Lean, Just-in-Time Recruiting!

Archive for the ‘Recruiter Training’ 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.

How Does Your Email Look on a Prospect’s Phone!?

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Given the fact that a majority of people:

  • Don’t pick up the phone unless they recognize the phone # (myself included :( ).
  • Are addicted to their mobile media device (aka – smart phone)!

I would bet a good majority of your candidate prospects are receiving your “first contact” on their smart phone while at their desk, sitting in a meeting, at the coffee shop, etc. 

During a session on Monday, I received a great question from Ryan that honestly . . . I haven’t spent a ton of time researching.

“When sending an “Attention Grabber” email (Crafting and Delivering an “Attention Grabber”), how does it look when it is displayed on your mobile phone?”

My colleague (and our self-proclaimed resident “recruiting geek”), Mike McLean, had some excellent advice that I thought I would share with you all:

That is a great question. Having a uniform email that will display exactly the same on all smart phones would be extremely difficult (due to personal configurations, overrides, system setup/parameters, etc.). But there are a few things you can do to ensure that your emails will look the same to as many folks as possible: 

  1. Write all of your emails in Arial.  Arial is the default font for most applications and most people don’t change their settings off of it.   The 2nd most popular is Tahoma but not as many applications use it as a default.
  2. Compose your emails in Rich Text Format (also known as RTF) or HTML not text. RTF is the most common language used in word processing software so this will cause the least amount of issues.  If you are sending an email as HTML it is being sent just as it would present/look on a Webpage whereas if using RTF your email would look the same whether it was an email, word doc or webpage etc.  This means that an email in RTF is less likely to have its formatting changed when being read on different formats.
  3. Always send a test email to yourself and check it on your phone as well.

If you have any other great advice to share on this topic, please let me know!

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!

Should You Keep Hiring Managers Waiting?

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

I read the Harvard Business Review www.hbr.org as often as I can.  We apply many of their concepts here at Lean.  This recent article caught my eye.  It ties in nicely to the approach we take with Hiring Managers regarding Service Level Agreements.

“Think Customers Hate Waiting?

How often have you found yourself staring at your computer screen as a progress bar tracks the machine’s fitful loading of an application or completion of a search and wondered, “What’s taking so long?” Good managers worry about wait time because a great deal of evidence (not to mention common sense) suggests that reducing it can increase customer satisfaction. Our research, however, demonstrates that a different approach — simply showing people what is taking so long — gets better results. Customers find waiting more tolerable when they can see the work being done on their behalf — and they tend to value the service more.

This holds true even when what’s shown is merely the appearance of effort. What we term the labor illusion — a demonstration of effort, whether literal or not, expended to meet the customer’s request — can be so effective, in fact, that many customers who endure waits but see a running tally of tasks end up happier than those who don’t have to wait at all. People even prefer waiting with the labor illusion to playing an interactive game of tic-tac-toe.

In one experiment we conducted, participants searched on a simulated travel Web site for a flight. Some watched the typical boring progress bar. Others could see each airline being canvassed. The second service received higher ratings, even when those using it were forced to wait for as long as a minute. In another experiment, each participant booked the same trip through two different sites and received identical results. One site delivered the results instantly but invisibly, whereas the other took either 30 or 60 seconds but showed the labor being done. A majority preferred the transparent — and slower — site.

Many of us have already experienced the labor illusion online: The travel Web site Kayak, for example, shows customers each airline it searches. We’ll increasingly encounter it in other environments as well. Apple recently augmented its automated voice response system with the prerecorded sound of typing, creating the impression that the digital operator is physically keying in the caller’s query. ATMs at the Spanish bank BBVA show an animation of bills being counted as customers wait for the machines to spit out their cash. The U.S. Postal Service has installed screens that show customers each step being taken by the postal worker who is helping them. Starbucks now requires that baristas steam milk for each drink individually — a process that increases wait time but allows customers to see what’s going on.

Transparency has long been heralded as a virtue in accounting and public relations. Our research suggests that operations can reap important bottom-line benefits from it as well.”

As we’ve discussed in our previous posts on Managing your Hiring Managers  and Mission Health System’s Lean Journey using a Service Level Agreement can improve customer satisfaction by communicating a number of actions that are occurring during the recruiting life cycle. 

Most relevant to Hiring Managers is communication about what is happening at each stage of the lifecycle and how much time each step usually takes.  The Service Level Agreement will outline this to both parties.  Hiring Managers will know, for instance, that in the first 10 days of a requisition being opened, Recruiting is sourcing and screening resumes to then forward along to them. 

If Recruiting is using SLA’s often enough Hiring Managers become aware of what’s taking place, and by whom, at any given time in the process. The relationship between Hiring Manager and Recruiting immediately improves  simply because they know there is effort taking place on their behalf, even if Hiring Managers cannot physically see it!

If you’d like to learn more about Service Level Agreements and how you can apply them to your organization please contact us.

Have a great week!

Overall Average Time to Fill Metric – Does it Really Capture What is Going on?

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

One of the most compelling things we identified from our inaugural Healthcare Recruitment Benchmark Study was related to time to fill (TTF).  We first reported on this back in November, 2010.

The data clearly demonstrated that average TTF does not represent what is actually going on with respect to staffing performance.  

For most organizations, it showed that roughly 75-80% of the positions were being filled very quickly (20-30 days) while the other 20-25% of the positions were being filled in 90-100+ days! 


Recruitment organizations are designed (and excel) at filling what we call “business as usual” req’s with internal/referral/active candidates.  However, they struggle to fill “critical/difficult/visible” req’s that typically require a more proactive, aggressive sourcing strategy (targeting passive candidates). 

Based on these findings, we added the following TTF related questions to our study:

  • Number of positions filled in less than 60 days
  • Ave TTF for positions filled in less than 60 days
  • Number of positions filled in 60 or more days
  • Ave TTF for positions filled in 60 or more days

Of our Benchmark Study respondents so far, the data continues to support what we initially found:

  • % of positions filled in less than 60 days:  73%
  • Ave TTF for positions filled in less than 60 days:  23 days
  • % of positions filled in 60 days or more:  27%
  • Ave TTF for positions filled in 60 days or more:  113 days

If you do not currently measure TTF thru this lens, we encourage you to do so!

It will help you:

  • Understand how you’re currently performing with respect to time
  • Provide clarity around staffing/sourcing priorities
  • Provide guidance around developing a staffing model that will help you reduce TTF for critical/difficult/visible positions.

If you’re interested in participating in our Healthcare Recruitment Benchmark Study please contact us.

I hope you’re having a perfect day!

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!

The 80/20 Rule

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Author: Karen Antrim – Lean Human Capital  

Years ago, my boss said to me “this place has too much of the 80/20 rule.”  “80/20 rule?” I asked.  “It’s when 80 percent of the work gets done by 20 percent of the people.” he answered.

In my real life, when I’m not sourcing or teaching sourcing, I’m a mom.  I volunteer at my kids school, at our church, and for little league.   I often observe the 80/20 there.  You’ve probably noticed this in your real life too.  80 percent of the work is done by 20 percent of the parents.

Weekly, I read about a new tool, technique or process that is going to change the way we source.  Or, I get an email for a class on how to improve and write better Boolean strings to find resumes or lists on the net.  I’m all for constant learning and constant improvement.  It’s the mantra our firm is based on.  However, I work for recruiters who have very little time and a mountain of openings to fill.  So my ability to get them accurate prospective candidates in a short time is a priority.  My sourcing techniques must provide the biggest return for the effort.  They must adhere to the “80/20 rule”.

The principle applies to recruiters who do their own sourcing. They have even less time for each activity in the recruitment process without a sourcing staff to assist them.  The “80/20 rule” should become a guiding principle.

Simply put, the 80/20 rule is how to get 80% of your candidates with 20% of the tools and processes of sourcing.

Let’s take some specific examples.  We all know that Linkedin.com has the largest community of profiles of any social professional network.  If you have time constraints on your recruitment process, why use any other network?  Get 80% of your prospects, build 80% of your network, start 80% of your conversations in LinkedIn.

Here is an inverse example.  I understand the appeal of long and sexy Boolean search strings.  As a Boolean geek, I dig‘em.  But as a person who must be pragmatic in her practices, they do not return enough bang for the buck.  They don’t adhere to the 80/20 rule.  For example, the popular string (Intitle:resume OR inurl:resume OR intitle:cv OR inurl:CV  OR etc..) generally finds resumes that have been posted on a personal website or perhaps a university faculty bio. There just isn’t a large population of these out there.  One can spend a great deal of time playing with keywords in this string and not get a large return for their time investment.  This is an example of the 20/80 rule.  20% return on 80% of the investment.

Pick your top 3-5 successful sourcing activities, and stick with those.  Mine are:

  1. Site command to harvest linkedin.com
  2. Subscription resume database such as Monster
  3. My ATS
  4. Finding associations and membership lists
  5. Target companies to raid with call campaign

As a recruiter, you may change out #4 for working your own existing network.

Regardless of whether you’re a recruiter doing your own sourcing, or a sourcer supporting recruiters, putting 20% of your time in these activities will produce 80% of your prospect list.  That leaves a whole lot of time for other tasks, such as candidate interaction, building your network, or branding yourself and your organization.

Happy Sourcing!

2011 Recruiting Trends

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

As many of us begin to wrap up the first quarter of 2011, I’d like to explore some of the trends that we’re seeing and how they may affect the remainder of the recruiting year. 

Heightened Focus on Employee Engagement

As the economy continues to recover this will be an interesting indicator to watch.  Employee Engagement and retention were two of the biggest concerns for HR professionals in 2010, according to a survey conducted by Human Resource Executive magazine, and will continue to be in the year ahead.  Based on 2010 survey data of employees from HR Solutions, only 27 percent of employees are ‘Actively Engaged.’  The remaining 73 percent is divided between ‘Ambivalent’ employees (60 percent) and ‘Actively Disengaged’ employees (13 percent).  To address this issue, organizations are utilizing their most Actively Engaged employees as mentors to motivate and re-energize their disenchanted peers.  According to the 2010 HRE survey of 802 HR Executives, 48% of participants responded neutral when asked about the current state of Employee Morale/Engagement at their organization. Such ambivalence has lead more organizations to increasingly focus on the results of their annual satisfaction surveys.  This has included conducting break out focus groups or additional surveys to address engagement.

Voluntary Attrition Increases Dramatically

Most employers have been concerned about this for some time, as the past few years may not have been kind to their employees with regard to pay freezes, lack of bonuses, and increased workloads.  The importance of retaining employees, especially high performers and those in critical roles is paramount.  According to Harris Interactive, 54 percent of employees plan on looking for a new job once the economy improves. In an effort to thwart this, one trend we’re starting to see is the formation of strategic retention plans that go beyond just focusing on traditional compensation, to include professional development, career pathing and succession planning.

Jury’s Still Out on Social Media, LinkedIn becomes More Dominant

While we still haven’t seen strong ROI from the use of social media, organizations are still “dipping their toe” in its use.  Within our client base we’re seeing little success with the usage of Facebook & Twitter beyond simple brand recognition efforts.  But, we expect that over time these mediums will become more important once the mysterious ROI equation is solved and there are strong success stories as a result of their use. LinkedIn has continued to be the dominant player in the social media recruiting space but we expect to see even more pronounced usage this year. Our clients are adopting its usage at a more rapid pace and beginning to see the results from its use.  The primary driver of return for LinkedIn seems to be finding enough time to use it.  If you have enough time you’ll see the return. 

We’ll continue to add to this list as we see more trends develop to keep you informed.