From what I've seen over the past 15 years of working with recruiting teams around the world is that too much time is spend on doing searches over again. This is the biggest productivity drain of all time. Worse, most recruiting leaders don't even measure it, control it, or try to fix it.
If you need to send more than 3-4 candidates to the hiring manager, and the manager can't decide, and wants to see more candidates, you've experienced the problem first hand. If you want to make 50-200% more placements per month you need to solve this problem. It starts by figuring out the cause.
We've identified the five big reasons why recruiters need to present too many candidates to get someone hired. Feel free to add your own to The Recruiter's Wall blog along with any and all comments and solutions.
- The recruiter or the manager doesn't understand real job needs. If neither the recruiter nor the manager knows exactly what you're supposed to be looking for, how will you know when you've found someone? Here's the primary cause of the "Waiting for Godot" problem - hiring managers procrastinate, waiting for the ideal candidate to arrive with the glib comment, "I'll know the person when I see him." Some say "her," but either one is an indicator that the search will take far longer than necessary. I suggest using a performance profile to at least define OTJ success before you start looking.
- The hiring manager isn't very good at assessing competency. If you use skills and experience as the primary screen-in or screen-out filter, you're leaving it up to the hiring manager to decide what on-the-job competency looks like. The problem is that people come in all shapes and sizes, and many with imperfect experience matches turn out to be perfect candidates. Behavioral interviewing won't help much on this score either, since these minimize all of the situational fit factors in the assessment. These factors, which have been shown to dominate on-the-job performance (e.g., Google Oxygen study and Gallup's Q12), include fit with the job, manager, and culture. Our 2-question performance-based interview addresses these fit issues, and more importantly allows managers to accurately assess a person's competency and motivation to do the actual job in the actual environment required.
- The hiring manager is afraid to make a mistake. Newbie managers are especially prone to this problem, but even more seasoned managers who have been recently promoted or have a track record of making bad hiring decisions also find the yes/no hiring decision to be an agonizing one. Our Performance-based Hiring process using a performance profile and the 2-question performance-based interview is a start in the right direction. Tying all of the interview evidence together using our Quality of Hire Talent Scorecard provides the hiring manager a business-like approach to make this decision. Often this is all that's necessary to get the manager over the fear of making a bad hiring decision.
- The recruiter isn't very good at screening candidates. This problem could be due to overreliance on the job description to weed out weaker candidates. In the process you also might be weeding out the high potential person the hiring manager actually would like to see and potentially hire. In our Performance-based Hiring training course for hiring managers, we ask if they would be open to trade off 10-20% of the skills and experience listed on the job description for significant upside potential. 75-80% say of course, and then we show them how to do it. Recruiters should ask the same question and then incorporate this same technique into their screening process. This is one sure way to improve quality of hire while also improving time to fill and increasing productivity.
- Good candidates opt-out for one reason or another. Let's be frank, it's easy to hire an active candidate who has no other options. A top-notch active candidate adds a layer of complexity and competition into the mix, and passive candidates are another breed entirely. If you're offering lateral transfers to fully-experienced people with multiple options they'll opt-out on first contact. Others will opt-out as they find out the details behind your job aren't career enhancing. The rest will opt-out at the offer stage if you're not competitive on all fronts. Minimizing this cumulative opt-out effect requires strong recruiting skills coupled with hiring managers who understand the difference between hiring for talent and filling seats with the last person standing. Part of the Performance-based Hiring program is adding recruiting countermeasures to minimize the impact of these fallout problems.
If you're a recruiter or hiring manager you'll recognize these pervasive problems throughout your organization. From working with large and small companies around the world for the past 20 years, we've developed a half-day Performance-based Hiring workshop that offers simple solutions to each of these problems. As a result, these companies are now hiring outstanding people at all levels in all functions throughout their organizations.
One thing we've learned as part of this is that hiring top people requires close teamwork with the recruiter and hiring manager. On July 24 and July 31, 2012 we're offering to a very limited number of people the chance to attend the first public and online version of this program to help us test it out in a new partnership format. The only pre-requisite is that recruiters need to invite and attend along with one of their hiring managers, and hiring managers need to invite and attend along with one of their recruiters. Here's the link to sign up. While you'll definitely reduce the number of people needed to make one hire, the real value of the program is hiring stronger people. By August 1, 2012 you'll be shocked at how easy this is. All it takes is teamwork.