Most corporate recruiting teams still rely on requisition-based hiring. In most cases this means they focus on recruiting for openings as they arise using whatever recruiting channels yield the “right” talent readily available. Unfortunately their processes don’t typically yield the best talent as quickly as needed, leaving operational teams frustrated with the results.
The solution is to have a pipeline of talent at the ready when a new position arises.
Unfortunately, few organizations have clearly defined their pipeline expectations for recruiters. Therefore it becomes an afterthought of recruiters, leaving more pressing, current openings as their priority. What’s left is a mish-mash of pipeline talent that may or may not align with business needs.
This is not the fault of lazy recruiters. Most I know are genuinely hard-working professionals who want to do a good job. What emerges is a management problem.
Proposal — Depth Chart
Instead of recruiting using open requisitions, why not recruit using an expectation of talent needs of the organization? Most companies know at least 80 percent of the positions they will be encountering in a given year — by position type and location. This is where managing to a depth chart for your talent pipeline becomes more important than recruiting against open positions. In our organization we have clearly defined the number of active pipeline candidates for each skill set needed, creating a depth chart.
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For example, a small hospital may typically hire 50 nurses a year. It may not know exactly when in the year, but this has been the historical trend. As a result, the recruiting team should have 3-4 times this number of nurses actively engaged in conversations at any one time. On a monthly basis the team should have 150-200 nurses it is talking to. If 20 of those nurses take a new job that month, then the team is accountable for recruiting 20 more to add to the depth chart. Of course, the 20 who took jobs should move onto another tracking device (like a talent network you push out monthly email communications to). The same holds true for low volume positions, like a CFO. While this position may only open up every two to four years, the team should be engaging three or four interested candidates at any given time. In all cases, the key is for recruiters to have established relationships with candidates prior to a position opening up. This builds trust with candidates and makes filling openings easier when they arise.
From a tracking perspective, the shift moves away from an “open-positions report” to a “depth-chart-of-talent report,” where open positions become less important and a solid talent pipeline becomes the measure of success.
Once fully implemented, a few things occur. At the most basic, the recruiting process will be much more streamlined for your hiring managers. They’ll learn to trust that their recruiting partner will deliver talent quickly and painlessly. More deeply, the recruiting team will start providing market intelligence to your operations team since they are talking with so many candidates. Lastly, the recruiting team will be able to avoid many of the fire drills that occur with last-minute emergency needs — and I’m sure we’d all be happier to work fewer nights and Saturdays.