You Need to Start Hiring, You Also Need to Know What That Means

When you need to fill a lot of jobs at once and you realize that even though you’ve hired someone to handle recruiting, you haven't solved the problem.
Jan 23, 2019
Matt Massucci
Matt Massucci
Founder and Managing Partner
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I remember the first outsourced recruiting engagement we took on. This was in 2010, our company had 12 people and one of our top clients asked us if we could put one of our recruiters onsite to take over their recruiting efforts. As most small companies would, we said yes, didn't ask enough questions, and dove in headfirst. Hard work and pride meant we weren’t going to fail. Nearly everyone in our company got involved and we helped a company that was notoriously terrible at hiring bring on 30 engineers in four months. Their VC firm said they had to “ramp-up their engineering team” to justify a Series C round, so the hiring was going to get even more intense over the next nine to twelve months. We tried to explain to the company that they needed to greatly ramp-up their investment in recruiting if they wanted to scale at the rate they intended in the following year. It fell on deaf ears until six months later when their new CEO hired an experienced head of HR. She quickly built a team of six to accomplish what the previous regime thought a single recruiter could handle.

Nine years later I still see plenty of companies underestimate what it takes to build a world class recruiting function. No one wants to pay search fees for all of their hires, I totally get it. But you better understand there’s no free lunch when it comes to recruiting.

If you think I’m wrong, guess how many people show up when you run a LinkedIn search on recruiters at Amazon, Facebook, Google, or any other major tech company.

  • Amazon - 1701 People
  • Facebook - 997 People
  • Google - 1400 People

That's your competition. They have more people in talent acquisition than most companies have employees. And they are sending inmails, emails or texts to your executives, engineers and sales people as we speak. Heck, they are probably recruiting your recruiter(s). But this isn’t supposed to be a horror story. It is something to keep in mind, however as you try and build the next Amazon, Facebook or Google.

Winning the Numbers Game

Recruiting has and always will be a numbers game. Look at it like this, if you’re trying to bring on 30 new clients in 2019, you’ll need to develop a sales plan to do so. And this will most likely involve a sales funnel, because more likely than not, 30 companies aren’t guaranteed to jump in the boat. Smart companies approach recruiting in the same manner: They think backwards. If you want to hire 30 people, how many interviews are your hiring managers going to have to conduct? How many phone interviews need to happen? How many resumes do your recruiters need to review?

If you aren’t tracking these things, do so. We’ve seen the numbers vary, but on average for every hire, it takes three to five interviews with a hiring manager. For every interview, it take twice as many people to do an initial screen. Your recruiter most likely needs to review three to five resumes or profiles for every person that results in an initial screen. That can mean reviewing at least 50 profiles, calling/messaging them and attempting to schedule time for an initial screen. If you are lucky enough to get interest from half of those people, that can result in 20 to 30 plus phone screens (30 minutes each). That will likely result in 10ish profiles to share with a hiring manager for an initial screen, with the hope that three to five make it through the other end of the funnel for onsite interviews. If you do everything right, all of that ought to get you one hire. Now double or triple it if you want to make two to three hires per month.
If there is a steady flow of resumes, that is all possible, but what if there isn't? 

Understanding What a Recruiter Actually Does

Amazon doesn’t have 1700 people individually doing those steps outlined above. They have a very well structured team, which is undoubtedly more complex than necessary for most companies. But the biggest takeaway is that companies break out all aspects of recruiting into individual functions and have people specialize. Let’s define a few of the roles involved in most TA departments:

  • Full-Cycle Recruiting - Someone that handles hiring from start (identifying candidates) to finish (delivering offers and getting people on-boarded) and everything in between. Recruiting is a lot of jobs in one - and a full-cycle recruiter can get bogged down fast - which is why companies hire for the next two roles...
  • Sourcing - Someone needs to proactively find those resumes. That takes a lot of time. And tools (which cost money), not to mention the experience to differentiate good from not so good. There is only so much time in the day and sourcing can often take the majority of it, especially with 3.7% unemployment. Top candidates are rarely applying to jobs and so someone needs to go out and find them  
  • Interview Scheduling / Coordination - Coordinating interviews is tedious. It's a tremendous time suck and it pulls recruiters away from what they need to be doing (vetting candidates and getting them hired). You may want to hire a coordinator to relieve some of that burden from them
  • Strategy / Leadership - If you are lucky to find a great full-cycle recruiter (someone who can handle all three of the roles above at a reasonably high volume), congratulations. But that leaves little time to proactively strategize for the future or manage others. In a perfect world your first recruiter can grow with the company and move into a leadership role. If he or she can’t, you’ll need someone that can design your recruiting strategy and manage the team

How to Ensure Your Recruiting Department Keeps Up

Okay, now that we covered all of the roles involved in recruiting, let’s dive into a few scenarios to understand how you might want to build out your team. A great recruiting function isn’t built in a day. It usually evolves over time. So smart companies need to understand where they fall on the spectrum and plan accordingly.

SCENARIO ONE: You need to make a couple of hires, not real sure of what or when

  1. What do you need? What can you pay? How challenging of a role is it?  
  2. For a small company that needs to make one to two hires, there’s no simple solution. Everyone needs to roll up their sleeves and lend a hand.  
  3. First understand what you need and what you can afford. For example, looking for for a CTO/Software Engineer to build out your app, but don't have any money to pay a competitive salary? Good luck. Not impossible, but be ready to give up a bunch of equity.  
  4. Be realistic. Hit up your networks. Hop on LinkedIn. Ask your board/investors for help. Get the word out.  
  5. If you've got more time than money, be ready in some cases to look for three plus months. Have more money and less time? Consider using a recruiter that specializes in whatever you need to hire. It won't be cheap (think 20 to 30 percent of starting salary), but you can see a bunch of candidates quickly.

SCENARIO TWO: You can confidently say you need to hire 10 plus people over the next six to twelve months

  1. Same drill, scope out the actual needs, who is going to be involved, how you are going to vet them, and who’s going to find and screen them. Are these roles that are hard to fill (sales or engineers) or will you get a solid flow of candidates through employee referrals and people applying online?
  2. The options are to do it yourself (all hands on deck), utilize search firms or potentially hire someone to do HR / Recruiting.  
  3. If you go the third route, be thoughtful about what you need out of that person. The common route is to hire an HR/Recruiter or Office Support/Recruiter. That can work in the short term, but understand that all of those roles are different.  
    • Finding someone that's an expert in HR and Recruiting is nearly impossible. Even if they are, most likely they’ll want to gravitate towards one or the other over time.
    • If the person is great at HR (but doesn't have a lot of recruiting experience), you are most likely going to have to still rely heavily on hiring managers and/or external recruiters to find candidates.
    • If you hire a great recruiter, he or she most likely knows next to nothing about HR (and can open you up to risk around employment law, benefits and overall compliance).
    • And even if you hire someone, odds are he or she will need external and internal help.

SCENARIO THREE: You need to hire 25 plus people over the next six to twelve months

  1. Okay, now you really need a plan. At this point you've got some options, but you really need to understand what you want out of your talent acquisition function. Have you hired a bunch of people before? Are you any good at it (be honest)? If not, you need some help defining your hiring process (Strategy).  
  2. You definitely need someone dedicated to recruiting, whether it’s an internal employee (internal recruiter) or an external consultant. That external consultant can be one person, or an outsourced solution.

SCENARIO FOUR: You need to hire 50 to 100 plus people over the next six to twelve months

  1. By now you should know one person can't handle this. You most likely have already started to build out your internal team and you now have a couple of things to think about...
    • Is it working?  
    • Is this just a hiring surge, or something that will continue (or grow over the next 18 to 24 months)?  
  2. If the growth feels like it isn't going to stop, you need to reevaluate your plan.  
    • Do you have the right TA/Recruiting leader in place?
    • How is the team structured?  
    • What is your budget? You are going to spend a lot (time and money) to build something that works. You may still need to rely on external partners.  
  3. You can outsource the whole thing if the hiring surge is going to end after a period of time (why build something that will go unused or need to be torn apart in a year) or if you don’t have time to build it right internally.
  4. Or you can build a great team.
    • Hiring a Head of Recruiting (salary = 120 to 180k +), hire one recruiter that specializes in a specific function (sales, tech, etc.) for every 20 to 30 hires you need to make.  
    • Augment those recruiters with a Sourcer and /or scheduler to let them focus on pure recruiting.  
  5. If you have a great team, but still need some extra bandwidth short term, consider bringing on a Contract Recruiter, Sourcer, or Coordinator to help you get over the hump (our On-Demand Recruiting offering).  

With all of that, you still may need to carve out some roles to give to search firms. The war for talent is that competitive. And expensive.

Final Thoughts

Remember, there are no silver bullets or Swiss army knives when it comes to hiring. Recruiting is hard. It's become an arms race. If you aren’t investing significant resources towards your efforts to bring in top talent, you’re company is going to struggle to keep up.

Develop a plan. Hire great people to execute on the plan. And bring in partners to fill in the gaps.

Hirewell is Your Partner to Help You Make The Best Hires for Your Organization

We’re here to provide you with the knowledge and support you need to get your recruiting started.

Matt Massucci
Matt Massucci
Founder and Managing Partner

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