Lean, Just-in-Time Recruiting!

Archive for the ‘Elite Recruiters’ Category

Recruiters – The Backbone of an Organization!

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

I’d like to share a thought I had on the road this week.  Having had the opportunity to analyze recruitment performance at over 100 health systems throughout the nation, the statement “Nurses are the backbone of the health care delivery system” often comes up. This flattering statement is well deserved!  With RNs making up 23% of our health care system’s workforce . . . nurses literally are the backbone given their dominant presence in the hallways :) !

With that said, I want to be the unofficial first person (I’m probably not but . . .) to say that “Recruiters are the backbone of each and every organization” we work for!  We are the folks that identify the talented candidates that drive our organization’s success. 

Given this fact, it amazes me that:

  • There is no degree in Recruiting (IE – Bachelor’s of Science in Business – Major: Talent Acquisition :) )
  • Many in recruiting view the position as a ‘stepping stone’ versus a ‘destination’ role.
  • Most have learned their craft thru unstructured ‘over the shoulder’, webinars, or conference learning sessions!
  • We often don’t get the credit we deserve regarding our organizations overall performance.  If we didn’t find/recruit the top talent. . . .?

So what does wearing this lofty new title mean?  

  • You need to be educated on the art & science of recruiting.  Of course I will plug our Recruiter Certification Program as a powerful structured educational program.  But, if not ours, find one and take it!
  • Be proud to be ‘the backbone of the organization’!  Recruiting, in my mind, is a destination role in an organization.
  • Remember that respect is earned!  Effective recruitment skills + strong knowledge of the business/service line you recruit for = respect from key stakeholders (hiring managers, candidates, executives, etc.)!

I hope you are having a Perfect Week.

Journey from Good to ‘Elite’ — Observations from the Road

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Over the last few months, I have met with dozens of recruitment organizations regarding their overall performance and their journey from good to ‘elite’ (either in-process or in the planning phase). 

As always, during these peak periods of heavy analysis, I have learned some interesting things and. . . . I have participated in leadership discussions that have validated many of my convictions. 

 Some interesting observations:

  • Process improvement is a journey, not a one-time event!  This thought was validated by a few organizations that have improved performance significantly in areas of responsiveness, productivity, process efficiency and customer satisfaction.  They all commented, “This has not happened over night! It has taken us a couple years to get to this point.”  

So much goes into analyzing problems, developing and implementing solutions, and then managing the change management process for all key stakeholders (recruitment team, internal/external customers, etc.).  It’s hard work to do!  It’s tough to turn critics into allies.  But it can be accomplished by those that develop a project plan and are committed to the journey.  

  • A well-balanced Scorecard is 100% essential.  I have personally facilitated a year-to-date review with senior leadership at seven respected organizations over the past month. As I compared each organization’s performance against the previous quarter, year-over-year and industry benchmarks, I was truly amazed to see how engaged senior leadership was!  The scorecard that was created for each organization provided the recruitment staff with instant credibility!  While each team may still not be perfect, they each have a solid plan of action in place. 

Here are some of the comments I heard: 

  1. “Wow, I didn’t know you were performing this well. This is great!”
  2. “Look at these metrics!  I can’t believe how much work your team has done to improve performance.”
  3. “We need to take this information and ensure that all leadership sees how well you’re doing and what you’re doing to continue to improve.”
  • Organizations don’t invest enough resources into sourcing!  Typical organizations fill 75% of their requisitions with active/internal candidates very quickly.  However, 25% stay open 100+ days.  The primary reason (outside of managing the requisition process with the hiring managers) is that not enough time is being spent sourcing to fill difficult positions. 

Our studies suggest that it takes 3, 5, even 20 hours of sourcing to identify one qualified and interested candidate for a difficult to fill position.  If the average # of candidates needed to fill a position is four (that is being conservative) then it will take 12-80 hours of just sourcing time to fill a difficult position.  As a typical corporate recruiter, how many hours do you spend sourcing?  Our research suggests the average recruiter spends just 1-3 hours per day.  Do the math!  And…we wonder why 25% of our positions remain open 100+ days! :)

I am always inspired by the organizations that, in spite of heavy workloads, shifting priorities, ornery managers :) , etc. have the passion for continuous improvement and lifelong learning!

If you are interested in embarking on a journey and/or have a story to share – - I would love to hear from you!

Another Approach to Recruitment Resource Planning!

Friday, August 5th, 2011

For those that follow us, you know we are not fans of the “Requisitions per Recruiter” formula used for recruitment resource planning.

Our reasons include:

  1. It doesn’t take into consideration hiring demand/workforce planning (IE – what types of people do you need? How many? When? ).
  2. It doesn’t factor in the amount of time to source/find candidates to fill difficult/critical/visible positions.
  3. It doesn’t factor in staffing supply chain efficiency (IE – how many applicants must be dispostioned? how many candidates must be routed to the hiring manager to fill a position)? 

Our more advanced resource planning methodology is aligned with Materials Release Planning (MRP) methodology that has been used in JIT production manufacturing environments for years. 

We wrote an article on this subject that you might want to check out .

Ultimately, we believe that you should use this methodology for recruitment resource planning BUT . . . .you must have accurate process efficiency metrics for it to be a useful tool. 

If you have those metrics, we can assist in your planning efforts. Contact us.

If you are working towards developing the systems, ATS status codes and reporting required to use this methodology :) . . . another simple solution is utilizing your Annual Recruiter Productivity Metric. 

This is a simple calculation: 

# of positions filled (internal & external) / # of recruiter FTE

In our Healthcare Recruitment Metrics Benchmark Study, the Mean productivity per recruiter was: 243 positions filled per recruiter (over 100 healthcare systems are participating)!



25th Percentile

50th Percentile

75th Percentile

Total Positions filled /Total # of FTE Recruiters






So if you know historically that a recruiter can fill 243 positions a year. And FY2012 hiring demand is 2543 positions filled.  You would need 10.46 FTE recruiters to meet hiring demand. 

Now I know this is a fairly simplistic model that doesn’t take many things into consideration (including those outlined above) BUT . . . if you do not have the metrics required to migrate to staffing supply chain model, I would encourage you to consider this method OVER “req’s per recruiter” (which I still don’t understand how it works :) ).

Have a great week

3 Tips to Deal with an Urgent Request

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

In the world of recruiting and HR, it seems that everything is portrayed as urgent requiring an immediate response, as though we’re living in a constant state of emergency! We’re under siege from a constant stream of urgent requests from internal business partners. For example, a talent acquisition manager of one of our clients recently shared that much of her time, and that of her people, was spent responding to “urgent” questions or issues from internal business partners, rather than managing the business of talent acquisition – sound familiar?

In reality, what is often labeled “urgent” simply is not. But because we live in the age of smart phones, everyone assumes we’re available 24/7.  So as we all know, people sit in meetings tapping away at their mobile devices and catch up on phone calls while walking to and from the bathroom. In some ways, technology has turned us into rapid-response junkies.

One of the most difficult aspects of this rapid-response culture is figuring out how to respond appropriately to clients and customers. On one hand, we know that our customers expect and value responsiveness, which we want to provide. On the other hand, not every request needs an instant response. In fact, doing so too often will not only reinforce the customer’s expectation of rapid-response on everything, but also might not always yield the best results.

So the next time you get that email with the little red exclamation point or the voicemail at 10 PM, try these three tips for determining how to respond:

  1. Don’t assume urgent means right now. Talk with your boss or your customer about what he/she wants to accomplish and when it’s really needed. His/her interpretation of “immediately” may be different than yours.
  2. Respond, but don’t necessarily act. Sometimes a client or colleague wants you to commit right away to a plan of action, but doesn’t need more than that in the short term. Explain what you will do and your intended timeline to be sure that meets his/her needs.
  3. Be prepared to say no. At times, you need to discern between a true crisis and a cry of wolf. Even if your customer thinks he needs it right now, it may be best to decline.

Have a great week!

Just in Time Hiring – Is It a Dream?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Building candidate pipelines to migrate towards JIT hiring has been talked about for years with little to no progress towards a solution.

From all the benchmark data I have seen (including our recent Healthcare Recruitment Benchmark Study), most organizations have time-to-fill metrics that hover between 25-90 days+ depending on the type of position they are trying to fill.   While most discussions around this topic focus on the challenges of pulling off this feat, I want to discuss some pragmatic solutions that are realistic and achievable to implement.

  • Develop a hiring forecast in advance of need – I think we are missing the boat on this one.  While everyone is working on very complex workforce planning models (I’m not saying stop doing this – - I still think this is a worthwhile activity), most every organization I know of:
    • Has a budget headcount forecast
    • Tracks employee turnover
    • Can predict (to some degree of certainty) headcount needs related to new business growth 90+ days out.
    • Can identify employees that are flight risks, on the fast track to be promoted, or about to retire

This data will allow you to predict hiring needs with a variance of say 10% +/-.  Is it perfect? No. Will it give you a road map of what you need to recruit for 90 days out. . . Heck ya!

  • Identify the resources required to develop candidate pipelines to meet hiring needs.  In manufacturing, this is called Materials Release Planning.  Based on your process (and efficiency flows, time/resources required at each step, etc.) – you can identify the resources required to meet hiring demand throughout the ‘Staffing Supply Chain’.  Richard Newsome provides a glimpse of this in his recent article.  I have been using a more complex model with recruitment organizations for years!
  • Get Leadership to hold hiring managers accountable for time to fill.  Over the last 2 months, I have performed value stream mapping exercises with 7 recruitment organizations.  On average, less than 10% of the total time to fill was ‘processing candidates’.  90% of the time was ‘wait/delay’ time between processes.  Of the wait time, over 50% was directly caused by managers (I know you are shocked with these findings) sitting on resumes, not making decisions, ‘waiting’ for a purple squirrel candidate, etc. 

If managers were/are held accountable, you can expect to reduce TTF by 30-50%.  PS – I know this idea is probably the toughest to get implemented.

  • Have dedicated sourcers for Critical/Difficult/Visible (CDV) positions – I know this is not a new concept but . . . it works :) .  Most everyone underestimates how much time (sourcing) it takes to identify and recruit for these positions (no matter how savvy you are).  I would invest in doing a pure time study to understand how much time it takes to ‘source’ a candidate for each of your critical job categories.  Then you can truly identify how many resources you need to support hiring demand (again – check out Richard’s article ).

For many of you, these are not profound ideas and/or thoughts.  For some of you, you’ve probably implemented a few of these ideas with some level of success. 

So why are most organizations struggling to migrate to a JIT hiring solution?

  • We are not managing customer expectations and/or  educating them on what is required to meet their needs JIT (what they ask for when they say I want a req. filled ‘ASAP’ or ‘Yesterday’).  Basic concepts like Production Planning and Materials Release Planning have been used in manufacturing organizations for years.  We need to adopt them.
  • We are not investing the time to work with customers to understand hiring needs.  We are not investing the time to implement Material Release Planning concepts into our Staffing Supply Chain to identify the resources required to meet hiring demand.

I don’t want to make this sound simple. But let’s not make this harder than it needs to be.  If hiring quality (quality is #1) employees in a timely fashion is very important to your organization, it is time to take control!

I would love to hear success stories from organizations that have implemented these concepts to substantially reduce lead time/TTF  without any decrease in quality or increase in cost.

I hope you are having a perfect day!

Lean Journey at Mission Health System

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

If you missed it last week, Lori Halula, Manager of Recruiting for Mission Health System, and I conducted a webinar in partnership with HealthcareSource discussing how Mission engaged Lean Human Capital to conduct a Lean, Just-In-Time transformation.

During the webinar, Lori recapped the major milestones over the last year including:

  1. How Position Manager data and Lean Human Capital’s Healthcare Recruitment Benchmark Study uncovered areas for improvement – As you may have seen from our press releases and other blog posts, we are now an integrated partner with HealthcareSource. As a part of this partnership, any client of Position Manager will now have a FREE automatic data feed from Position Manager. This feed will allow you to seamlessly participate in our benchmarking study, as well as build deeper analytics to measure your process efficiency.
  2. Creation of a new, benchmarked analytics and performance metrics scorecard – As many of you have heard from me, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. It’s also more difficult to make key decisions and manage customer expectations without objective data to drive behaviors. A metrics scorecard can lead to a continuous improvement approach that drives the desired behaviors from your key stakeholders by using factual data that is very difficult to argue with.
  3. Mission’s transition to an optimized recruiting structure including new roles & responsibilities – Early in the engagement, Mission conducted a 360 degree assessment with their recruiters where they evaluated their competencies and skills compared to other healthcare recruiters, to uncover areas for improvement. Sourcing candidates and building pipelines scored lower than other areas. Based on this data, as well as additional research, we decided to migrate the team from a generalist recruiting structure (where recruiters do everything for everyone) to a model that includes talent and sourcing specialists. In the new model, talent specialists work primarily with the candidates and hiring managers while sourcing specialists work to source candidates and build active and passive pipelines.
  4. How conducting a Lean process audit and time-value mapping of Mission’s recruitment process reduced waste – In this exercise key stakeholders were documented for each step in the process as well as the process and delay times for each step. At the end the team worked on techniques to positively impact time to fill and improve customer service.
  5. How Mission implemented Service Level Agreements to better manage the hiring manager relationship and expectations – Lori shared their experience about how hiring managers can negatively impact time to fill by delaying the movement of candidates through the hiring process. By putting in place service level agreements, Mission has created greater accountability for hiring managers as well as recruiters.

Mission’s ROI since going live has positively impacted time to fill, reducing it from 48 days (2010) to 42 days (2011)! We look forward to seeing more improvements over time.

If you have interest in hearing the entire presentation, here is the link to the recorded webinar: Mission Health System’s Lean Journey Webinar.

We are excited to have Lori participate in our Advanced Metrics pre-conference workshop on Tuesday July 12th at NACHR’s Annual Image conference! If you would like more information about this workshop, please contact us.

I would also encourage you to participate in our Healthcare Recruitment Benchmark Study. For more information, please contact us.

I hope you’re having a great week!

Lean, JIT Transformation – Simply Brilliant ideas!

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

If you missed NAHCR’s webinar last week, Miranda Maynard (Employment Supervisor for EMH Healthcare) updated us on their Lean, JIT transformation initiative of 2011. 

It was an excellent ‘case study’ of what a continuous improvement journey is all about.

  • Incremental improvement over time can provide exponential returns.
  • Innovation doesn’t have to be rocket science. The best solutions are often simple which make them brilliant.

Some of the Simply Brilliant solutions EMH is implementing include:  

Capturing accurate Metrics – To migrate to a Management by Fact/Data Culture:

  • Eliminating “Other” and “EMH Career Site” as options for a candidate to choose for source of hire.  This has helped identify where top candidates are coming from to further develop cost effective sourcing strategies.
  • Recognizing that a sharp increase in TTF was a result of closing requisitions that have been open for a long period (a positive thing)!

Eliminating unqualified applicant flow – To spend Quality time with Quality Candidates:

  • Implemented pre-screen “Knock-out” questions prior to candidates applying for a particular position (most organizations implement these questions as part of the application process).
  • Implemented a behavioral-based online assessment (HealthcareSource’s Test source).

Make Time to Fill Service Level Agreements public and hold Managers accountable for achieving them:

  • Holding managers accountable for a 40-day Time to Fill metric ensures they are engaged in process. Currently evaluating  adding this SLA to their performance evaluation in 2011. 

Define/separate processes for ‘Business as Usual’ vs. ‘Critical/Difficult/Visible’ positions:

  • Immediate recognition of CDV positions and elimination of the time and cost associated with the “wait & see”/”post & pray” process.

We are excited to have Miranda participate in our Advanced Metrics pre-conference workshop on Tuesday July 12th at NACHR’s Annual Image conference!  If you would like more information about this workshop, please contact us.

I hope you’re having a great week!

‘Two cents’ from the road

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

As I have mentioned in the past, I am one lucky “recruiting guy” because I get to interact with talented recruitment professionals throughout the world on a daily basis. 

With our Solution engagement, I also get to become a ‘teammate’ of many recruitment organizations!  With our Benchmark Study, I have intimate interaction with many, many more!

This unique opportunity always provides me with many thoughts/observations/insights! 

Some  recent “Lean, JIT ‘Elite’ Recruitment Thoughts” from the road:

Discipline, sense of urgency, and self-direction are a few of the most important ELITE recruiter competencies you can possess.

  • The busier you get, the more time you need to plan your perfect day. If you are not planning at least 30 minutes a day . . . I bet you are 10-50% less productive than those that do!
  • You can plan all you want but . . . if you are not “true to your schedule”, if you do not commit to crossing off your TO DOs (ETFs, MTNs), starting/stopping meetings ON TIME, etc., IT IS WORTHLESS!

Trust is also very important.  If your hiring managers don’t TRUST that:

  • You understand their business
  • You have an eye for the talent they want/need
  • You know how to find top talent
  • They will continue to:
    • Ask to see all resumes before setting up interviews
    • Always want to “see more”
    • Not listen to your salary/offer recommendations, etc.
  • To earn trust, you must learn their business by attending staff meetings, learning from employees/candidates AND become an expert at performing intake sessions and setting SLAs

A strong ability to solicit interest is equally important.  With technology, social media, it is much easier to FIND passive candidates . . . but still very difficult to SOLICIT THEIR INTEREST.

While there are many facets to recruiting, if you:

  • Are able to plan for, and execute more Perfect Days (with passion :) )
  • Have earned the trust of your hiring managers via knowledge and engaging/executing flawless intake/SLA sessions.
  • Have mastered the ability to engage and recruit top talent.

You are pretty darn ‘elite’ in my book!

My ‘two cents’ from the road . . . Please share any of your ‘two cents’ from the field!  :)

I hope you have (or had) a good spring break!

Hiring Manager Intake Sessions: Poll Results

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

One of our recent polls asked:  “Do you meet in person with your hiring managers to qualify a new open requisition (IE – Intake Session)?”

The results of our poll confirm that we’re seeing a positive trend with more and more organizations migrating towards “best in class” methods of managing their hiring managers.

“Do you meet in person with your hiring managers to qualify a new open requisition (IE – Intake Session)?”

40%:   Yes – 100% of time. It is the most important step in the staffing process. 

42%:   Most of the time – if not, I schedule a meeting via the phone to perform the intake session.

5%:     Sometimes – if we don’t meet, they send me the position description. 

7%:    Rarely – they send me information on the position and/or input into our ATS system.

6%:    Never – my managers expect me to know what they are looking for!

82% of respondents conduct an intake session with hiring managers.  A critical step in the management of any consultative relationship is the ability to establish a strong foundation to the partnership (yes, you’re the recruiting consultant to your hiring manager!). 

This starts when consultants engage with clients in the initial intake session. 

Intake Session = Foundation:  If you have a good intake session then you have a strong foundation to build a relationship! A good intake session is not only about uncovering the basic wants and needs of your hiring manager but it will allow you to explore the position in great detail as well, including:

  • Why is the position open?
  • What are the top 3-5 key objectives for someone in this position?
  • What are the challenges a person will face in this position?
  • How is performance measured?
  • What is your hiring manager’s style/personality/culture?
  • Sourcing strategy questions
  • Who are some of your top performers that I could network with?
  • What are the selling points of the position?
  • What “knock out” questions do you suggest I use?

I hope you are including some of these questions in your intake sessions!  Remember, a well conducted intake session goes a long way to assure that your position will be filled by the best possible candidate and in as little time as possible!

Engaging Quality, Active Candidates – All About Timing & Your Message!

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Question: Ever wonder how many recruiters are logged into Monster/CareerBuilder at any given time?
Answer : Hundreds of thousands!

Question: Ever wonder how many “hits” a quality candidate gets (in the first 48 hours)  from recruiters after posting their resume online
Answer: 20-100 + +

Synopsis:  While there are talented, active job seekers out there (contrary to what some “experts” might say), the competition for them can be as fierce as it is for those elusive “passive” candidates!

The minute a talented professional posts their resume, you can bet there are hundreds of recruiters, sourcers, competition, etc. ready to pounce on them!  So what can you do to ensure you are making contact with the top job seekers?

Some practical advice on Harvesting Quality, Active Candidates:


Since quality talent will get 20-100+ hits from recruiters within 48 hours, it is critical to be identifying talent as they ‘hit the boards’.

Some tips:

  • Set up automated search agents to drive candidates to you (NOTE: A key to this is ensuring you have the right key words set up to harvest talent effectively.  If you don’t have the right key words, you will miss talent).
  • Don’t rely on your search agent (NOTE: comment on keywords above).  Each morning before 8 am (when your competition is getting in), review all resumes posted during the last 24 hours.  Again, your ability to develop key word search strings that will identify all the potential candidates will be your key to success. If you want more info on this subject, contact me.
  • Lastly, MAKE CONTACT WITH THEM. I know many recruiters who have search agents to drive candidate flow to them but. . . only get to them on a weekly basis.   

These tactics will probably ensure that you are one of the top 5, 10 recruiters that are contacting them which is very important. 

Think about it. If you just posted your resume online, what would you be feeling when you started getting responses? Probably pretty excited eh? How about the 83rd response from a recruiter? Maybe annoyed?


Your Message:

Regardless whether a candidate is active/passive/unemployed . . . TOP TALENT IS IN DEMAND! 

So what is your value proposition? Why would they want to talk to you? How is your message different from all the others?

As many of you know, the Art & Science of Engaging Top Talent has been a passion of mine for years.  I spend a lot of time working with recruitment teams on perfecting this skill.

Some simple advice:

  • Make sure your message is short, compelling and to the point (100 words or less).
  • Make sure it answers the questions roaming through the candidates mind: “So What?” and “What’s in it for me?”

For more insight, check out this blog post I wrote on the subject.

Remember there are definitely talented active job seekers out there.  But . . . you are not the only one trying to recruit them!

Ensuring you are one of the first recruiters to contact them with a compelling message and . . . the probability of engaging them will go up exponentially!