Planning for the Uptick: What does your recruiting toolbelt look like?

I had the honor of working a Habitat for Humanity project with my niece a few weeks ago where our assignment for the day was to tool-belt-occidental put up and align the exterior frames.  Now, I am no carpenter by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, the only other Jewish carpenter I know decided to start another religion.  However, I learned how to line up the wooden frame from one side of the house to the other by using tools such as levels and string.  Basic and simple tools! 

If the frames are not in alignment…well, the house can fall down when you put the roof on. 

As I was working, I started to think about how important this concept applies to the Recruiting world.  How many times have you been down the candidate search mode and you were told that your candidates did not meet the hiring managers’ expectations because they did not have the skills/background s/he was looking for?   Average hiring manager satisfaction is still in the 50-60% range.  Remember when your company was in ramp up mode and the goal was to place butts in seats to meet customer demand?  Companies were in that mode from 2003 to mid 2008 and as the economy begins to ramp up over the next 12-14 months we need to have the right tools in order to meet their expectations.

According to most, companies will begin hiring again in order to keep up with increasing customer demands.  So….are your frames aligned with your company’s growth and workforce planning goals?  What tools do you have in place to ensure that when the increased demand comes, you will be a Recruiting Carpenter?  If the tool belt is a little light then below are some suggestions you may want to consider.  Note that these tools aren’t groundbreaking and may seem simple, but so was the string and level.

Service Level Agreement (SLA):  The concept of the SLA has been around the last six years.  This tool helped our company go from a time to fill of 81 days to a current time to fill of 35.  How?  By taking the time to speak with our hiring managers about their needs with regard to daily responsibilities, the nice to have skills versus the must have skills, and the projects this person would have the opportunity to work on.  The SLA conversations also helped us construct our job posting so that it would sell the opportunity not just be another job description out there describing the responsibilities and skill sets.  Some of the key questions we ask our hiring managers include:

  • What are the big/compelling projects this person will get to experience? 
  • What key objectives do you expect them to accomplish over the first 6 months and year. 
  • What type of training and development is provided in this position? 
  • What type of impact does this position make on the overall company?
  • What does your schedule look like over the next 3-4 weeks?  Will you be traveling and will you have a back-up in your absence for recruiting questions? 
  • When will you be available to begin interviews (dates)?   

There are many other questions you can ask but the key is to be mindful of their time when doing these conversations.  The partnership conversation shouldn’t go longer than 15 minutes.  Remember, they are counting on you to deliver and if you have recruited for this position before, it should be a two minute conversation to see if anything has changed.

Social Recruiting:  If either of these tools are not in your belt, stop reading this article and start looking into a different profession.  Posting jobs on the big boards will soon become a fossil resource in the recruiting world as social recruiting tools and programs like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter continue to revolutionize the way we find candidates.  Even Careerbuilder has started forming partnerships with Facebook and LinkedIn.  Successful recruiters move as fast as technology does to find the best candidates so it is vital to learn and embrace the importance of these tools now before newer technology leaves you in the dust!

The Phone:  Don’t laugh!  The phone is also a very important tool to continue using.  A lot of recruiters have taken social media and use it as their primary communications tool.  Why?  Takes less energy, don’t have to have the voice contact.  Really?  It takes more energy and thought to type using social media/recruiting than it does to dial ten numbers!

 Social recruiting cannot replace the relationship skills that recruiters have been blessed with.  Social Recruiting should be used to make the initial connection or generate interest, but there are a lot of recruiters out there who solely use e-mail and social recruiting as their method of contact.  

Put yourself in candidate’s shoes or better yet, remember when you were looking for a job.  Phone calls are the way to make the connection and show that you as a recruiter (corporate or agency) that you took the time to pick up the phone and find out more about them. The other key is to pick up the phone and let your candidates know where the position stands.   Candidates still feel like they apply to the proverbial black hole because no one is getting back to them.  Remember, the way we recruit and communicate with our candidates indirectly provides insight into what the company culture may be.  If you put your company values and service standards out on your site then you should be living by them every day in your role as a recruiter.  Candidate satisfaction whether the person is hired or not should be measured at all times

Metrics:  In speaking to quite a few recruiters at different networking events, that they are still not measuring their success.   The metrics are the nails that hold our wooden frame together because we know how we are doing.  We can measure the success of everything with this critical tool.  If you are just starting to measure keep your metrics simple – cost per hire, time to fill, hiring manager satisfaction are three great metrics to start with.  Once you have these you can look at more metrics such as Recruiting Cost Ratio, Recruiting Efficiency, Candidate Satisfaction, and Quality of Hire.  The second part is to show off your results and your positive impact to the company.  Create dashboards and post them on a Sharepoint drive for your managers to see and discuss

About the author

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Michael Goldberg is the Recruiting Manager for Freeman, based in Dallas, Texas.  Michael has over 17 years of overall HR experience with the last 10 focused on Talent Acquisition.   He has been with Freeman for the last two and a half years and has been successfully able to build great recruiting partnerships and reduce time to fill by 50% over the last year and a half and maintain a Hiring Manager Satisfaction ratio of 95%.  He spoke at the Kennedy Recruiting Conference in Las Vegas and most recently the Kenexa World Conference fall 2009. 

 Contact info:  Michael can be reached at either email address:

[email protected] or [email protected].

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Noel Cocca
CEO/Founder RecruitingDaily and avid skier, coach and avid father of two trying to keep up with my altruistic wife. Producing at the sweet spot talent acquisition to create great content for the living breathing human beings in recruiting and hiring. I try to ease the biggest to smallest problems from start-ups to enterprise. Founder of RecruitingDaily and our merry band of rabble-rousers.


CEO/Founder RecruitingDaily and avid skier, coach and avid father of two trying to keep up with my altruistic wife. Producing at the sweet spot talent acquisition to create great content for the living breathing human beings in recruiting and hiring. I try to ease the biggest to smallest problems from start-ups to enterprise. Founder of RecruitingDaily and our merry band of rabble-rousers.


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