A Losing Formula

John Whitaker Always Be Closing, Audacious Ideas, Bad HR, John Whitaker, Recruiting

If you do the math, it gets pretty ugly. For the sake of the other Liberal Arts degree holders in the audience, I’m going to start with the nice round number of 100.

100, as in “100 candidates have applied for your open requisition.” Based on what we know from multiple surveys, (iCIMS, Gallup, CEB), we can safely assume the following:

  • 25 of the applicants are also applying to 10 or more other positions.
  • 78 of the applicants will receive nothing in the way of response or feedback from you, the prospective employer.
  • A third of the candidates will rate their application experience as “negative;” 14 of them will tell you about their negative experience, 35 of them will tell the world on social media. Of this disgruntled group, 20% will become a former customer, as well.

So, the candidates aren’t thrilled about the process. But at least we have the hiring managers’ support, right? Ummm, no:

  • 68% of hiring managers feel candidates are not properly screened by recruiters.
  • Only 25% of hiring managers feel that recruiters have any influence over the final selection.
  • 48% of hiring managers wonder why you have no talent pipeline in place already.
  • The majority (52%) don’t consider recruiting activities as “value-added.”

Okay, you ungrateful scallywags, did you consider this?

  • The volume of applications has increased 133% in the last three years.
  • Over a third of all companies report a decrease in their respective recruiting budget.
  • Recruiting is actually servicing 50% more business units than it did five years ago.
  • At least half of you hiring managers (yes, you) don’t adequately define the position.

And these are the short lists.

Resumes are coming in at a record clip, more so than at any time in history. This increase in volume on the front-end of the hiring process can create a system built to disappoint. The resources afforded Talent Acquisition are, in many cases, actually decreasing in scope, leaving the recruiter in an unfortunate situation—we cannot possibly give each resume a thorough screen, much less do something so strategic as “build pipelines” of talent. So we resort to “first seen, first screened,” scanning for key words and current employment status. That means that despite an increase in the number of candidates, we have seen no improvement in the quality of the candidates.

But wait, there’s more! Because we are forced into a skillset/SEO type scan, we are hiring to paper, not to “fit,” which creates problems of its own. More and more, companies are realizing the importance of cultural and organizational fit. An employee can check all the boxes on required skills but still be mismatched with colleagues and company culture—when internal recruiters fail to properly screen for fit, it serves as validation to hiring managers that we (recruiters) “just don’t get it.”

And you wonder why there’s so many snarky people in the recruiting world?

Yes, indeed, we have quite a conundrum on our hands. But that’s part of the reason you come to FOT, right? Don’t give us problems; give us answers!

In many cases, we’re bringing the pain on ourselves. The time-to-hire metric (terrible metric, btw) pushes the recruiter into a “blast post” mode—you’ve heard the term “Post & Pray” 1,000,000 times on FOT for a reason. When you cast an indiscriminate net, don’t be surprised at the indiscriminate catch.

It’s a challenging situation we find ourselves in, but here’s the catch—it’s not the fault of your ATS, job boards, or technology in general. We’re just fishing with the wrong bait.

Next month, put on your waders and come back for my ideas on how we can take this back into our hands and start fishing for trophy fish without scuttling the net with bottom-feeders.

That’s officially the end of my fishing metaphors.

For now.

FOT Note: This post is sponsored by the good folks at CareerBuilder.com, who care so much about the world of recruiting and human resources that they’ve become an annual sponsor at FOT.  Here’s where it gets good: As part of the CareerBuilder sponsorship, FOT contributors get to write anything we want on a monthly basis, and CareerBuilder doesn’t get to review it.  We’re also doing a monthly podcast called the “Post and Pray Podcast,” which is also sponsored by CareerBuilder.  Good times.

John Whitaker

John Whitaker (“Whit”) is Vice President of Talent Acquisition for DentalOne Partners and the founder of HRHardball.com (2008). He specializes in building and developing strong recruiting teams who are unafraid of “kicking the ant pile.” Like most Texans, he loves to tell a story (especially those that include an armadillo or a poker game) and cutting through the chaff…don’t take it personal.