The Novo Blog

What To Do About “The Talent Paradox”

Posted by: Cindy Lu, CEO on June 25, 2012

The challenges facing HR and recruiting professionals are significantly different today than they were just a few years ago.   According to a recent report by Deloitte Consulting, we are in the middle of what they call “the talent paradox.”  This means that the there is an abundance of willing workers but a shortage of people with the necessary and desired skills.

Novo’s recent survey of over 1,000 HR leaders corroborates Deloitte’s trends.  The Novo Group’s 2012 HR & Recruiting Trends Survey found that 78% of HR leaders surveyed said finding top talent was their number one challenge. Not surprisingly 69% of executive leaders Deloitte surveyed reported they plan to increase recruitment efforts of experienced hires—the highest recruitment level for any group.

If finding top talent is important to your company, you have to take a proactive approach to recruitment. To do that, it’s critical to make an honest assessment of your recruiting model and resources to see if they are set up for success.

Here are a few key steps to consider when designing a highly effective and efficient recruitment model.

Rethink workload allocation. Most companies assign their internal recruiting or HR staff far too many positions to fill. In our experience, a good recruiter–especially one focusing on key positions–can only handle from three to 15 positions at any given time, but we see many companies expecting their recruiters to work on 50 or more positions at a time. Faced with an overwhelming workload, it’s not surprising that many recruiters default to “post and pray” and hope for the best.

To structure a recruiter’s workload, we recommend using activity-based costing principles to weigh the variables involved. Considerations include the number of searches required, the complexity of the requirements, the relative availability of the desired skill set, the number of hiring managers involved, and the geography of the search.

The demands of passive recruiting are intense. It takes considerable time to cultivate relationships, from identifying a likely candidate to making contact through call-backs to building rapport and trust over time. Allocate several hours per week per search–and unless your recruiters have enough time and capacity to do their jobs the right way, they will struggle to reach top candidates

Divide and conquer. Many companies would do well to follow the example of Google, a company that reportedly intends to double its workforce in the coming years. Google recruitment personnel are divided into skill-based segments that handle different elements of the recruiting process. Among the separate functions that might be appropriate for a smaller company are research, sourcing, phone interviewing, and internal client management. Rather than expecting one person to handle all elements of the candidate development process, identify the different strengths on your team and assign aspects of the workload accordingly. Don’t expect one recruiter to be highly proficient at every touch point in the hiring process.

Follow the 10/100 rule. Allot more time to fill mission-critical positions that drive the company’s top line. In our experience, it takes about 100 names to produce one hire for a key position and may take up to 10 hours a week dedicated to the task. The good news is that the majority of your hires are not for key positions. So stratifying how your recruitment resources are deployed can help you stretch a limited budget.

Pipeline now, or pay later. Organizations need to allocate time to developing relationships with potential candidates for mission-critical roles–above and beyond the time spent filling active positions. Set metrics for the number of proactive interviews to be conducted each week, for example, and document the time spent. Make it a priority for the department and for the company–convince hiring managers to set aside time each week to speak with potential candidates. That way, when it comes time for a critical hire, you will have candidates in the pipeline and not have to spend the time (and money) to conduct a complex search from scratch.

In today’s ever changing world, the game of recruiting is constantly evolving. Companies must be proactive and take control of their recruitment process to obtain top talent. Get your recruiting process in shape now to position your company for future successes.