Overcoming Talent Acquisition's Fear of Accountability

by Tim Sackett | Posted | Talent Acquisition

Overcoming Talent Acquisition\'s Fear of Accountability

"Fear makes the wolf bigger than he really is." - German proverb

One of the things I love about the fall is traveling to all the conferences and user conferences. Not because of the travel; I hate the travel. Pricey hotels, dining out bills, security line ups at the airport, and three hours spent on a flight next to a sleeping mouth breather with coffee breath... not my cup of tea. 

What I do love is meeting really awesome new HR and talent people every year. And it makes all the crappy travel worth it!

A common question about talent acquisition effectiveness

As I travel, there's one question I’m constantly asked, no matter what I'm speaking about.

It usually goes something like this: "How can we be more effective in attracting talent?"

It's a silver bullet question.

The person asking typically wants a quick and simple answer that's going to solve all of their problems.

We know it doesn't work that way, but we hope the silver bullet is out there.

In reality, each organization asking that question needs a different answer because they’re all doing things differently.

One common answer that fits almost all situations

But I will say that 90 percent of the time, even though each organization is unique, I could give one answer that would be appropriate for all.

While all talent acquisition teams measure some things, most still refuse to measure what's really important and has the most impact to their talent acquisition function.

90 percent of corporate talent acquisition functions still refuse to measure the activity that directly impacts hires in their organization: individual recruiter activity.

Why are we afraid to measure individual recruiter activity?

I think most corporate talent acquisition departments don't want to hold themselves accountable for their performance.

So, they measure stuff that doesn't really matter, such as:

  • Days to fill. Really? That's a garbage measure that's worthless.
  • Cost per hire. Again, this has little impact to the success of your function, unless you're spending millions per year using agencies to do your actual job.
  • Hiring manager satisfaction. Subjective! "Oh, Mary does great!", because Mary never pushes me out of my comfort zone, but "Deb is horrible", because she requires me to give her feedback.

Talent acquisition is a simple, measurable process

Talent acquisition is a simple little game of certain activities that lead to hires. It's a sales funnel, pure and simple.

We need candidates coming in at the top (attraction, branding, and sourcing). We need hires coming out at the bottom.

To get from top to bottom you need activity. Outgoing activities. Contacts (phone, email, text messaging, etc.). Candidate screenings. Candidates referred to hiring managers. Interviews.

It's really so simple it makes me chuckle sometimes. It's not that the work is simple; it's that the process is simple.

Is fear holding your talent acquisition team back?

Corporate talent acquisition leaders, and heads of HR as well, fear what will happen if they truly hold their teams accountable for their performance.

It's a fact. A sad fact.

The one function that speaks ad nauseum about holding employees accountable in your organization is the worst offender for not holding their own employees accountable.

The fear of what will happen is different for each leader. Some fear if they hold their team accountable, they themselves will be held accountable. Some fear their teams will leave them. Some fear they won't be liked as a leader. Some fear they'll create a mutiny and be viewed as a bad leader.

In all cases the fear is bigger than the reality.

If you really want to make your talent acquisition team more effective start measuring the individual performance and activity of your individual recruiters.

What do you think? Should your recruiters be held accountable for their performance the way others are? 

10 Strategies That Make Recruiting Easy

Learn how you can build your talent pool and candidate pipeline.


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10 Strategies That Make Recruiting Easy

Learn how you can build your talent pool and candidate pipeline.


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