I can recall leading a national recruiting team in the healthcare industry during a record-breaking year.  We had filled 5000+ positions, but in the organization’s operational performance reviews, challenges with staffing remained a topic of conversation

After many collaborative and brainstorming discussions with our sales and operations departments, we were able to identify the key areas related to recruiting that were truly performance drivers for the company.  As a result, we developed additional ways to measure and track our performance, and develop strategies that would help to achieve those goals.  We truly had to take a step back and look at how we were prioritizing our recruiting efforts in addition to what impact this would have on the business.  Our various results showed us that it’s the delicate balance between quality and quantity that can sometimes make a huge difference in the staffing process.

When a department or business unit has a staffing need, most managers typically view theirs as most important and highest priority.  However, in a world where recruiters are managing a high volume of open requisitions, and recruiting resources are limited, it’s important to give the right level of focus on each position (which means sometimes a bit more, others get a bit less). Ultimately, the requisitions that will produce the greatest impact to the business’s revenue will get more attention and focus. We have to take a step back and ask ourselves; “is the focus on the low hanging fruit”?  To further clarify, are the positions that are easier to fill getting the majority of time and resources in order to elevate the number of positions filled each month?  When this happens, we leave the vacancies that are more impactful but harder to fill lingering around with an unacceptable amount of time to fill them.

So, how do we transition to truly focus on the requisitions that will provide most impact when filled?  The first thing is to give those a higher level of priority than others.  Let’s take it a step further.

We should think about prioritizing recruiting efforts in these 3 key ways:

  1. Prioritize based on business impact driven by profitability. Are there opportunities to track missed opportunities for more revenue due to vacancies, as well as cost to leave the position vacant (This can include contractor costs and/or supplemental labor)?
  2. Which positions provide critical service or products that have significant impact when vacant?
  3. High vacancies can impact the morale of others due to increase in workload and productivity overload. These should be considered when prioritizing requisitions.

We’ve prioritized our requisitions and know which ones have the greatest impact – now what?  The majority of a recruiter’s time, as well as available tools and resources, should be focused on those requisitions that are deemed “high priority”.  Consider aligning any performance metrics and incentives at the recruiter level to filling positions with high quality talent that are considered priority positions.  If there are multiple recruiters, the priority load should be balanced across recruiters, to give these priority positions adequate focus. It can also mean having a more robust recruiting strategy for proactive recruiting in addition to ensuring there is a plethora of talent for recruiting needs.  For example, these might be the positions that you’re consistently recruiting for, even when there are not active needs (through pipelining efforts, leveraging various mechanisms to keep candidate activity coming in).    Finally, we should always manage a balance of focus on not only how we bring the talent in, but how we engage and retain top talent.  Retention efforts and diagnosing and remedying any challenges in this area may require a higher level of focus for these key positions.