Private: The Novo Blog

Are You Prepared to Win the Hiring Race?

Posted by: Cindy Lu, CEO on April 18, 2011

April 2011 HRMAC Newsletter

With so much talent flooding the job market, why are many companies struggling to fill key positions? According to a Q4, 2010 LinkedIn survey of 5,000 U.S. employees, approximately 9 percent of the national workforce is actively looking for work, and among the ranks of the fully employed, an estimated 78 percent say they are willing to consider another job.

These findings add up to a large and growing talent pool from which to recruit. If hiring ramps up as expected this year, it’s important that HR departments be prepared to go after high-caliber candidates aggressively. Without the right resources in place to identify, cultivate, and land high performers, your company may be left behind in the race for talent.

The catch is that the best-of-the-best will not seek your company out. Of the 78 percent of fully employed workers who are open to change, as cited by the LinkedIn survey, only 18 percent are actively seeking another position. That means 60 percent are passive candidates who are waiting for you to make the first move. If top talent truly is important to your company, you have to take a proactive approach to recruitment. To do that, it’s critical to make an honest assessment of your recruiting model and resources to see if they are set up for success.

Here are a few key steps to consider when designing a highly effective and efficient recruitment model.

Rethink workload allocation. Most companies assign their internal recruiting or HR staff far too many positions to fill. In our experience, a good recruiter–especially one focusing on key positions–can only handle from three to 15 positions at any given time, but we see many companies expecting their recruiters to work on 50 or more positions at a time. Faced with an overwhelming workload, it’s not surprising that many recruiters default to “post and pray” and hope for the best.

To structure a recruiter’s workload, we recommend using activity-based costing principles to weigh the variables involved. Considerations include the number of searches required, the complexity of the requirements, the relative availability of the desired skill set, the number of hiring managers involved, and the geography of the search.
The demands of passive recruiting are intense. It takes considerable time to cultivate relationships, from identifying a likely candidate to making contact through call-backs to building rapport and trust over time. Allocate several hours per week per search–and unless your recruiters have enough time and capacity to do their jobs the right way, they will struggle to reach top candidates

Divide and conquer. Many companies would do well to follow the example of Google, a company that reportedly intends to double its workforce in the coming years. Google recruitment personnel are divided into skill-based segments that handle different elements of the recruiting process. Among the separate functions that might be appropriate for a smaller company are research, sourcing, phone interviewing, and internal client management. Rather than expecting one person to handle all elements of the candidate development process, identify the different strengths on your team and assign aspects of the workload accordingly. Don’t expect one recruiter to be highly proficient at every touch point in the hiring process.

Follow the 10/100 rule. Allot more time to fill mission-critical positions that drive the company’s top line. In our experience, it takes about 100 names to produce one hire for a key position and may take up to 10 hours a week dedicated to the task. The good news is that the majority of your hires are not for key positions. So stratifying how your recruitment resources are deployed can help you stretch a limited budget.
Pipeline now, or pay later. Organizations need to allocate time to developing relationships with potential candidates for mission-critical roles–above and beyond the time spent filling active positions. Set metrics for the number of proactive interviews to be conducted each week, for example, and document the time spent. Make it a priority for the department and for the company–convince hiring managers to set aside time each week to speak with potential candidates. That way, when it comes time for a critical hire, you will have candidates in the pipeline and not have to spend the time (and money) to conduct a complex search from scratch.

With the economy in recovery, the demand for quality employees will become acute at all levels within your organization. Don’t wait until a stack of requisitions floods your in-box to take action. Get your recruiting process in shape now to position your company for success in the race for top talent.

To be better prepared for the hiring race, give The Novo Group a call @ 414.727.8755 and ask for Cindy Lu!