Ask FOT: How Do I Teach Execs That Recruiting at Scale Differs From What They’re Used To

Kris Dunn Recruiting, Talent Acquisition

Dear FOT:

I’m working through something and wondered if you had something that might help.

It’s obvious to me that our exec-level population doesn’t understand that you recruit high-volume, contact center kinds of CS positions differently than what they’re used to (1 to 1 wooing and talent pool development). I want to educate them on how you manage this at the project level and thus do things at scale vs. individualized (they’re used to asking people for referrals and calling those leads in a 1/1 fashion—very much a high end, “all it takes is one good one” approach). 

Any thoughts on the best way to approach that education with an exec who’s a technical specialist by training (let’s say her background is in software development) who has always been wooed individually and thinks that’s the way we need to approach the support center she now manages?

–Jamie from Atlanta

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Hey Jamie –

You’ve got your hands full! Where’s the individual attention and talent pool development when it comes to call center recruiting strategy? Let’s develop those leads 1 by 1!

I kid.

I’m not going to tell you anything you don’t know here, I suspect. But I would focus on the following factors that are greatly different in call center recruiting. Realities that call for a different strategy in support/contact center recruiting (or any recruiting at scale or volume) include the following:

–Going for 20-40 fills at a time instead of 1, and having the need to aggregate new hire classes by a specific date for training purposes.

–Candidates come on and come off the market much more rapidly than professional grade candidates. Talent pools don’t work; when they’re ready to move, they move, and then they’re done unless the money you can provide can change their view.

–$1 per hour changes their decision, not a long-term career growth play or message.

–Ghosting is much more common at top of the funnel between first contact and first to final interview.

–Day 1–No show rates higher, doesn’t exist in professional grade recruiting.

For all these reasons, you don’t have the resources to go 1/1 recruiting when it comes to support/contact center recruiting. The goal should be to drive numbers to prepare for the fall out/failure/drop offs that occur for all these reasons.

But you know all of this and can likely add to the list. If you have a single hiring exec who doesn’t understand the scene, I’d make sure that communicating the above realities is part of a bigger recruiting strategy and rightfully addresses how you allocate resources and FTEs in your TA department based on the overall needs.

For example: yes, you have professional grade positions where the 1/1, passive sourcing, high-touch recruiting model this person expects is active. But it’s not in her numbers-driven department with all the above factors in play. You have to allocate out 10 FTEs in your TA department (I’m making that up), and you even if it made sense, you can’t allocate enough resources to the support/contact center to recruit in this fashion.

To close this out, I’d defend your real-world approach with clear communications on why you allocate the way you do, both with notes on best practices in recruiting in volume/at scale, the needs of other departments, and your resource limitations.

Time for an overall strategy deck to defend the approach if your efforts to educate don’t take hold.

Happy hunting.