Here are a few questions I ask recruiters. In my experience, only a handful of them could answer the questions with any degree of confidence. Some could answer two or three of them if they did some digging. But, most could not answer any of them at all?or show anyone the proof. Can you answer these questions?
- How many of the people who you sourced and hired over the past year are still at your company?
- Why did those who left leave?
- Who are the best performers of those you hired?
- How is “best performance” defined?
- Where did you source the best and the worse performers?
Yet, knowing this kind of stuff is what will make you a better recruiter and what will help make your managers respect you and listen to you. Imagine if you could give your hiring managers a profile of what the most successful new hires in your company have accomplished versus those who were not so successful. Imagine how much more quickly you could find good candidates because you could hone in on the best sources and not waste time on ineffective sources. Here are some tips on how to start gathering the data you need to answer these questions:
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- Keep a database of everyone you talk to, interview, refer, or hire. This database should be a living thing, changing daily and being updated with new information all the time. If you work in a firm that has an applicant tracking system, use it religiously and make sure you investigate all its features for capturing data. These will serve you well as you become more sophisticated in your use of the data. If you work in an organization without an applicant tracking system, develop one of your own using Excel spreadsheets or a personal information manager (PIM) of some sort. There are hundreds available. The bottom line is to keep this information?even if it’s on paper in files. After all, that’s the way we used to do it.
- Ask everyone you speak with how they found you or if they saw any advertising or information about the position or firm you work for. Be diligent in asking this all the time and then include that information in your database. Be sure you track Internet resumes by following up to find out where they saw the job posting (if this isn’t already a part of the data that comes with the resume). Tracking the source of candidates is the only way you will be able to narrow down where you place ads or post job descriptions. But, by narrowing down the number, you will save money and become far more successful.
- Let the hiring managers know where the candidates came from. Stress the importance of the source of candidates and try to encourage managers to suggest sources that might work and then report back to them on the success of their recommendation. This simple activity between you and the hiring manager will broaden your knowledge of potentially useful sources and develop the manager as an active partner.
- Be sure you are tied into the exit interview process. Either conduct these interviews yourself or get on the list to be informed of who left and get a copy of any exit interview. If your organization doesn’t do them, figure out if you could offer that service or encourage them to start. Getting this data and comparing it against the source of hire may seem like a big job, yet it will pay you big dividends. You will sharpen your skills at listening for signs in candidates that are warning you they may not be the best person for a position. If you have enough good data, you can show your hiring manager and get her to be a part of the process as well. If people have already left without interviews, call them up and say how much you would like to stay in touch and perhaps help them again someday. This will build bridges and encourage some to return eventually, and it will grow your talent pool and relationships.
- Talk with HR and find out how good performance is defined. If they have a boilerplate process (i.e. useless), then work with the hiring managers to define success criteria for each job you are recruiting for. Measure the recent hires against those criteria and then match the best against the source to see if there are patterns.
What you are doing in all of these steps is building knowledge and developing relationships with both hiring managers and employees. You are also doing something that will continuously build your credibility and show that you know how to effectively use data to make good business decisions.