<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Teach Our Recruiters to Be More Aggressive When Sourcing Candidates
June 8, 2007
Dear Passive: There are two excellent approaches you can take to alter your staff's passive response to hiring requests. The first is to establish service level agreements (SLAs) at a divisional level, and then ensure that these agreements are operationally aligned at the hiring manager/recruiter level. A staffing service level agreement offers a measurable description of what staffing is prepared to do to help the division or functional group meet its business goals for some predetermined period, typically a year. An SLA, for example, might indicate in writing that the recruiter will meet with the hiring manager within 48 hours of a requisition being received, or that an average time-to-fill goal for certain positions will be a partial measure of the expected performance. The agreement might also articulate the intent to ensure every applicant's slate includes a specific level of diversity, or that every candidate will be surveyed to determine whether their experience was a contributing factor in the offer acceptance ratio. Literally anything might be expected to be included in your SLA, and, as staffing manager, it is your responsibility to negotiate SLAs as a two-way agreement. For example, it is reasonable to expect that your staff's hiring performance will improve even more if you (and they) have a better "heads up" of the positions that might get approved one, three, six months or even a year in advance. The SLAs might specify that you or your HR partners are to be involved in divisional planning or, at the very least, periodically apprised of the plans, and that you will have access to the succession charts and participate in the division's employee job-bidding system (otherwise you will always be surprised when an approved requisition for external hiring hits your desk). Everything—including your strategy to investing in job boards and other media to getting the word out to the development of internal sourcing capabilities—will be much easier to justify if you can leverage the goals and agreements from your SLAs. Once the divisional SLAs are in place, the checklist you may want to develop for your recruiters to use with the hiring managers could include having the recruiter review the divisional goals and the expectations they might have of staffing. Then the recruiter needs to map the successful hiring process and establish the availability of both the recruiter and hiring manager so the process will be smooth and the goals met. The second approach to changing from a passive to a proactive recruiting organization is a little more complicated. It is one thing to get ahead of the curve, get clear on performance levels for a hiring process and act more assertively by speaking to the hiring manager about what you both need to do to be successful. It is quite another thing to be even more assertive, in the face of an approval to hire, by actually consulting on the design of the job. Helping hiring managers examine just how scarce some skills are in the marketplace and then, in light of that knowledge, re-examining how traditional jobs can be redesigned requires more skills and competencies than most recruiters possess. Recruiters may be "hunters" or "farmers" in their approach to recruiting, but they are seldom hired for their skills in workforce planning or job analysis. Still, this is a future trend that won't be denied. The whole discussion of whether outsourcing, job sharing, contract, F/T, P/T or other alternative work styles are the right move strategically for a given hire would certainly bring your function in earlier and more proactively. Develop the capability in a single job family via consulting or internal education and you will see your stock rise considerably. SOURCE: Gerry Crispin & Mark Mehler, CareerXroads, Kendall Park, New Jersey, June 30, 2006. LEARN MORE: Please read The Move to Meaningful Metrics, which discusses the importance and difficulty of designing recruiting-effectiveness measures. The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.