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As part of a recent consulting role to review one of my clients recruitment processes, I undertook some research to try to determine at a very high level what the most common practices, focuses and workloads were amongst in-house resourcing/talent acquisition teams – targeted towards ‘professional/corporate/‘specialist’ hiring categories. This combined some individual interviews as well as an on-line survey, which I felt could be interesting to then share with my resourcing fellow professionals, especially as many were kind enough to contribute towards this.

The thrust of the project was to understand what kind of workload was considered reasonable to enable the function to genuinely add value rather than simply transact, as well as dissecting the responsibilities that modern day recruiters dedicated their focus to.

The ‘norms’ at a glance

  • Recruiters tended to handle on average between 20-30 vacancies each at any one time ideally (41%), with none considering 50+ roles the norm
  • 80% of recruiters would be expected to complete between 50-100 hires per annum, the largest single category at 50% being in the range between 50-75 vacancies. Only 12% operated above 100 vacancies p.a.
  • One third of respondents stated that internal appointments accounted for between 20-30% of their total hires p.a., 17% stated this figure to be 30-50%, 20% were between 10-20%
  • The dominant activities amongst front line recruiters were pre-screening applications and proactively sourcing candidates, with over 90% of respondents listing this as their primary responsibility. Over 80% listed drafting and placing adverts, and briefing suppliers as core duties too.
  • Half of front line recruiters did not get involved in face to face interviews at all, and just over half were involved in organising interviews themselves and organising assessment/testing processes.
  • Less than 20% were involved with transactional duties such as issuing contracts, writing job descriptions, and under 10% in pre-employment or on-boarding processes.
  • 86% recruiters considered proactively sourcing candidates as their most valuable contribution to the business, with only organising interviews and pre-screening applications accounting for the remaining 14%.
  • By contrast only 30% of recruiters listed proactive sourcing as the activity they spent most time on, the same proportion as interviewing, with 17% citing arranging selection processes and 13% on systems admin/reporting
  • The most utilised KPI’s actively used amongst recruitment teams were vacancies filled (73%), source of hire (70%), cost of hire & time to hire (61%), internal vs external hires (52%). A third of companies also measured quality of hire.

So what?

Time spent versus value brought:

From these responses, perhaps the most prominent statistics was the focus of today’s in-house recruitment professional upon pre-screening applications and proactive sourcing talent. On the latter, this isn’t overly surprising given the growing thrust amongst businesses to equip themselves with recruiters who’ll actively play a part in building their talent pipeline rather than simply overseeing the process of recruitment & selection. That said, it was interesting that even though the profession feel this is their most valuable contribution, less than a third spent most of their time on these tasks. This could of course be impacted by factors such as the presence of other teams to support this type of activity, but nonetheless it was interesting to see the weighting of time spent versus value brought.

Pre-screening firmly in the domain of the recruiter:

It was interesting that almost all respondents lead the pre-screening processes rather than this resting with hiring managers. Clearly this highlights the importance that recruiters must know their stuff, and have businesses have determined that it’s more effective for this responsibility to sit with those trained to quickly sift CV’s, even though they may not be the subject experts. This probably lends itself to resourcing teams aiming to specialise their recruiters where possible, and hire people with those fields of recruitment expertise. Does this have implication for becoming a bit insular when hiring for the team, rather than looking for the quality of skill set as the priority?

Less reliance on the front line recruiters to safeguard the quality of hire?

The fact that 50% of recruiters (and their presumed expertise in sussing out an individual’s fit and capabilities) were not being used to the full as face to face interviewers, perhaps relinquishing a traditional element of the recruiters responsibilities to safeguard the quality of the hire. Perhaps that is the necessary trade off given the time impact of conducting these tasks, with more time being spent on helping the business be introduced to better talent at the start of the process. Naturally the use of technology (such as video interviewing, on-line assessment) and better equipping managers to run effective selection processes can afford the front line recruiter the opportunity to focus on other areas which could bring more value.

Have you got the right workload?!

Finally the workload, and probably the bit to get most people’s interest to check they’re not being over-worked! Both from the survey and interviews, it seemed a reasonable expectation that recruiters would complete up to about 100 hires per year individually, and manage on average 20-30 live vacancies as a going concern. A move beyond these figures seemed to be recognised as likely to detrimentally times to hire, with the focus of tasks becoming more transactional and less quality or value orientated.

In summary

This may not be news to most, but perhaps is relevant for others examining the make up of their recruitment functions. The value of the front-line recruiter is more weighed to greater focus on inputs which will see the business more effectively reach and attract the calibre of talent they are looking for such as sourcing, developing employer brand, cultivating talent pipelines. Activities are also more concentrated at the early stages of the recruitment process – to establish what you’re looking for and determine how you get it, arguably with less prolific involvement at the rear of the process when finalising the appointment. To be effective in this you do need to ensure the hiring managers have the necessary support to make these decisions reliably, and maintain rigour of controls throughout to see the process through properly.

As ever…..all comments & contributions most welcome!