Category Archives: Staffing

Fool’s Gold – The “Passive” Candidate

“Passive recruiting” has been a buzzword in the Talent Acquisition world for as long as I’ve been in the industry. Not only is it described as the gold standard of a “strategic” Recruiting team, but “passive recruiting” started appearing as a job requirement for positions outside of the Human Resources organization. It’s hip, it’s now, it’s a term with caché, baby.

Which begs the question… why?

Who Are Those Guys, Anyway?

Let’s start here: What qualifies you as a “passive” candidate? Well, the single most obvious characteristic is that a passive candidate is not looking for a new job, and that’s where this gets tricky. Why? Because a prevalent perception has been developed over the years that has two basic tenets:

  1. People who are actively seeking a new job are suspicious.
  2. “Passive” candidates are the “real” talent ~ So unobtainable, so beautiful, so completely immune to our advances, rare and precious, like the mythical unicorn label we like to borrow (George Costanza actually had a great quote about this mindset.)

When we receive a resumé from a candidate, one of our first questions is “Why are you looking to leave your current employer?” [or God forbid they aren’t currently employed; then they immediately go to the bottom of the pile, conveniently located inside the shredder.] We ask this question why? Because it’s important, right?

Well yeah, but… until we’re trying to pry them away from their employer. Then it’s not so important why they leave—we just want them to leave.

Is it me, or is that just a touch hypocritical?

We look at these things with our own lens, so indulge me a minute: I was a “passive candidate” at one point, and I can’t help but think my experience was more typical than we’d like to admit. Successful and tenured at my (then) employer, I was happy. I didn’t know that what I really wanted was a new opportunity. Thankfully, a recruiter alerted me to that non-conscious desire. Not his fault—that’s what we do for a living, yes?

And who was I, exactly? I was a guy who knew how to get things done at my present employer. I knew every back-channel, informal handshake method to TCB. I had a track record. I had a history. I had favors owed, favors due, secrets kept… and that’s what made me a great employee—for my present employer.

And then for the receiving company, here’s the reality of recruiting this passive candidate.

  • I didn’t really want to go. It took 3 offers before I bit. You know why?
    • It was a tough job to fill. Not many people had that specific skill set, and those who did wanted no part of the role. You don’t go after passive candidates for easy-to-fill jobs; this one was tough and my resumé matched.
    • Leaving a good job is hard. It’s an emotional decision – you’re not running from the company, you just answered the phone one day & felt wanted. But leaving? Leaving is difficult.
  • It cost them a sh*t-ton of money. Why else would I go? Scope of responsibility? Cool. Title? Even cooler. But it eventually came down to a fat check. I’m not above saying they overpaid, because they did. That creates a few fun situations for your precious unicorn – they will be at the high end of your internal equity. Maybe the very high end. Maybe at the very stupid high end. That fact will be a secret for about 2 days.
  • You have to walk the talk. All those benefits of your company, wonderful culture, flexibility, limitless resources, and advancement opportunities – better be legitimate. Maybe you had to hide some ugly truths, withhold some information, or make promises that may not be feasible (in the recruiting world, these are known as “lies.”) That won’t make for a very happy unicorn, as they paw the dirt & carelessly waive their narwhalian horn around in anger.

Obviously, this doesn’t hold true for everyone who has been hired, but it should remind everyone in recruiting about the importance of level-setting on “active” vs. “passive” recruiting, and the merits of each respectively. Why we have convinced ourselves that a candidate wanting to join our company is less appealing than the unknown is really the question that needs to be addressed. It’s no different than the dopey-eyed cows straining to eat grass on the other side of the fence.

There will always be a place for passive recruiting, especially for those hard-to-find positions. But buyer beware when you take the route of “pulling” instead of receiving. People are successful for many reasons, including their ability to navigate the organization where they currently reside. How much of that ability translates to the new job is debatable, but you can bet that it won’t be an immediate transition.

And that’s the rub, yes? Instead of poring through candidates who have actively positioned themselves for an opportunity with your company, we go looking for that which we do not have.


And the Hourly Shall Inherit the Earth…

Volume recruiting. The bane of the recruiting experience. I don’t care how good you are as a recruiting professional, until you’ve put on the flame suit and sat in a volume recruiting chair, you’ll never be able to fully appreciate the job – OR the people who successfully DO the job.

     Time to Recognize

Like your mailbox, you can clear it out every day, but it’s going to be full again tomorrow. The only difference is that candidate submissions don’t take holidays. You want to see a stressed out recruiter, talk to them after a week of PTO – like a phantom limb, they can still feel the sensation of applications building up in their absence.

The reason for the volume is, of course, the nature of the positions for which they recruit. Non-exempt positions are more transactional, have lesser requirements in education and experience, and (surprise!) pay less than exempt level roles. They also make up the brunt of the workforce, handle a ton of the customer experience, and like it or not – they can make or break you. Bill Carroll, CEO of HOOPS HR, put it in pretty basic terms; “As we work with companies on their hiring processes,it always amazes me to see how incumbent a company’s success is based on their hourly workforce.”

I look at our own business model with Dental One ~ any patient walking into a practice is going to be greeted by either a Patient Relations Coordinator or Dental Assistant, both of which are non-exempt positions. The most brilliant dentist in the world will have an impossible job if that interaction goes poorly. We all realize this same dynamic in our daily lives – your impression of a restaurant can be sunk if the waiter is non-attentive or rude. Your interaction with a Customer Service agent defines your experience with your bank, your insurance provider, your car dealership – these are the people who become the face of your company.

The question is, do you have that thought in mind when you are recruiting non-exempt workers? Or, are you putting butts in seats? John Briggs, President of CatalystOne“You can’t make the mistake of lowering expectations when recruiting non-exempt candidates. A good fit is still a good fit, and it benefits both the employee and company.” So as much as you can’t hire stiffs, you can’t depend on stiffs to do the work. You need to keep the standards just as high with the people you hire to recruit non-exempt employees. That’s just the ticket for admission – without a highly skilled crew able to operate with their hair on fire, you’re wasting your time.

When it comes to your volume recruiting team, the best metaphor I can come up with is a pit crew…the skills are the same as those used in a garage setting, but on race day they need to do it in 12 seconds or less. If the timing is off or the work is not up to standards, you lose the race. Your ability to do it faster and better than your competitors is what piles up the trophies.

The second part of the equation, if you’re lucky enough (like me) to have an all-star team of individuals is to have tools that are equal to the task. Our collaboration with Hoops, for example, gives me the technology that matches the quality of my team. So basically, we’re ready to take over the world.

For others, you may want a little more help on the subject, and do I have the right nut for you – on April 27th, Tim Sackett is hosting a Webinar, “The Forgotten Majority: 7 Ways to Trump Up Your Hourly Hiring.” And if you register now you get 10% more Sackett-isms, including:

–7 things you can start doing to increase and simplify hourly hiring in your organization 

–3 ways top organizations are leveraging technology to do massive (over 1,000 hires per year) hourly hiring 

–Pitfalls most organizations fall into when hiring hourly workers, and what you can do to make sure you don’t go down this path 

As the great British General Douglas Haig once said:

Once the mass of the infantry become possessed of low morale, the battle is as good as lost.

Counter-Offers & Boomerangs

Nothing quite like a marriage metaphor, right? You’ve heard these stories (or perhaps you’ve lived this story) – after years of asking, pleading, and begging (to a man’s ears = “nagging”) the husband to change his ways to no avail, a woman flips the switch and phhhhhht. She’s gone. Said husband, now realizing that she may in fact be serious this time, desperately promises the Sun and Moon for the opportunity to try again. Because, as you know, this time will be different. Stupid boys. (Editor’s Note: my wife has claimed “Stupid Boys” as the title to one of her upcoming books.)

How does that generally work out? Would you say “strong to “quite strong?” My guess is this only serves to delay the inevitable. The man is who he is, and soon enough he will revert to his normal state, fast-forward three months and we go through the same drama again, without having made progress in the least.

The husband is obviously the company in this case, the wife with the boot is the employee. The employee has been telling you, in some form or fashion, what you need to do if the relationship will continue successfully. Then one day, when you can afford it least, you have a resignation letter in your hand. If it’s someone you value, the knee-jerk reaction is to buy time to develop a counter-offer. But a counter-offer is the equivalent of putting air in a tire with a leak. You might get an employee to stay, but usually, for the same flawed logic as a spouse hanging onto a miserable marriage:

  • Other relationships (kids, in-laws, Bob in Accounting) will be impacted as well; we’re not prepared to deal with that kind of drama, so we stay. It’s just easier.
  • It’s still a risk. The thought of being wrong is too scary for some people. Better to be married/employed than to die alone on the streets, right? Sad to say, but many companies use fear of the unknown as their most effective retention tool. As long as no one is leaving, why change?
  • A fundamental belief in loyalty without reservation. There are still people who are of the opinion that “leaving” is NOT an option. GenX changed a lot of that mindset after seeing the curtain pulled back on the dealings of corporate America, and the Millennials have taken the torch even farther – if you want “loyalty,” buy a dog. Yet there remains a percentage of people who still believe in “until death do us part.”
  • The sad truth? Even if they accept a counteroffer, 50% of these people will leave within the next 24 months anyway. When you make that leap in your mind, it doesn’t just go away….it festers.

And that’s why you shake their hand and wish them well. Physically “present” vs. engaged is a gap in commitment.

So, what brought this topic to mind is a friend’s recent separation from his wife. Now that she has left, he desperately wants to change all those things that he had ignored, lo those many years. That’s a fool’s game, don’t you agree? But counter-offers are rarely a successful play. You’re delaying the inevitable, you’re setting a dangerous precedent with other employees who may take note, and you’re still not focusing on the fundamental reason they left. Fix yourself (or don’t, and live with the results) before throwing money at a losing proposition.

If you love them, let them go – “boomerang” employees come back after realizing the grass may not be greener after all. Most importantly, they return on their own volition, not because you troll their LinkedIn page. Almost half of companies surveyed agree they would consider taking back a former employee, and 15% of the employees admitted they actually did return to the old stamping grounds. Those aren’t huge numbers, but that 15% is an incredibly engaged group of people.

Don’t miss the opportunity – learn how to stop the next employee (or wife) from leaving; the time for courting is over when they are walking towards the door.

On May 23, 2016 John Whitaker joined the DentalOne Partners team as Vice President, Talent Acquisition, based out of the Dallas Corporate Headquarters.   John is responsible for leading the Talent Acquisition & Recruiting strategies and initiatives enterprise-wide.

The “Look-Down” Generation

It literally drives me crazy…driving in the morning/evening commute every day is a stressful task without added annoyances, but there it is, every…..single… After finally navigating your way around the human impediment clogging traffic for the last five miles, you look over at the driver and you see it. The “look down.

You know the look-down, right? Phone in lap, texting/dialing/syncing/selecting music, etc.? The “I’m not even pretending to pay attention dude, just leave me alone and let me sit here in the left lane until I’m good and ready to move over three lanes and exit?” It’s maddening (especially knowing the blare of my horns is drowned out by the Beats headphones they are sporting.)

It’s hard not to notice, and truthfully it’s hard not be hypocritical about it – I’m just as guilty of taking a glance, answering a text, or managing my incredibly counter-productive Waze app which basically dares me to update traffic conditions while I’m driving. So dangerous, stupid, self-absorbed, yada yada yada…until we finally have “MADAT” (Mothers Against Dumb-A** Texters), this is the world in which we live. For Millennials and GenX, it’s an ever developing, constantly growing challenge.

But for the younger generation, it’s even more problematic. With a constant distraction monopolizing their limited attention span, I’m convinced they have lost the innate ability to know what the hell is going on around them. I’ve got a 15-year old son learning to drive – he can expertly perform the act of navigating a vehicle, but the kid literally couldn’t find his way home with bread crumbs and a compass.

That’s because he’s been in a “look down” mode every time he’s been in a car for the last ten years. He knows the destination, but doesn’t know about the journey.

First-world problems, perhaps, but not insignificant. You’ve been in restaurants where you have four people, four iPhones, right? Parents, kids…it’s a little sad really, but we’ve accepted technology as a babysitter and there you have it. Our kids are going to be different in many ways, more technologically adept than we ever dreamed, but they are (generalization alert) by and large missing the world and the people around them.

And here’s the rub – as much as we would like to deny we ever use our “gut” in talent selection, we have innately spent a lifetime observing the world around us. Years spent people-watching in airports, in restaurants, in class, at the ballpark – the exact kind of activity my kids would find boring.

Hell, they may be right, but “boring” doesn’t necessarily need to be a negative. Sometimes it really is the seemingly insignificant details along the way that make us wiser.

So keep your head up, kiddo. There’s actually more going on around you than it seems.


Six Seconds That Cost You Dearly….

It’s one of the great statistics in recruiting…”Recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume.” According to The Ladders, 4.8 of those seconds are reviewing four areas; name, current position, current employer, and dates of employment. It seems like a ridiculous statement (how, exactly, does one measure this?), unless, of course, you’ve spent time as a recruiter dealing with a motherlode of resumes – then it seems like a pretty rationale estimation.

Bad recruiting? No, it’s more likely a matter of bad habits, bad systems, over-appropriation of requisitions, or some combination of the aforementioned. But here’s the kicker – this lack of attention is only committed to the resumes that are actually seen. There exists another great statistic in recruiting: 80% of submitted resumes are never even seen by a recruiter.

Think for a minute about the impact these two trends can have on the overall talent of your organization. If these statistics hold true, a recruiter averaging 1,000 resumes a week is scanning 200 of them for a total of 20 minutes spent reviewing the qualifications of l,000 candidates. That’s the price you pay for allowing “paper” (realizing most of these are viewed electronically on an ATS) to speak for people.

You know, part of the occupational residue of being a recruiter is to expect resumes to be perfectly constructed to get to the point quickly, be SEO optimized (redundancy alert, thank you), properly updated and ripe for Boolean search. That’s not necessarily the case for a great number of people; those who are heavily tenured, or those who might be first-time job “shoppers” may very well have a pretty dysfunctional resume. Chances are it matches a rather spare LinkedIn profile – a lot of us (guilty) exist in a social media bubble where we expect everyone to have a user-friendly format, . Careful, or you’ll end up hiring a great resume.

So that’s the situation, but what is the solution? Is there one solution? Doubtful. So what do you address first?

First, let’s talk about what you don’t want to do —- resist the urge to follow your initial reaction. Do NOT try to minimize your resumé flow. As a matter of fact, open the dikes.

Next week: “Riding the Avalanche

John Whitaker is Vice President, Talent Acquisition for DentalOne Partners. For more than 20 years he has built and developed high-powered recruiting teams focused on developing a competitive advantage via strategic Human Capital positioning, planning, and practices.   

Chop Your Own Wood

External recruiters are a crutch. I need to be careful with this one, lest I misrepresent my point, but hear me out.

What is “recruiting?” Visit different companies and you’ll find the definition (and philosophy) differs quite a bit. Having been a rather frequent jumper the last 6 years, I’ve experienced many of these differences first-hand, and depending upon where you fall on the “true” recruiting continuum, the skill set of the corporate recruiters varies quite a bit. Once you’ve identified your spot on that continuum, you can predict with great ease the reliance placed on external recruiting sources.

You may have worked for a company that refused to use any kind or external support, but that situation is becoming the exception, not the rule. When the recession of the late oughts hit companies in the pocketbook, internal recruiting resources were an easy target – no matter how critical the acquisition of talent is to the success of an organization, on the spread sheet we are still classified as “SG&A,” bud. Cut to the bare bones, recruiting departments were often shrunk to a 1 or 2-person operation.

Predictably, hiring needs started to increase post-2010, but now companies were more willing to pay for external support on an ad hoc arrangement, rather than be saddled with the risk of another round of layoffs. The result is that to some degree we’ve all become reliant on the contributions of external recruiters.

Where as in the past a recruiter may have come in with a network of companies with whom to “pull” successfully, now it seems recruiters have their favorite agency contacts. Where a recruiter may have formerly puffed out his chest for sourcing a a premium recruit with some fancy data mining, the same guy does the peacock walk for getting a premium candidate from an agency. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a shot at the agency, I’m just wondering where a salaried recruiter fits in that chain of events.

I want my recruiters to chop their own wood. The meaning?

When you chop your own wood, you warm yourself twice. 

When you find your own candidates, you show your value to the organization twice.

It’s become too easy to farm out requisitions to agencies. I realize hiring managers are screaming “FASTER!” as you fill their respective requisition, but that’s an indicator that we’re looking at the wrong metric. So how do we reverse a trend that’s become an accepted business practice?

  1. Focus on the high-dollar positions yourself; if you’re going to farm something out, make it the transactional positions. End of the day, you need to bring in the sizzle.
  2. Market the right metric; “Quality of Hire” and “Cost of Hire” are the metrics you want to see promoted. Time-to-fill is a losing game; you know it, I know it, and your hiring managers should know it. But they won’t prioritize it until you show them why it’s the right thing to do.
  3. Get in front of the game; you know why hiring managers call agencies? Because they know the agency will already have a pipeline. If you aren’t spending at least 20 hours a week doing sourcing/networking/relationship building in the hopes of building a pipeline, you can’t compete. How do you do that with 50 open req’s? See #1.
  4. Make a stand; I can vividly recall asking myself “why do they need me if all I’m doing is calling their favorite agency?” If you have a manager dead set on using an agency, make an argument they can relate to…i.e., if you recruit for Finance, put a pencil to the cost of that contingency firm. Isn’t it worth giving me 2 weeks?

    "Wa wa wa..."
                    “Wa wa wa…”

It’s a tough habit for some to break. Recruiting is a grind, and quite often there is little in the way of recognition or appreciation. But that’s what we signed up for, . Keep in mind this fact – if you do learn how to operate without the assistance of an agency, you have a skill set needed by every company you can imagine.

Keep chopping wood.



Buy, Don’t Rent, Your Next Employee

Guess what confuses a potential hire more than any other intangible? Despite the courtship, the hospitality, and the grand treatment during the recruiting process, they still don’t know one key nugget of information:

“What’s it REALLY like to work here?” 

The new responsibilities are great, the money is crackalackin‘, the title suits you just fine, but what happens on Day 1? Day 60? Day 360? What if the whole recruiting exercise was all a big dog & pony show?

As a job candidate, I can read your values on posters in every hallway, I can check out Glassdoor reviews, but is that really how it works here? Buyer’s remorse is a tremendous fear for anyone who is successful in their current position but finds themselves the subject of a job change. All things considered equal, the prospect of comfort over uncertainty can be a deal-breaker.

That’s what candidates want to know, and it’s your job (look at me when I’m talking to you), whether you are the recruiter or the hiring manager, to give them the clearest picture you can provide.

LinkedIn just released their 2016 trend report on “How Candidates Want to be Recruited” and this message comes through loud and clear. The #1 reason a candidate is reluctant to change jobs is simple – it’s a lack of information about the true work experience for which they are enlisting. Not the job description, but the day in the life of an employee in your company. What’s the pace? How are mistakes tolerated? And why the hell isn’t anyone smiling?

We are all the transparent chaperone for professionals considering a difficult change. If they can’t trust you to give them the real scoop, you may be not be hiring them ~ you will be renting them.


Little Brothers Grow UP

Work in big corporations long enough and you start to recognize the caste system inherent in the professional community. R&D is indispensable, Manufacturing has to actually make the ideas come to life, and then somebody has to sell it, so Sales becomes critical as well. The “big 3” pillars in a company—discover it, make it, sell it. That leaves a lot of the “rest of us”—the dreaded SG&A. Support functions. Overhead. Don’t fool yourself, Human Resources professional, we’re all just an expense in the eyes of the big brass.

As a result, I always felt somewhat of a kindred spirit with my friends in IT, Finance, Legal, et al. And of course, within HR there’s a special kinship and brotherhood that… hehehe, no, not really. Human Resources has its own version of Lords & Commons, too.

I’ve got 22 years in Human Resources, almost evenly split between the HRBP and Talent Acquisition function. And one thing continually holds true— Staffing/Recruiting/TA is looked at as the tactical, administrative little brother of the HRBP.

How to define the mindset of the HR Business Partner? Pretend Senior Leadership is Don Corleone, running his empire while keeping the other families in check. His consiglieré, Tom Hagen, holds a powerful role as he remains tied to the hip of the Old Man, remaining out of sight unless summoned to take care of some of the dirty work involved with a termination and/or delivery of a horse’s head. Polished and educated, whispering advice as needed. It’s a peach of a role if you can find it.

Go on, admit it. We break into Human Resources via Talent Acquisition, then move up to a more “strategic” role [this is where I risk over “quotating” terms, but how else does one make a snarky reference?]. Hell, that’s what I did. Put in my time filling requisitions, got tapped on the shoulder, and then up the ivory tower I went. Spent the next 10 years in a Business Partner role. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome job, especially at the Senior levels when you’re actually allowed in the Star Chamber with the other important folks. You feel so… necessary.

After 10 years in a corporate BP role, I finally took the leap into lone wolf-dom as a consultant. And a funny thing happened—no matter the high-level strategic initiatives being tossed around the Board Room, the topic invariably ended up in the same place—talent acquisition… how to attract, hire, engage, and retain talent. Whether it was a company of 100 or 100,000, the same issues continually arise. Get. The. Talent.

So, with 10 years of investigations, layoffs, performance improvement plans, and terminations in my rearview mirror, it was time to get back into the front-end of the employee experience. And my, how things had changed.

It’s a war (for talent.) And in times of war, you don’t need Tom Hagen. When you go to the mattresses, it’s time to put Michael in charge. You know, that little brother that used to fetch your coat for you.

The war for talent changed everything. Economic recovery and a generational transition in the workplace put Talent Acquisition at the front of the battle line as it became a candidate-driven market. The role of “Recruiter” is (or should be) the center of the HR Universe: We are the marketers, branders, and brokers for the most important corporate asset. Thanks to advances in HR Technology, we can do more, while doing it faster and better than before. We are the Steve Austin of Human Resources; we’re #WorkplaceScientists now, not just resumé screeners. And we’re just getting started.

Recruiting will continue to dominate the HR function for years to come as Boomers exit and the digital age completely dominates the acquisition of talent. Strategic, innovative, progressive, creative, and indispensable—THAT is Talent Acquisition of the 21st century.

Remember that the next time your HRBP seems a little reticent about sharing information; it’s tough when your little brother outgrows you.


Recruiting “Leftovers”

Even as kids we all realized something… when you ask “what’s for dinner?” and the answer is “leftovers,” Mom was out of time, patience, or energy. No matter the reason, dinner was going to be, as they say, “sub-par.”

Edible? Sure, it’s edible, but so is tree bark. Leftovers just aren’t the same.


But guess what? [metaphor alert] You just described most corporate recruiting “menus.” Your recruiters are overwhelmed, out of time, out of patience, and out of energy. There’s no opportunity to make a home-cooked meal, only to utilize whatever short-cut is available. Give it a shot some time; take 70 requisitions, add 120 applicants to each one, plus a hiring manager yelling “What’s for DINNER!?”—it’s chaos. Options are limited, so into the fridge you reach and out comes Tuesday’s meatloaf.

How does this happen? It’s not hard to explain really: We post a job, blast it to the masses, pray for applicants, then begin the process of weeding through the chaff as quickly as possible. A recruiter finds 5 or 6 resumés that fit the profile, then moves on to the next requisition. A recruiter with only 10 open requisitions might even review the rest of the candidates in the queue to make sure no stone has gone unturned. Some might even contact them as a courtesy. But, like unicorns and Bigfoot, that particular recruiter remains elusive. More likely, your corporate recruiters are carrying 30, 40, 50+ requisitions tied to an ATS designed to capture as many candidates as possible. The result is an unmanageable flow of candidates, a frustrated recruiter, and a hiring manager left with cold pizza. That’s not even considering the candidate, who feels the impact of this issue manifested in silence. 80% of online applicants hear nothing in response, and half of those never had their information looked at, much less considered thoughtfully. The buzz term is “candidate experience,” but it might more accurately be called “customer experience.” Candidate, customer, either way—the result is bad for the company.

Imagine if you managed a Luby’s and decided to serve nothing but leftovers; you’d be shutting the doors within a week, right? Yet we perpetuate an obviously flawed recruiting process for our internal function, while paying a premium to external recruiters to cook from scratch. What’s a girl to do?


For the recruiter who discovers a solution to this problem, the world is your oyster.

And not the leftover variety.

The Waiting is The Hardest Part

How many sources of input does it take to make a decision? In the rapid-paced profession of talent acquisition, the answer is almost certainly “TOO many.” As the pressure to fill seats intensifies, the challenges in clearing that final hurdle continues to pad the cherished “time to fill” metrics valued so much by top brass.

CEB just released their annual report on “Top Insights for World’s Leading Executives” and it proves a good (if lengthy) read. And it offers a few revealing trends that may surprise you. [*Spoiler Alert:] The job of putting butts in seats is getting slowerHow much slower? According to this study, it’s over 60% slower than it was just five years agoHow in the…..???

"I got NEXT!"
“I got NEXT!”

We know the influx of resumés has increased steadily. We know that the ATS and the use of mobile recruiting offers additional channels for applicants. Maybe it’s because some internal recruiting teams are still operating with recession-level headcount. Maybe it’s additional Financial oversight in the requisition approval process that slows the pace. But, come on…does that explain 62% slower?

No. It doesn’t. So what else could it be?

How about consensus?

The ambitious and well-intended goal of “agreement” as it pertains to the hiring decision is blowing the tires off the recruiting vehicle. How much? “If an interview process expands from including three people to five [people], the length of time-to-fill doubles.”- CEB

 If you consider the hiring manager as one of the “three,” that means the inclusion of only two more colleagues in the selection process can actually double the time-to-fill. How does that stack up to your current interview gauntlet? I’ve worked for companies with 50 TOTAL employees and had candidates interview with 10 different people before a decision was made, so I’m familiar with how the process can be thoroughly confounding. Remembering all the while that “time-to-fill” includes this dynamic that is completely out of control of the recruiter.

Why is this happening?

  • Perceived Value – We (Talent Acquisition) are partly to blame for this. There’s no shortage of metrics quantifying the cost of a “bad hire,” so one unintended consequence is to offload some of the accountability for the decision.
  • Technology – Why do we do it? Because we CAN! Hey, let’s add Mike in Wisconsin via Skype; let’s get the Nashville group on via teleconference, or better yet arrange a Google Hangout. It’s fun! Not for the candidate, I assure you.
  • Can We All Get Along? – Human Resources, as we know, are the cobbler’s children, so we tend to take the additional step of including internal clients or even potential team members in the selection process. In theory, that looks like a completely rational decision, but in practice? A few reasons that could bite you (besides the time suck):
    • Potential Team Members could see the candidate as a threat to their own professional advancement. Why would they want a superstar joining the competition?
    • Internal Clients are important and valued, but do we want them making our hires? I don’t necessarily want a perceived co-ownership of my direct report; sometimes that muddies the waters, yes?

Ultimately, it also boils down to this – what is measured is what matters. If your focus is on expediency (instead of, say, quality) of the hiring process, you may be sacrificing that quality for expediency. But if you want time-to-fill to be the most important metric for recruiting, caveat emptor m’friend.

First rule about asking for opinions…be careful – you just might get them.

HR used to be "Personnel." That ain't happening here.