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Managing the Recruiting Process

Recruiters have a tough job, managing them is even tougher! I see it as two problems: How do you identify the process to manage? How do you monitor for the good and the bad in the process?

After 25 years in the business of recruitment and recruitment software, I have never have seen two recruiting firms with the same recruitment process. For that matter, recruiters in the same recruiting firm usually have different techniques and styles.

Let’s go back to the first problem. How do you identify a recruiting process? The first indicator is pretty obvious. Are placements being made? If placements are being made are they enough to sustain growth or stay in business? I think it is a reasonably safe assumption that these are the bottom line indicators for a successful recruiting firm. Now all you need to do is back up from the bottom and look for more indicators.

What has to happen before a placement? Answer: an offer by an employer and an acceptance by an applicant. There are a few milestones here. We can monitor offers and acceptances. I think a traditional sales word would be “closes”. If your firm is getting a ton of offers but very few acceptances, this is certainly a show stopper. Something in your management process should show the ideal offer to acceptance ratio for your firm and your recruiting niche. The ratio will vary depending on your niche and the recruiting style.

Moving to the other side, how many offers are you getting? Do you know about how many you should be getting in any given period, one month, one quarter, one year? Do you know if a particular position is getting more action than other positions? Do you know why? Do you know if a particular industry is getting more action, a particular client? Do you know which client generates the most offers? Do you know which person in a client company generates the most offers? Do you know which recruiter is generating the most offers?

Normally I would say offers translate into placements. Does the recruiting firm have a good offer to placement ratio? What is a good offer to placement ratio? Normally anyone with half a brain would say 100%. But 100% may not be as good as you would think. Perhaps the firm is culling too much. Culling could be from the clients. If you cull from your client prospects too much and only take the locked slam dunk orders could you open the gates a bit and take a few marginal orders and get a lower offer to placement ration but raise the number of placements made?

On the applicant side the same thing applies. If every one of your candidates accepts every offer you get for them perhaps you should take a look at your fallout ration after the start dates. Could I get more placements if I got more offers but with a lower percentage of acceptances?

Ok lets move on up again. Are we getting enough offers? How many offers per month, per quarter or per year do we need to hit our projected revenue targets? Do we have a projected revenue target? This question can break down along the same lines as above, by industry, by position type, by client and by recruiter.

If we are not getting enough offers, how to get more? More interviews, more job orders, more applicants, more phone calls or more contacts? Should we be contacting more clients or more applicants? How much time is being spent finding candidates? How much time is being spent finding job orders? How much time is being spent on client prospects? Are we spending any time on applicant prospects? A candidate prospect is a candidate who we contact just to establish goodwill and trust not necessarily for an immediate position. Are we making enough contacts either via phone, email or conferences or association functions? How much is enough?

So now we know what questions to ask to manage the recruiting process. How do we get the answers? Now I get to my punch line and the intent of this article. The answers should be available in your recruiting software. If these answers are not available then find recruiting software that will give you these answers. Also make sure that the cure is not worse than the disease. By that I mean make sure that the effort to get management information from your recruitment system does not take such an effort that it actually impedes the recruitment process.

One of the first rules of good recruiting software is that information to manage the recruiting process must be available on an Ad Hoc basis. As you can see from above there are literally hundreds of variables that can be reviewed to help mange the recruiting process. It would be ridiculous to have a single report or set of reports that identified all these indicators. Therefore, the process of answering these questions must be as dynamic and creative as the manager asking the question.

The best way to ensure good management information from your recruitment system is to make sure the system itself is easy to use and that any recruitment task to be performed is made easier by using the recruitment system. I like to call this concept the "natural recruiting process". If the recruiters use the recruitment system for finding candidates, marketing to clients, scheduling their follow ups, sending resumes and actually communication with other recruiters then you have software that gathers management information naturally.

If you have a system that doesn’t quite do all the steps, i.e. mass emailing or depends on the Outlook calendar for scheduling interviews or follow ups, then you have an unnatural process where some of the management information is missing in the recruitment software. Or, even worse, the recruitment software is so labor intensive on some tasks that the recruiters find easier ways to get the job done without using the recruitment system.

So if you have you have an easy to use, all encompassing recruitment software system that can answer any Ad Hoc question easily you are halfway there. Now you need a set of reports that hit the high points of the key variables that are important to the success of your recruitment firm. Where do you get these reports, from the vendor of your software? Perhaps, but most vendors don’t know your particular brand of recruiting. Reports supplied by recruitment software vendors are too generic for an industry that is so specialized to a process and a recruiting niche. Also the variable you need to see today may not be the one you need next month and the report must be able to change accordingly.

The bottom line is that the recruitment firm needs a good, easy to use tool to prepare and change their own reports to suit the needs of the given moment. The reporting tool must not depend on technical expertise but on recruiting expertise.

About the Author: Kenneth Peck spent 3 years with GAO (United States General Accounting Office) after Graduating from the University of Toledo. Spent the next 15 years in IT from programmer to VP of IT with Insurance and Banking firms. Spent the next 15 years as a contingency based recruiter in Los Angeles and built the product ‘Gopher for Recruiters’. Spent the last 10 years improving the product ‘Gopher for recruiters’ and building the Company ‘BlackDog’ located in Crested Butte Colorado.

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