I’ve noticed a recurring theme when engaging in Human Resources (HR) consulting and interacting with organization leaders; they don’t all agree on the value that HR can provide to their organization, but they all understand the critical importance of recruiting. (For the record, effective HR has a huge positive impact on companies’ bottom lines.) Throughout these interactions I’ve been puzzled why a function like recruiting, that is so universally accepted as being critical to an organization’s success, has such little focus and is not leveraged like other critical functions. Assessments, recruiting surge support, and/or general enhancements to the recruiting function are almost always reactive and are typically put in place to address deficiencies as opposed to seizing opportunities. I think that this phenomenon is worth exploring, because having effective recruiting capabilities does two major things simultaneously:
- By reducing the length of time to hire via an effective and efficient process that is aligned with an organization’s human capital goals, it reduces the amount of time that employees who interact with the process are spending on each hire; and,
- Especially when filling positions that are directly or indirectly revenue-generating, getting those candidates hired and turned into revenue-generating employees as quickly as possible is essentially how many businesses make money.
All of this brings me back to recruiting-related opportunities that frequently go unrealized. I think that these opportunities are often missed because most of them involve either investing up front to bring on additional recruiting bandwidth and/or leveraging recruiting professionals’ knowledge related to recruiting best practices to do something other than using all of time that they’re working to perform direct recruiting. Both of these options can be extremely distasteful to profit-conscious leaders because they involve up front investments. What’s important to realize in these cases is that up front investments can have a return that is far greater than the initial expenditure.
The list below captures of a number of scenarios in which an organization with proactive leadership with a strategic mindset can get a major return on their recruiting-related investments;
How Leaders Can Best Work With External Recruiting Firms
- Handle surges in hiring: As a previous HR practitioner at a company where I was responsible for HR and recruiting, I can attest from experience that the amount of time required to fill multiple positions can quickly expand beyond what a single person can handle. This is especially acute when your organization has recruiting needs around the holidays when your permanent staff have scheduled vacations. When I needed help to keep up with the hiring needs of my organization, I was always hesitant to reach out to traditional third party staffing firms due to the inherent distance between the staffing firm and my organization. They were, after all, two different companies. A solution to this dilemma is in the form of introducing an outsourced recruiting model that embeds a recruiting professional who speaks ‘for’ your organization as opposed to ‘at’ your organization. This creates a seamless and positive experience for prospective candidates, which translates into your organization being a more attractive landing place for them. An outsourced recruiting model is a flexible fit over the short or long term, and it avoids raising your fixed costs via bringing on additional recruiters as direct hires.
- Step in when your organization doesn’t have the necessary tools or hiring resources: It’s extremely common for companies to not need or have a hiring infrastructure in their early stages of development. You can get by with a lack of tools, process, and resources until your company hits the level of growth that you’ve been aspiring to reach. Suddenly you have a serious staffing situation on your hands. To avoid hitting a growth speed-bump due to an inability to bring on staff in an efficient and effective manner, you can partner with an organization that uses an outsourced recruiting model so that you can use their existing infrastructure and expertise. This allows you to set up a hiring process that is customized to your needs and maintains your organization’s identity.
- Design a marketing strategy that aligns with your hiring goals:Qualified candidates that are interested in working for your organization aren’t easy to find. To effectively attract candidates you need to communicate that you have a role that matches their interests and what it means to be an employee at your company.
Just about every client that I speak with think that their company offers a unique culture and set of opportunities to employees… and they’re right. The problem is that most of those organizations don’t have a strategy to communicate that to prospective candidates. Their message isn’t falling on deaf ears; it’s not falling on anyone’s ears. Using recruiting professionals to develop a marketing and hiring strategy ensures that your organization’s message is being heard by the audience that you’re targeting. This includes reviewing your externally-facing recruiting-related sites, your online presence at career sites and communities, and the descriptions you use to market positions.
- Perform a recruiting program assessment: Assessments typically focus on compliance or general efficiency and effectiveness.
- Audit the compliance of recruiting processes: There are a lot of opportunities for companies to run afoul of government regulations when they’re filling positions. This is especially the case for government contractors, and even more so with government contractors who have over 50 employees. Using professionals who are knowledgeable about recruiting-related compliance can work with your organization to create OFCCP-compliant processes in place that reduces your organization’s liability.
- Designing a departmental structure and processes: A lot of processes at organizations evolve over time, and can oftentimes grow into something that in no way resembles what you would design if you could just start from scratch. This is certainly also the case with recruiting processes. If you think this might be the case at your organization, you can use a recruiting expert to work with your organization to assess and design the recruiting department’s structure and processes. Recruiting professionals are able to identify process redundancies, find opportunities to more effectively elicit requirements, accurately screen candidates, and leverage your technology. The list goes on.
- Develop, gather, analyze, and take action based on metrics:
- Is your recruiting function working well, or not? And what makes you think that; a hunch, a lack of complaints, or hard data? Using a recruiting expert who can understand your organization’s needs and create a metrics program can have an outsized impact on your bottom line. Analyzing metrics regarding your recruiting function allows you to identify inefficiencies in the process, as well to better predict time and effort required to fill positions in the future. Knowing how much time and effort goes into filling a position allows you to carefully augment your recruiting levels so that you’re not under or over staffed.
My recruiting consulting colleagues here at Helios HR, who are the experts in all of these areas, are amazed when organizations fail to realize the overall impact that strategic recruiting can have on an organization. In fact, when you stop to think about how many employees participate in the recruiting process, and how much time they spend interacting with the process, it’s easy to understand how a company’s bottom line can be positively impacted by making the recruiting process more efficient and effective. When you combine that with the benefits of getting revenue-generating employees onboard more quickly, your returns can be substantial.
In summary, by teaming with an external recruiting firm, there are many options to proactively impact a growing company’s recruiting and hiring. Knowing when to make these types of strategic investments in your firm’s recruiting function can pay dividends in the future.