6 Practical Ways to Recruit More Strategically

 

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer October 14, 2019
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​DALLAS—The most successful recruiters will go beyond doing more of the same and instead come up with ways to fundamentally change how they work in order to deliver better results.

"Every hiring manager wants more strategy from recruiters," said John Vlastelica, former recruiting director at Amazon and Expedia and founder of Recruiting Toolbox, a Seattle-based recruitment management consulting and training firm.

But what does that mean? "Just calling yourself a talent advisor doesn't mean you're going to be strategic," Vlastelica told attendees at the recent LinkedIn Talent Connect 2019 conference for recruiting and HR professionals. "PowerPoint decks do not make you strategic. Strategic does not mean being innovative. Business executives want speed, quality and diversity."

He shared six low-cost, practical things recruiters can do to become more strategic and to improve the hiring process at their organizations.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Recruiting Internally and Externally]

1.     Get Hiring Managers Involved Early

The companies that are most strategic about pipeline recruiting get hiring managers engaged at the start of the process, Vlastelica said. "Every hiring manager I've spoken to wants pipelines, and they see that as being your job, not theirs," he said. But candidates are more likely to respond to outreach from hiring managers than recruiters.

Vlastelica advised talent acquisition professionals to train managers on how "to show up online"; by that, he meant "be thought leaders who engage with the communities they will be sourcing from and have conversations across social media channels that aren't just interviews of potential candidates.

"Getting them to be more visible among the communities they want to hire from is key to getting passive talent," he said. Hiring managers can also help by hosting meetups, game nights, sourcing jams and thought-leader webinars.

2.     Know Your Source-of-Hire Mix

Vlastelica said facilities management company Sodexo recently realized that 90 percent of the source of hire for one of its core higher-volume jobs was internal candidates, so it changed the role to an internal requisition.

"Take a look at common roles and see what kind of internal versus external fill you have," he said. "Have a conversation with your department leaders about the hiring mix they want and then allocate your resources to the jobs you intend to hire externally. That saves the company time and money and provides a good development opportunity for employees."

3.     Give the Gift of Time

Hiring managers are busy, and most of the time recruiters are giving them more to do.

"Whenever you are able to give back time, you are winning," Vlastelica said.

The Walt Disney Co. recently decided that hiring managers didn't need to phone screen all candidates for certain roles, before those candidates came onsite for interviews.

"What if recruiters were qualified to screen candidates and send finalists to onsite interviews?" he asked. "You'd be giving managers hundreds of hours back."

Another way to streamline the interview process is to reduce the number of people involved. Too many interviewers in the process leads to slow hiring and bad consensus decisions. How many interviews are needed depends on job function, but "you don't need 16 interviewers for most jobs," he said.

4.     Help Your Candidates Out

If the candidates you bring in don't have much experience with interviewing, "it's important to set them up for success," Vlastelica said. "I want candidates to bring their best selves to the interview."

He recommended that recruiters coach them on what to expect and ask them if they would like to meet with any employee resource groups.

5.     Change the Approval Process

One of the biggest misalignments between recruiters and the business is when the time-to-fill countdown starts. To talent acquisition professionals, the clock begins when the requisition is approved, or even when the job is posted. But for hiring managers, the process started weeks prior.

"Hiring managers hate the approval process for opening a new requisition," Vlastelica said. Talent acquisition leaders at KPMG studied turnover and discovered that they could predict position vacancies in advance for certain jobs.

"Why wait for people to resign before starting the hiring process? Start it earlier, so the approval is already done. This is a planning issue. Tell the business you need to open certain requisitions now if you want the jobs filled quickly when they're needed."

6.     Conduct Batch Interviews

Batch interviews—grouping several onsite interviews on one day—serves both speed and quality, he said. "One of the biggest constraints we find in time-to-fill is scheduling. Scheduling can add five, 10, 20 days to your process, which is ridiculous."

Instead, Vlastelica recommended "finding high-volume open jobs you always need and plan the interview days far in advance—have dedicated sourcers and recruiters to fill 12 interviewing slots each day."

He said that was the strategy when he was at Amazon, with Mondays and Fridays reserved for interviews. "We made same-day decisions and sometimes same-day offers," he said.

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