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Recruiter's Pay Structure Needs to Change! It's Not Right. It's Not Logical...

Why can't recruiters be measured like Sales Development Reps?

As a CMO, I’ve been extremely fortunate for the experiences to which I’ve been exposed and endured. I’ve built and executed successful and non-successful growth strategies for B2B and B2C companies, and consequently acquired a universe of learning along the way.

One of my most important insights is the notion of “measurement and success”, more specifically “what to measure and when”.

When planning any initiative I’d ask the team:
what is our final goal and what are the correct KPI’s to monitor to ensure we’re on track to reaching that goal”.

I learned to be ruthless. To be ruthless in defining a strict Goal and KPI measurement system, one which is supported by a parallel reward plan for each team function.

This way each team function is incentivized to focus on, and deliver on, their specific KPI’s.

If each is met, we hit the goal.

Makes sense right that everyone should be incentivizing their team members to meet specific KPI’s, KPI's which are under their respective control? Wrong! This is simply not the case in recruitment.

When I entered the Talent Acquisition world I could not believe what I was hearing. The fact that there is still so much disarray in the hiring process all fit into place.

The process of "Hiring" is by nature complex, because you are dealing with people and endless variables: skills and experience needed for the job, fit with the team, whims of the hiring manager, salary expectations and budgets, and the candidates’ desires and competing job opportunities.

It's absurd!
When I meet talent acquisition leaders, I often ask them how they measure their team. I am also curious to know how they reward them, because reward and acknowledgement together drive behavior. I am often surprised with the lack of clarity about talent acquisition KPIs and reward.

Having spoke with over 200 VP's in the recruitment space, I find that the most popular KPIs used by employers are “time to hire” and “cost per hire”. Whereas these could be considered as high level departmental based GOALS, are these really the most important KPIs by which to measure the recruiters?

I would like to return to the fundamentals of what a Key Performance Indicator is. It's an indicator towards future performance. More specifically an indicator of the performance of each step toward achieving a greater goal.

Within this definition each team member is responsible for an individual steps of the process and is evaluated based on his/her performance in this steps, rather than the outcome of greater goal.

The job of recruiters, and the KPI by which they should be measured, is to put forward talent they perceive to be "final candidate material".

There are just too many other variables and processes outside of their control between the time which they put forth candidates and the signing of a new hire for them to be evaluated solely on the later.

Recruiters and Sales people are very similar. For both, their level of activity is a great predictor of future success. They both play a numbers game. But high activity is not enough. Salespeople need to focus their efforts on qualified sales prospects, otherwise they are wasting time and fall short of their goals. Same with recruiters. If they interview unqualified candidates, they are unlikely to be successful in sending "final candidate material" that will eventually be hired.

We differentiate between sourcing and recruiting just like we differentiate between marketing and sales.

In the B-B world, which ever way you spin it, the Marketing function is designed to deliver sales leads. Such leads are typically qualified by Sales Development Reps (SDR's) who tend to sit within the marketing team and determine whether the leads are marketing qualified (MQL) and then if they are sales qualified (SQL). Only if the lead is sales qualified it is transferred to salespeople for further sales activity.

We draw a very similar parallel to what we see in sourcing and recruiting.

The resume review process is designed to determine whether the candidate is worthy of an interview with a recruiter (an MQL) and then the initial screening interview is designed to determine whether the candidate is worthy of an interview with the Hiring Manager (an SQL). Both functions performed by and solely at the discretion the recruiter.

Now, sales development reps (SDRs) are measured and compensated based on their ability to deliver qualified sales calls to the salespeople, with prospects who meet specific criteria.

And...Salespeople are, in turn, measured by the number and/or value of deals they close.

But sourcers or recruiters on the other hand are not typically measured or compensated by the number of qualified interviews they set for recruiters or Hiring Managers. They are typically measured by time to hire or number of hires. This would be like measuring the marketing people by time to sell or like measuring SDRs by number contracts signed. How can they be measured by something on which they have such little control or impact?!
The deal progress and close is controlled, for the most part, by the Sales person.

So following this thought pattern, how can recruiters be measured by hires when so many things can go wrong between the interview and the hire, something which has little to do with the quality of the candidates sourced and is far beyond the recruiter's immediate control.

Post the initial approval of the talent by the Hiring Manager, the major contributors to the talent accepting the position are, for the most part, inspired by the Hiring Manager and his team.

And what if they screw up? Late in scheduling an interview, rescheduling interviews, having a bad hair day, delay's in following up? Why should you the recruiter be punished!!!

You did you work - hunted, engaged, qualified and forwarded interested talent to the hiring manager. The hiring manager has thumbed up your choices. So the rest is in their control. Out of your hands.

Every qualified candidate which is approved by the Hiring Manager following initial assessment should celebrated as an achievement of the recruiter and rewarded accordingly.

The recruiters function is to build a pipeline of qualified interested candidates. This is the recruiter KPI and therefore should rewarded and compensated accordingly. And not solely upon candidate acceptance which involves 100's of  additional steps beyond their immediate control, spanning a 60-90 day process on average.

Time for change maybe?


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