while the competition is still getting started, the firm that plans ahead will be on-ramping new employees – and generating billable hours.
Today, a high unemployment rate and a global economic climate that has been tough for the professional services sector have resulted in large talent pools. Corporate recruiters will need to navigate it quickly to find the best fits for reqs when the business authorizes that they be filled.
It’s time to start acting – that’s right, not thinking, acting – now. Work with a talent pipeline development service to shrink these large talent pools into rich concentrations of high-impact employees for what will be key positions when deals close and the market turns. Later, as the pressure on new headcount begins to ease, you’ll be able to jump into action quickly, securing the market-changing employees that will propel your firm to industry leadership.
This supply chain approach isn’t new, except to the business of recruiting. There’s a lot you can do before it’s time to hire. Define your short list now, and accelerate into a recovery.
Remember, if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready!
Louis P. Kadetsky, CPC
The Transformed In-House Recruitment Organization fully aligns with the business’s mission by delivering increasing levels of effectiveness, productivity, and service. Distinguishing characteristics include:
- Services always in-demand
- Considered a trusted advisor
- Bases success on client satisfaction
- Partners in client strategic planning
Strategic and Proactive
- Maintains talent pipelines
- Supports workforce planning
- Leverages talent market intelligence
- Diversity and inclusion are core values
- Manages and utilizes employment brand
- Roles configured and staffed to maximize productivity
- Staff performs only high value and specialist work
- Individuals use highly effective and efficient technique
- Promotes continuous personnel development
- Operates as a business unit
- Process driven
- Uses supply-chain like recruiting model
- Manages all process participants
- Promotes and rewards creativity
- Advantageously leverages technologies
- Constantly looks for means to drive ROI
- Readily accommodates change
Whereas virtually all functional areas of corporations have experienced significant transformation since inception, recruiting has not. Management has yet to order the transformation of the recruiting function to more closely align with business objectives and to offer more strategic support to their organizations.
A recruiting group must go through a series of changes before it can become more solutions-centric than requisition-oriented. The resulting organization will exploit proactive opportunities, serve as a consultative partner for talent, and deliver value that meets or exceeds client expectation.
Why now? Because tomorrow it will be too late.
Access to talent remains a critical priority for most organizations while the processes for acquiring talent continues to be an on-going challenge. In spite of billions of dollars spent annually, surveys continue to report general dissatisfaction with recruiting quality, time, and cost as statistics point out chances of hiring a great fit remain low. Every year there are more “magic bullet” solutions, conferences, articles, and thought leaders offering answers. But overall indicators have barely moved.
I propose this stagnation is caused by the on-going use of the traditional recruitment model. Based on filling requisitions, it first appeared around 1945 and remains the standard operating procedure for nearly the entire industry. Sure there have been many technological improvements and an untold number of tweaks, iterations, and reworks of different aspects of the model since ‘45, but it is still the same model.
As an industry, are we not seeing a clear case of insanity? Faced with an ever tightening of the talent supply and recruiters already needing to work 60 or more hours per week, why do we believe the existing model will deliver a different result?
The Great Recession ushered in an era where every operation and expense receives a critical ROI evaluation. Historically spared from such scrutiny, Talent Acquisition must now find the means to “do more with less”. This demand for efficiency coupled with an escalating “war for talent” may have already shifted the decision to transform the way in-house recruitment works from opportunity to requirement.
Business process transformation is not a new phenomenon. Except for recruitment, since the inception of each business function major changes of their operating model have occurred. For example, in 1913 Henry Ford’s introduction of the assembly line permanently transformed manufacturing. By adopting a more efficient model, Ford developed a major competitive advantage, improved the level of customer satisfaction, and reduced costs!
About 20 years ago “HR transformation” started shifting HR from being a largely administrative function to being a more strategic operation. It has become a more value-driven function that more closely aligns with the mission of their company. Whether reporting to HR or not, isn’t it time to extend this thinking to recruitment? Why has this inefficient and ineffective requisition based model survived so long?
You may read elsewhere about recruitment “transformation”. After extensive research I have yet to see any of these “transformation journeys” being anything more than another reworking of the same old model. Within this article I layout a case for real in-house recruitment transformation from the traditional “Requisition” based to the modern “Optimized” model.
Optimized Recruitment Model
A new operating model where in-house recruitment performs with the ability and agility of the best of external recruiting firms. Where outperforming competition, satisfying internal clients, and operating in a lean and efficient manner become the new normal for organizations that fully adopt this model.
The following three sections describe the key distinctions, components, and benefits of this new model.
|Basis||“Requisition Based” model||“Optimized” model|
|Production||Self-sufficient production, commonly referred to as end-to-end or full life-cycle recruiting, is common||Efficient production is achieved by maximizing key player’s time with layers of support resources|
|Action||Reactive in nature; recruiting begins upon receipt of a requisition to hire||Proactive recruiting ahead of demand by networking and pre qualifying candidates|
|Focus||Transactional focus on requisitions to be filled now where speed and quantity are the main drivers||Strategic partnering with clients by planning and supporting their immediate and long-term needs|
|Success||The hire remains the long-time lone measurement of recruitment success||Client satisfaction is now the key determinant of success, although hires remain a critical component|
Raises the value of Talent Acquisition, improves production metrics, saves time and money, fixes chronic problems, saves hiring manager time, enables change, raises client, candidate, and staff satisfaction levels, and creates a substantial competitive advantage over competition that chooses to continue to operate like it is 1945.
Optimize to Fully Transform
Optimization makes the most effective use of the existing organizational structure thereby saving a tremendous about of time and resources. This opens the possibility for achieving even greater transformational changes. As an example, the organization could be transformed into a more consultative service where members of Talent Acquisition are considered trusted advisors and serve as key partners in client strategic planning.
In my next article I will present a vision of a fully transformed Talent Acquisition organization and discuss the emergence of the “Talent Organization”.