Create A Strategic Partnership To End The Hiring Process Tug Of War


Talent acquisition and recruiting, which focus on one of any company’s most strategic assets — the people — need a strategic focus. A startling number of organizations lack exactly this.

Talent acquisition management and teams are always under pressure. They have KPIs to meet and quality of hires to worry about. On the other side, hiring managers have a need for qualified resources to maintain and grow their teams. They come to the talent acquisition team with urgent requests, but also have their own tasks keeping them busy. This is normal; after all, their focus is to deliver on their projects, products and services in the optimal way (that is, quicker, better and cheaper).

To put it in perspective, hiring managers are trying to build a better car, while they are already driving their current car, which needs an upgrade ASAP. Often, recruiting is “just another task” they need to do, and it takes away from their main focus.

Hiring managers want to hire to maintain their teams, and replace outgoing or underperforming members. They need to grow their teams, since the workloads have increased. They need diverse employees who bring in newer, stronger ideas and concepts to the teams. With a dedicated talent acquisition team, there are more hands and minds on deck to get a project finished on time and as expected.

What happens in most scenarios is that the recruiting team gets a position from the hiring managers with a generic job description. Once the manager starts meeting with candidates, it becomes clear that the manager wants a different skill set than the stock description was able to specify. And because of their busy schedules, when the recruiting team finds a great candidate, the hiring managers aren’t always able to move fast on the interviews or to quickly provide feedback on the resume. Finally, they interview a candidate who is a great fit. Time restrictions can delay making the phone call, and the candidate is no longer available, as he or she has already received an offer from someone else. Then the whole process has to be restarted.

This very common process is an invaluable time and opportunity loss for everyone. In my many years of talent acquisition and recruiting, I have seen this countless times.

It is apparent that there is a critical need for human resource leaders who can be strategic partners in talent acquisition. There needs to be a well-defined process, with measurable KPIs in place that hold all parties accountable for getting the right talent on board. This applies to talent management staff, HR leaders and hiring managers, too. Each is an important part of the process, and with every step along the way, each member needs to take ownership of his or her respective responsibilities.

My firm’s experience has led to the creation of a framework that makes recruiting a strategic partnership. At each step in the process, there need to be qualifiers that help estimate the criticality of the role, and also help define KPIs for success.

1. Determine the urgency of the hire.

Based on whether it’s a backfill, new growth or a replacement, the level of commitment and time needed from the team is defined.

2. Create a KPI around the commitment.

Once it has been ensured that the given role is critical, HR and talent acquisition teams have a right to ask for and expect an equal commitment from the hiring teams, so they have equal skin in the game. For example, stipulate that every Friday at 10 a.m., the hiring team meets to review progress and allocates enough time to work closely with the HR teams. After each meeting, a report needs to be prepared and shared, which should include relevant analysis with as many valid KPIs as required. Some of those metrics include:

• Number of incoming candidate applications.

• Candidates contacted (active hiring efforts).

• Total interested candidates.

• Candidates phone interviewed.

• Candidates called for in-person interviews.

• Detailed feedback received.

A study of the above report should give a fair idea about the bottlenecks and which part of the team needs to ramp up. The level of urgency and criticality ought to be reflected in the efforts and commitment from all sides.

3. Evaluate the need for additional resources.

If there is a consistent trend of low KPI’s, teams will know where there is a need for some ongoing training and strategic mindset changes.

The recruiting team is now in a position to show data to hiring managers and executive management to support the value they deliver, and also clarify ways to enhance talent acquisition by ensuring all the cogs are working smoothly.

4. Analyze reports and strategize for future hires.

A proper analysis of these ongoing reports helps everyone pinpoint the steps that ensure successful hires, and also identify primary reasons why a certain role (or set of roles) are consistently difficult. The reasons could be one or multiple of the following:

• Imbalanced supply-demand ratios.

• Compensation mismatch.

• Geographical limitations.

• Skills availability.

• Competitive forces.

• Brand reputation and outlook.

Once the reason has been identified, companies can resolve it accordingly.

By having a process such as this, the involved team(s) across the company can learn to work together strategically to get the role filled within a reasonable time, with optimal efforts. This can be consistently done, and based on our experience, a time range of three to five weeks, on average, is achievable.

As an additional benefit, the HR and talent acquisition departments, having fulfilled thought leadership roles, can help improve the relations with the hiring management team, giving all parties involved the attention and respect deserved.

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