“Increase your volume”
“Do a deep screen on everyone”
“Return every call!”
“Tailor each message but if you’re looking at someone’s pedigree for more than 7.5 seconds move on.”
“These are the numbers you have to meet or you’re kaput here”
“We need 10,000 bodies, not candidates, not humans, not individuals but flesh bags by St. Swithin’s day.”
“Don’t forget candidate experience!”
“Pitch the company as perfection - but never lie!”
“Sell! SELL! SELL!
"Oh, but don’t use pressure…”
Welcome to sourcing in 2021.
We have arrived at peak pressure. And they wonder why it’s getting harder and harder to fill our jobs...
I’m a big fan of the subreddit /r/recruitinghell. There are “great” stories about how terrible we are. Some - maybe many - read 100% as the truth. I know this may come as a surprise but the one I encounter the most is some version of “They never got back to me”. I try to respond with what has started to become a rote spiel”
“We are judged on how many butts we get in seats. Our commissions, our bonuses, our careers - our livelihood - are judged on that factor alone. Not if you had fun in your interview. Not if we sent you an email on why you failed during the phone screen. Not if we sent you a thank you note. Not if we sent you a mass email that called you the wrong name and your skills didn’t even come close to the role. We are judged and we are rated and we are graded on one thing: butts in seats. So, of course we don’t get back to you. It doesn’t lead to the outcomes we need in a timely and efficient manner. It’s not an on purpose. If it hurts your feelings? That’s just a side effect.
This is not the weirdest market I have recruited in. The .com boom in the mid aughts had a similar feel as did Y2K. Not enough people and way too many open roles. Even though we have all read the articles I imagine your day to day gives it a big underline. That increases our need to balance an even heavier volume for less of a return. When that's the case, I think we all know what suffers the most: candidate experience.
I’m going to suggest some ideas on how we can make this better, most of which will never ever happen. The reason is because everything goes back to quarterly revenue and direct, tangible ROIs. And that all goes up to some bean counter who has zero idea of what our day to day is but knows how much we spend per day. I imagine Cost per Hire is something that gets talked about a lot more than Quality of Hire.
Sadly, my suggestions will both be things measured over a long period of time - something which the money people hate. Some of them will be intangibles, things that are not quantifiable, but very important aspects of what our roles should be. Those will be things the person who writes your review will hate.
Finally, some of what I’ll suggest will change the focus of what we call “sourcing” by adding new tasks to it. Who knows what the future holds, right?
As long as I’m in fantasy land, I’m not going to settle for a simple unicorn. I want 6 medium size unicorns that can form into one giant Voltron style unicorn. How cool a vision is that?
Without further ado, here are some tweaks we can make to influence the way we measure our performance as individuals and as a team:
How to Get There
The next suggestion is treading dangerous ground. I know many of the recruiting/sourcing managers will want to take me out back and let daylight through me. But hey, sometimes my feet look so tasty I cannot help but put both of them in my mouth.
That leads me to another KPI we could track: longevity of a new hire. Cost per hire (hello, my bean counters) goes down based on how long someone stays with a company. In 2021, loyalty to a corporation isn’t really something we toss around but what you give is what you get. That has never changed. A company that treats its people well will have them stay longer. Check-ins for the first 90 days, and continuing after will increase longevity. Being transparent that it's OK to leave if we cannot give you what you need (but give us a chance to try, at least) will increase the length of employment.
Here’s the thing: I have been doing this for 23+ years. I can make your resume beautiful. I can read your poorly written resume, even in comic sans, and see the person beneath the paper. I can hold your hand and navigate you through the interview process. I can help a manager understand the difference between interviewing to hire and interviewing to knock someone out and which is better. In all humility (which you know means a BRAG is coming) I think I’m pretty good at the whole sourcing gig…
Even with all of that, the mystery of why some people get hired is something that I can only guess at but I will never know. I think it would be easier to explain the appeal of Carrot Top, or Ryan Seacrest.
Then why, by Great Caesar's ghost, do people think that the number of submittals, calls made, emails sent, etc is indicative of success? Beats me. It’s as arbitrary as anything: because we are dealing with people. And people are weird about following linear, predictable paths. Especially when it comes to hiring.
I don’t claim to have the specific answers but I know this: Treating people well always leads to better outcomes.
Let’s work on measuring that - but let’s do it even if we can’t.
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