Which Recruiting Goal is More Important?
The answer depends your needs at the time for the position, however this article will identify the main priorities and how they can be prioritized throughout the search process. As a talent acquisition or HR professional, there are usually three major priorities in filling each open requisition. Inevitably, there will be times during the search when the three priorities will conflict and you will have to make tough choices. In each case, we have received better results by consulting with the hiring managers on the order of priorities initially, as well as throughout the process.
I can remember vividly a case where a client stressed one priority at the beginning of the project. After some time passed, though, it became clear that another priority had taken the front seat. By the time we were able to ascertain the client's most recent priority, they had already engaged an additional resource on the search. Asking about these priorities is now an essential part of our process.
With this in mind, I highly recommend to determine the order of the three major priorities with the hiring manager. Find out which one is 1st, 2nd and 3rd, then continue to confirm the priorities at certain milestones. This will prevent conducting a search in a way that doesn't serve the hiring manager's or organization's goal:
You might say, "I want all three!" (Who doesn't?)
The problem is that by maximizing on one of the objectives means sacrificing on one or both of the other two.
Time to Fill (TTF)
In order to reduce the time to fill, either the cost per hire or best available talent must take a back seat to some degree. If time to fill is the most important metric, the firm must suspend most passive recruiting in favor of advertising to the 20-25% that are actively considering new opportunities. This means that attention should be spent on:
Optimized career site job postings
Cross posting the job on other job boards
Job advertisement including pay per click and pay per application
Recruitment agencies can help speed up the process
Below are the four most common types of agencies in existence today, you can find out more about how they differ and the advantages of each in the article entitled, "What are some key differences in types of healthcare recruiters?"
Recruitment process enhancement (RPE) - Relationship based / Lower CPH
Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) - Relationship based / Lower CPH
Contingency recruitment - Transactional based / Higher CPH
Retained search recruitment - Transactional based / Higher CPH
Best Available Talent (BAT)
Many firms pick from the candidate(s) who apply for the position and do not actively seek passive candidates which make up 75-85% of the total candidate pool. The reason is because the quest for the best available talent overall will take longer than selecting the best of available applicants.
Reaching out to passive candidates, as well as receiving responses from them, takes considerably longer because they are not as quick to respond as active candidates. Oftentimes they also need to be convinced that your firm's offering is better than the one they currently enjoy or any other offers they are considering. This takes more time than filtering through active applicants.
Cost Per Hire (CPH)
In this case, spend most of the budget on a great career site and applicant tracking system (ATS). Then position the job postings in the best possible way in order to maximize results. The job aggregators will pick up your jobs and supply some traffic. Most of the organic (unpaid advertising) candidate traffic will rely on the firm's reputation as an employer of choice.
If the main goal is to reduce the cost per hire, be prepared to either take longer to fill the job or limit the search to a smaller pool of candidates. In order to cast a wider net and still reduce the cost per hire, a firm can use recruitment process enhancement services or RPE (recruiting as a service) to supplement talent acquisition efforts by offering their services on a monthly subscription or hourly flat rate. This saves a tremendous amount compared to paying placement fees that are based on each hire. Active candidates may miss the posting altogether if the offering is not positioned in the best way. This is because only about 10-15% will take the time to visit more than one job board or job search engine each week. Studies have shown that another 10-15% may only periodically check certain resources.
Questions to help confirm the priority given
Best Available Talent (BAT) - Based on the information I have, it should take about xx to xx days to be able to properly identify the best candidate available in the entire candidate pool (including both active and passive candidates). Does this work, or would you consider ways to reduce the timeframe further? If the answer is yes, let them know that reducing it would likely involve either limiting the candidate pool, increasing the budget to fill this position, or a combination of both. If they focus more on limiting the pool than adjusting the budget, you can discern that the order is: BAT, CPH, TTF
Time to Fill (TTF) - Since it sounds like filling the job quickly is of the highest priority, I can limit the search to only applicants, I can also reduce the TTF further by opening this up to outside assistance, or I can do a combination of both. How much $$ would you be willing to allocate to this particular search? If they are willing to limit the search, however, aren't willing to allocate more budget, you can discern that the order is: 1. TTF, 2. CPH, and 3. BAT.
Cost per Hire (CPH) - Based on current resources, and the applicant traffic we have received recently without advertising, I anticipate that it will take xx to xx days to identify the winning candidate. Since we want to save as much money/resources as possible in filling this position, would you rather me limit the pool of candidates to active applicants in order to shorten the timeframe, or would you rather that we extend the timeframe as needed to match the amount of time it takes to find the best candidate? If the hiring manager is willing to limit the pool of candidates, you can discern that the order of priority is: 1. CPH, 2. TTF, & 3. BAT.
It is recommended to give the hiring manager a report of what work has been done:
How many candidates have been successfully contacted about the position.
Responses, both positive and negative.
Methods used to communicate the offering.
The amount of time the search has been open.
This will allow for an open and frank discussion on how to adjust moving forward. "Should we adjust the budget, the timeframe, or the pool of candidates?" is an ongoing discussion to be addressed with the hiring manager throughout the search process if the desired goal is not being met.
I would love to hear your feedback and/or personal experience as a hiring manager, recruiter and/or HR professional. For more great tips on the talent acquisition process, please check out my new book.