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Successful Companies Have Strong Recruitment Cultures

A man in a blue suit smiling in front of a tree.
​Shanil Kaderali, executive vice president of global talent solutions at Pierpoint International.

The employers that consistently top "Best Companies to Work For" lists tend to have two things in common: They prioritize recruiting top talent and provide substantial funding for the recruitment department.

That's according to Shanil Kaderali, executive vice president of global talent solutions at San Jose, Calif.-based Pierpoint International, a global recruitment process outsourcing firm.

Kaderali and the team at Pierpoint recently reviewed more than 20 talent acquisition (TA) departments at companies atop the best-of lists and came away with a number of factors that set successful companies apart, and which taken together constitute a strong recruitment culture.

Kaderali discussed with SHRM Online the techniques HR can use to boost funding for talent acquisition, how to earn executive support for the function and the importance of using technology to enhance best-practice recruiting strategies.

[SHRM members-only online discussion platform: SHRM Connect]

SHRM Online: Many recruiters have told me they believe their function is underfunded. How does this affect the health of the organization?

Kaderali: Most TA organizations are chronically underfunded. There's a constant battle between HR and finance and rarely does HR or TA have a strong formula for how they should be funded effectively.

The issue here is whether a company has adequate funding to build a world-class TA team, hire top recruiters and keep them at manageable requisition levels. We also believe that adequate funding for employment branding, sourcing tools, an ATS [applicant tracking system] and other technology are critical if a company's TA department and its leaders are to achieve their goals.

Doing more with less is a skill, but we see so many cases in which expectations are unrealistic, leading to a consistent churn of TA leaders and recruiters annually.

One way poor funding shows up is in the requisition levels per recruiter. Underfunded TA organizations always burden recruiters with too many requisitions. There is no perfect formula. However, we frequently see recruiters handling professional roles with 30 or more requisitions, and 80 or more for high-volume positions. In either case, given so little available time, recruiters can become paper-pushers and be forced to do very little screening.

Now, there isn't any one particular formula for funding a TA organization. I've observed various formulas and different approaches being used. At Intuit, the vice president of TA works to ensure adequate funding for enough TA staff to allow for budgeted, forecasted hiring growth, but also for spikes. Their TA team for professional roles also ensures that recruiters are not overloaded. Although there is variability on the number depending on types of roles, 12 to 15 requisitions are typical.

SHRM Online: What are some ways that HR and TA can get the funding they need?

Kaderali: To bridge the funding gap, HR and TA have to show data on managing requisition levels and the impact on quality of hires. Do comparative analysis. Also, review turnover using regression analysis, aligning it with key measures for the business, such as revenue. For example, a 5 percent reduction in turnover would result in $x million in retention revenue. That could help drive funding to ensure better support in the hiring model.

Another example is to use TA data aligned to client-specific business goals. For example, the average hiring manager response time for candidate feedback is 23 days, which significantly contributes to a product launch delay for three weeks resulting in $2 million lost revenue opportunity and 10 percent higher costs due to engaging high-priced consultants.

SHRM Online: What's the value of executive support for the TA function, and how can it be earned?

Kaderali: The value of executive support is crucial to success for the TA organization. It's earned by using data, inviting leaders to staff meetings, and ensuring TA teams attend client-update meetings and business reviews. Knowing the business will earn the needed trust as well.

Companies that promote hiring manager engagement are far more successful in hiring than their counterparts with less-engaged hiring managers and leadership. Google puts hiring and keeping the best talent as one of its core operating principles, and the commitment from the executive team demonstrates it like very few companies today. At Palo Alto Networks, the CEO invites recruiters to call him, and on occasion will drop in to meetings. He's a powerful proponent of having a strong recruitment team. Successful recruiting is a highly collaborative process. It involves the entire organization.

SHRM Online: How about the connection between recruiting best practices and an organization's TA technology?

Kaderali: A company's technical foundation is a significant element of a strong recruiting culture. Technology can enable best-practice processes to make efficiency, scalability and cost-management clearer. In our survey, we found that 80 percent of top employers have CRMs [candidate relationship management systems] as well as an ATS. Most use sourcing tools beyond just LinkedIn. Salary comparison tools are also important. I would recommend technology that also includes enabling internal mobility, employee referral programs and video interviewing and supports the employment branding strategy. A few organizations, like GE and Intuit, have developed roles such as social media recruiters, which are sourcers who also act as brand ambassadors. They're sharing positive content and responding to issues and complaints.

Optimizing the TA tech stack requires a thorough review of practices and processes, ensuring buy-in to developing processes that make sense, and having executive support.

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