Are Your Recruitment Practices Like Being Stuck At The Maccas Drive Through?

Or putting the question another way - how big should your internal TA function be and what service are you offering versus the expectations of your hiring managers?    

By Rachel Hill

It never ceases to amaze me when I'm working with clients just how small their TA team is to the size of the organisation, number of vacancies and in turn the demands on the recruitment function. Often just one or two Recruiters covering an organisation of over 1000 staff.

Numbers Count - Some Simple Calculations….

If you have an organisation of 1000 employees and two Recruiters. Each Recruiter currently has 30 vacancies to fill. Say a 60-vacancy rolling total. With 37 hours in the week and a few hours for meetings, each Recruiter only has one hour per week per vacancy.

So, if we get 30 applicants per role. Each candidate gets 2 minutes of attention (that’s just 120 seconds!) to be reviewed and passed on.

No Time For Nice Stuff

So, there is no time for the nice stuff, like shortlisting, strategic planning, writing good adverts, considering different channels, developing your EVP and Brand messages and or taking a brief or sitting in on interviews.

However, the manager is expecting a silver service steak dinner, but Recruitment is delivering a burger at the McDonald’s drive-through, often caused by a lack of resources.

Companies Can’t Calculate Their Required TA Numbers

What I see often is that many organisations are not able to calculate how many TA professionals they realistically need in the HR Team and in turn the impact this is having on their bottom line. Low TA headcount often results in poor attraction practices, little Recruitment support and consequently unfilled vacancies or slow time to hire.

Often the TA model is flawed in that it is just so under-resourced compared to the demands on the team.

This leaves the recruitment team (or TA Function) as little more than “Order takers”, basically Administrators who only have time to post low-level, quickly written adverts on to the same job board each time (Often Seek) and then send all CV’s over to the hiring managers for review.

No Time For Effective Recruitment Stages

There simply is no time for taking a recruitment brief, considering different advertising channels or messages, EVP (Employment Value Proposition) or brand work.    

So very little value is added from the HR function, other than offering “an admin process”. In recruitment, we call this “post and prey” no time for shortlisting or being physically present in interviews with hiring managers. So very little value in the recruitment value chain.

The Problem?

This all begs these questions then;

How big should your TA team be? to support the number of vacancies you have and the service level the business needs? What is the quality of candidate you hope to attract? Or the level of difficulty to fill a particular position?

What should your Recruitment/TA model and strategy be? Should you even have a TA function? Or a decentralised (HRBP and Hiring Manager) lead model? 

There are so many questions to move us from a fast-food frenzy to a silver-service dinner…

So, Silver Service Dinner or a sloppy burger shoved through a window?

Admin Or High-Level TA?

Often it depends on what service the business expects from TA, if they only want an admin service then the 'administrator' can manage 30 + requisitions and process them. If they want a top-tier sliver dinner or end-to-end service, then clearly not.

Most HRDs or Recruitment Leads I speak with don't know the number of TA practitioners to vacancy ratio, how to justify an increase in headcount in HR or justify the purchase of new HR Technology and spending required to elevate the recruitment function.

And this isn’t necessarily their fault, they just haven’t got the time or worked through the overall service and strategy required from recruitment in the business.

How To Spot The Signs

You’ll know if your organisation is sitting at the MacDonald's drive-through if you match the following statements or if you have the following frustrations coming from your Hiring Managers:

  • The Recruiters in the HR team seem stressed out – Helpful yes, but just too many vacancies and not enough hours in the day or people to fully serve them or get back to us
  • We don’t attract the right people (Quality candidates)
  • The function never delivers, it is seen as too slow and unresponsive. The process is painful and stressful

Ultimately underestimating the TA (recruitment) manpower leads to a recruitment process flow that is slow and cumbersome and a recruitment team that is just not delivering and frankly burnt out.

More Signs

When we lift up the lid and look at your recruitment engine or TA team (pardon the car pun!) I often see the other following common traits.

  • TA is undervalued, as a service or function (we only need two TA heads, right?)
  • TA is the whipping post. It's all their fault and hiring managers and even other HR team members have a good go at kicking the recruitment team for not delivering a great service or great candidates.
  • The Hiring Managers don’t get much support, often having to do the shortlisting, interviews and references all by themselves, with little time or skills to do this.

So how do you fix this?

  1. Know Your Numbers: Yes, statistics matter. So, this is what you need to check. Simple calculations such as how many hires are you doing a year? The types of hires you're doing a year. The number of hires per year. The hours per vacancy, any economies of scale with Bulk recruitment and or any specialist roles needed within the team such as Sourcing Specialists. The number of hours per vacancy etc. Can all lead to a better TA headcount calculation.
    1. ROI On Headcount: Ultimately, you also need to show your ROI on headcount, the TA spend, team size and structure, and cost savings for the business or impact on the bottom line for business profits. What is the true cost of Recruitment or the impact and cost of getting it wrong?
    1. The Desired Service Level: Speak with the Executive and business leaders in terms of their expectations of service support and link this back to business strategy.

Only then will you be able to lift the function from a transactional (admin-based cost centre) to a strategic business partner profit centre. From order taking (Admin) to supporting the business bottom line and growth strategy.

This Is Where Hill Consulting Can Help

Recruit Better! Get your TA Strategy right – undertake a review of your current practices.

If you need help with your TA headcount, model or ROI calculator or a review of your current recruitment practices to justify more resources in recruitment, get in touch with me.