Recruiting Operations

Strategy to Execution

As a discipline, operations is concerned with planning, organizations and supervising the production and delivery of an organization’s products and services. A major function of everyday management, quality operations ensures that a business runs efficiently and effectively. 

Taking this mindset and applying it to recruitment makes for a strong, measurable competitive advantage – when executed properly. That last point is crucial because while many recruiting teams have amazing strategies, in theory, a general failure to execute hinders their success. Overcoming this challenge requires going back to basics with logistics and operations to realize and unlock their potential more fully. But achieving this is easier said than done. 

Operations Management 101 

In most cases, inefficiencies happen when recruiting teams grow, and new processes take hold. Here, previously aligned efforts become disparate, and the whole talent acquisition lifecycle becomes every recruiter for themselves, instead of working together. It’s bound to happen and isn’t any one person’s fault per se, but rather the nature of expansion. However, being people who hire people for a living, we should, ideally, know what growth means to our practice. 

If and when this occurs, you have a few options. The organization could bring in someone who specializes in recruitment operations to take hold of the situation and re-map the processes. Or, in a case where this isn’t an option, it can take on the task itself and manage the undertaking from start to finish. Yes, this may sound like a project management issue, but really, recruitment should be under the auspices of full-on operations. It’s never a one and done situation, requiring long-term, repetitive output, which is the very definition of operations management

We know this because of today’s job market, wherein some 51 percent of recruiters are recruiting all year, even for jobs that aren’t even vacant yet. And while this may not be the new normal forever, it is for the foreseeable future, prompting the need for a more operational approach. 

Coordinating Coordination 

Of course, implementing recruitment operations where it did not previously exist requires more than merely bringing in outside help or re-evaluating what’s happening internally. It’s a journey, one that necessities dedicated time and resources, as well as coordination on the part of your recruitment stakeholders (including leadership!). Because by getting everyone involved, you’re able to solicit feedback across teams and departments at the outset. 

From there, you have to dig into what’s happening at each stage of the recruiting process and determine where you’re losing efficiency. Whether that’s a lack of time to source or unpredictable hiring managers asking to see additional candidates even after a few rounds of interviews, identify when and where information gets lost or delayed, as well as where recruiters are duplicating the same work. It’s happening somewhere (otherwise you wouldn’t be running through this) and you need to pinpoint every issue and address each impact on cost, quality and speed of hiring. The data is there, and this is your opportunity to leverage it beyond basic reporting. 

Once you have the numbers, go over the results collectively to redefine workflows and requirements to match your recruiting team to the process. There’s no benefit to having senior recruiters processing applicants, provided the work is getting done along the way. 

Agreeing to Agree 

Having completed the assessment phase, it’s time to implement recruitment operations as an ongoing initiative. You’re seeking to realize the strategy and innovation that fell to the wayside, by setting achievable goals based on your top priorities at this moment, striving to be increasingly agile as needs change in the future. That’s a lot to take on, against your team’s no doubt hefty workload. So to achieve this, you’re going to have to contract with stakeholders and leadership again and apprise them of what your recruitment operations approach looks like going forward. 

There will likely be additional negotiations and adjustments that take place, factoring in costs and budgets, changing technologies and your organization’s goals. But with any luck and a whole lot of patience, this will shore up those processes that were falling through the cracks before, and help build alignment and agreement between recruiters and hiring managers. And at the very least, will set a new precedent for what recruiting intends to do, as a newly oiled operational machine. 

Until recently, recruitment operations functioned as a vaguely nebulous resource that may or may not apply to individual use cases. However, as we approach the future of work and recruiting takes on more considerable responsibility for the viability and success of the organization, we’re going to look to recruitment operations to shine a light on our capabilities and help guide the way. Whether you choose to find a well-established professional or home grow your methodology, recruitment operations bring structure and rigor back into the process when it’s needed most, and that spells the difference between ineffective versus effective outcomes.  

Editor note: Want to learn more?  Check out our library of webinars at RecruitingWebinars.

Ryan Leary

Ryan Leary helps create the processes, ideas and innovation that drives RecruitingDaily. He’s our in-house expert for anything related to sourcing, tools or technology. A lead generation and brand buzz building machine, he has built superior funnel systems for some of the industries top HR Tech and Recruitment brands. He is a veteran to the online community and a partner here at RecruitingDaily.