What can recruiters do to change a business culture of hiring with your hair on fire?? I'm a recruiter in a small company and we're growing fast, but our managers have no concept of planning ahead. This means that I never know what hiring to expect in advance, and each requisition is a fire drill to fill. I don't know if the company likes it this way, but I hate it; is there anything I can do as an individual recruiter to help my company plan better?
Going Down in Flames
What an awesome question! This problem is shared by many recruiters because workforce planning is often poorly communicated - or worse, just ignored. Your question brings up core issues of planning and how people react when someone moves their cheese
; since you're growing rapidly it also hints at the probability that you're a very limited resource. In most organizations such planning is a tall order, and the answer to your question is simple: don't tell them, show them.
There is an art and science to workforce planning, and smarter people than me
can fill you in on the details. However if you want to make a difference in the role you're in today, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Treat it like an experiment, or a project that needs planning and execution; if you do nothing more than bring some discipline to your business you'll have accomplished a tremendous amount. Here are the basics:
Find a Champion
Do you remember the old joke about how to eat an elephant
? To serve this one up you're going to need the help of an ally; pick a hiring manager that you like working with and take her to lunch. Explain that you'd like her help with a 6 month experiment to demonstrate that planning ahead can yield shorter average time to hire, and a better resulting pool of candidates. What's that, she'll say? Faster and better candidates? Of course I'll help!
Make your Plan
Next, gather some basic information. What are the goals of her team for the next 2 quarters? What is the financial impact to the company if those goals aren't met? What are the most critical skills lacking in her team to meet those goals? How many people will she require with those skills? When will she need them? Are job descriptions available yet?
With this information in hand, continue to build your plan. Review your current recruiting ratios of source to interview; interview to offer; and offer to hire - and if you don't know them, estimate. How many candidates must you identify to build a pipeline? How long does it take to source one candidate? How long does it take to qualify one candidate? How much time will you need to find a sufficient number of qualified, interested, and affordable candidates for each future role?
Measure your Progress
Now comes the fun part. Anticipate that for this project you'll spend 80% of your week on your current requisitions, and 20% on building future candidate pipelines. Set goals based on the information you gathered above; your desired outcome is a pipeline of at least 5 pre-qualified candidates for each future role identified. Meet at least twice a month with your hiring manager to discuss the candidates you are finding, and rank them together. Track the time to hire stats for your current requisitions, and compare those to the speed of hiring candidates from your new pipeline development activity. After hire, ask your hiring manager to rate each for excellence in technical skills and cultural fit with the business.
At the end of six months, write a brief summary of your activity and your measured results, and share it with your hiring manager and your boss. At best, you'll have created a compelling argument to bring structured discipline to the hiring process; at worst, you'll have learned new discipline in just-in-time
hiring to take with you to future employers. Best of luck to you!
In my day job, I’m the head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage engagement for competitive advantage in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here
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