Winning Dynamics in Corporate and Agency Recruitment?

Do any recruiting professionals remember a time when a recurring problem was identified in their recruiting group and data was used to diagnose and solve the problem?  Was actionable data ever used to improve the situation?  Anyone?  Bueller? 

I asked myself this question and my answer was "no."   Recruiting teams are people-driven and most in recruiting departments make decisions with collective wisdom and interpersonal groupthink.  In many cases, recruiting managers have a leadership title but don't have enough authority so when a conflict arises, an executive calls the shots.  Assumption-based decision making is popular and it isn't all that surprising when you read this statistic:

"Even though software is hugely popular in business and has become less expensive for small to mid-size businesses, only 26% of employers use an applicant tracking system (manages candidate funnel workflow) to manage their hiring process."
(Source:  Webrecruit)

Wow!  74% of employers do not have an applicant tracking system.  The applicant tracking system (ATS) is the basic system that accounts for tracking all candidate activity.  

How do these employers make data-driven decisions?  

If data isn't collected, how can you analyze and improve on it?  How can you track who your top performing partners are?  How do you know who isn't performing?  How can you manage relationships with candidates, business partners, sources, and vendors? How can you retain anything without a system of record?  How can you grow?

Thankfully, it's not the only way to make data-driven decisions.  There are other methods.  Researching other peoples data (OPD) can be used to analyze a problem, solution, and outcome compared against your challenge.  This is popular in white paper analysis.  The practice is called benchmarking.  Benchmarking isn't as efficient as using your own data, but its effective.   It can help you learn how other people overcame similar problems and apply those learnings to your situation.  In my recruiting career, I've encountered recurring problems on the agency and corporate side of recruiting. I keep hearing about the same problems at convention, podcasts, and watering holes. Round and round we go with the same solutions being offered up.  None of the proposed solutions are satisfying.  This led me to do my own research on what the systemic issues are preventing faster and cheaper hiring.  I want to build my own solution that everyone can use to understand where the problems are and fix them in a fun way.

During my research I discovered Cornell University's CAHRS Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies Center.  CAHRS is well known for HR studies impacting the recruiting industry and more.  After clicking around the site..reading and clicking....reading....and clicking, I became determined to find an answer to this question:

What is the data-driven, winning dynamic between corporate and agency recruitment?

I don't know the answer and I couldn't find it through my career or in the research I'm doing. So, I decided to break down the question into five sub-questions, when added up, would give me my answer.  

My Theory

I theorize that if we create a solution to the following five questions, we will have developed the winning dynamic:

  1. What type of recruiting performance drives a competitive cost per hire (CPH)?
  2. What type of recruiting performance drives a competitive time to fill (TTF) statistic?
  3. What type of recruiting collaboration drives an increase in recruiter engagement?
  4. What is the competitive cost-per-hire CPH that allows agency collaboration with corporate recruiting?
  5. What is the competitive TTF that allows agency collaboration with corporate recruiting?


If I rewrote those questions into a formula, it would look something like this:

Winning Dynamic =  Collaboration + Performance

Collaboration + Performance = Increased Engagement + Healthy Competition + Reduced TTF + Reduced CPH

Research is surgical by nature.  Always a deeper layer. The answers aren't given but our conclusions help us shape the next step.  I believe that we are working toward the next step in creating a winning software and program that will create an integrated, collaborative environment through the proper integration of people, process, and technology.  But don't take it from me, allow me to share the conclusion of an interesting article I studied: 


Findings from Beyond Cost-per-Hire and Time to Fill: Supply Chain by John W. Boudreau and Peter M. Ramstad 

Conclusion:The best (recruiting) measurement system creates measures that can have the greatest impact on decisions, and are not cost prohibitive.  In fact, a significant advantage of the process-based measurement framework suggested here is precisely that it can help pinpoint where measurement improvements are likely to have the biggest effects. Nonetheless, for most organizations, it will be necessary to use measurements more fully and more carefully.

Linking performance to staffing processes can offer a big improvement over traditional systems that fail to consider quality at all, but it still falls far short of the potential fully-developed decision system.  If we could create quality measures at earlier stages in the process, we could do much better at diagnosing and improving the system.   The interesting paradox is that most of the measures we have described here already exist in most organizations, or can be constructed with available products. The key is to integrate the measures with the staffing process, rather than isolate measures and staffing activities. This integration provides a disciplined approach to measurement and analysis that can significantly enhance the professional quality and results of the staffing process. Without such integration, staffing will continue to be approached as a set of isolated activities, and staffing measures will continue to provide incomplete or even misleading direction.

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James Chmielinski is a second generation recruiting veteran, former athlete, and founder of, the first ever recruiting innovations lab.  His company is built from two generations of sales and recruiting experience resting on the backbone of post-millennial technology.  An industry-leading, hub-spot for consulting, technology, and recruiting process design. aims to make life easier for professional sourcing and recruiting teams.  Mr. Chmielinski's inaugural software attracted 178 active users in 114 cities from 17 countries.

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