The Undervaluing of Recruiting

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Jul 18, 2022
This article is part of a series called Strategy Safari.

Recruiters sometimes feel like they are separated from the rest of the organization.

Yes, they work with hiring managers to identify hiring needs. And the really good recruiters are fully attuned to their customers, acting as advisors as talent needs arise. 

But what about everything else — benefits, titling, salary ranges, even methodology? How much can recruiters really influence the business’ value proposition? 

The answer is: a lot.

Recruiters are in a rare position to be the conduit of real-time, real-world data about the talent market. They discover what candidates are truly looking for in an organization. They gauge salary expectations. They hear the word on the street about any news that may have broken about a company. They know if candidates care about an organization’s stance on a particular issue. 

Recruiters also know how candidates react to what they’re hearing during the interview process, and whether the processes or methodology the business is using attracts or repels potential hires. (Ask a software developer what they think when they find out a business is strictly waterfall…or when they hear how Agile is “customized” to fit deadlines.) 

On the other side of the equation, recruiters are often the single best source of information for candidates. Yes, a well-designed careers page and an informed hiring manager are vital components of the candidate experience. But recruiters are those first contacts who establish a relationship with candidates. They make the initial pitch during the sourcing call. They answer those first questions about the role, the culture, the manager. A recruiter can make or break a candidate’s interest in a position.

Unfortunately, recruiters are often treated as a transactional resource, noticed only when the time-to-fill metric starts to slip or when hiring managers [insert recruiting meme here]. As the talent market continues to fluctuate, organizations need to be more nimble in meeting the expectations of candidates — and the best way to do that is to leverage recruiting.

There are three steps that recruiters should helps businesses take right now to make the most of the recruiting function in bolstering the employee value proposition:

Collaboration. At a minimum, leaders from recruiting should meet regularly with total rewards to gauge sentiment in the marketplace. It’s important for benefits people to understand why candidates are not interested in a role and why offers are turned down so that they can act on this information. This regular meeting would also allow recruiters to learn about the total rewards philosophy, enabling them to speak more confidently (and accurately) about how the organization views financial, mental, social, and physical well-being.

Technology. Recruiters gather a lot of information from candidates…and often have nowhere to track it. Sometimes the data ends up on a personal spreadsheet, but all too often it lives only in a recruiters head.

To gather actionable data, recruiters need to be able to both enter and report on what they hear from candidates. If you have an ATS, a CRM, or both, work to identify fields that would help track information your organization needs to make good decisions. This could be reasons for offer rejection with details, themes heard about the company, concerns the candidate had during the interview process — whatever might influence ways to attract and retain candidates. 

Analyze and act. Data without analysis helps no one. Regular reporting and analysis of trends is vital to be able to move quickly. Salary expectations and market averages fluctuate based on industry and location — usually much more quickly than surveys would indicate. It’s possible that compensation leaders might recommend a temporary adjustment to ranges in order to hire in-demand candidates. 

Additionally, benefit packages are evolving as more and more organizations focus on the whole person, and changing plans and offerings takes time. Analyzing trends means being able to adjust strategy in time to enact it for the next annual enrollment period. And if a business unit keeps sabotaging its own hiring process because of their chosen methodology, having hard data from candidates sharing why they decided not to move forward might help move the needle on those practices.

Recruiting is often the scapegoat for all the organization’s issues. It’s time to flip the script and see recruiting as an underutilized resource, one that not only helps hire new employees but helps shape the way organizations think about their value proposition now and in the future. 

This article is part of a series called Strategy Safari.
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