Lean, Just-in-Time Recruiting!

Archive for the ‘Talent Aquisition’ 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.

Are You a Fan of Video Interviewing?

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Last week I was interviewed by HealthcareSource regarding my thoughts on video interviewing.

I have to say that overall, I am a big fan of video interviewing (and Interview Manager® :) ) for a variety of reasons including: 

  • Interviewing ‘out of market’ candidates – - Why wouldn’t you have a dynamic video interview prior to bringing someone in? It is good for both parties to ‘meet’ in a two-dimensional format to see if it makes sense to move forward and the cost savings (versus just a phone view prior to flying a candidate in) are HUGE!!!
  • It allows managers to review and compare candidates.  This is a really cool feature!
  • The entry portal can provide a really professional candidate experience including the ability to provide video links, etc.
  • Remote managers can participate in the interview – - saving time/money for all parties.
  • Candidates that do not have a video camera get one FOR FREE!  So those folks that you might think are ‘technology phobic’ (because they don’t have a camera) . . . can see how easy it is to use :) .
  • Helps drive a Lean, efficient staffing process!

One of my clients commented “If I could just get more candidate to meet with my managers, they would get excited about our facility, location, and job opportunity.  But I often can’t get them to fly in to visit us!”  What a wonderful, risk free way to engage both parties to explore and see if there is a mutual interest!?

One candidate commented that video interviewing can also set a positive tone about how leading edge the organization is regarding technology (a good thing!). “If HR is using new technology . . . I bet the entire facility is!”   

I have another client starting to implement a video interview platform for all entry level campus hiring.  This is a great way to consistently evaluate candidates in a market segment used to using technology.  Of course this platform probably isn’t the right tool for your non-exempt hires. 

For many situations, video interviewing makes perfect sense to me!  But, I’m curious what you folks think.  Please provide us with your input by responding to the polls below.  I will publish the results of what you’re thinking next 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!

Compelling Time to Fill (TTF) data — It can be misleading

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

In a recent blogcast, (Time to Fill – Are You Managing A Key Metric You Are Measured On?), we discuss how time to fill can be misleading and . . . not a good indicator of hiring manager satisfaction and overall “responsiveness” to the truly critical hiring needs of the organization.

While most organizations might be able to track TTF by job category, they only report the overall average to key stakeholders. Unfortunately, this statistic becomes a “blended” rate of all positions regardless of priority, cost of vacancy, criticality to organization, difficulty to fill, etc.

And if an organization is not structured to truly support priority, critical to fill, or difficult to fill positions, there often is a big gap with respect to TTF between what we call Business As Usual Req’s – (AKA – BAU’s – repetitive positions that most often are filled by active, internal or referral candidates) and  priority/critical/difficult to fill ones. 

Some very intriguing data from one of our healthcare clients illustrates this point.

While there overall TTF for Q2 was 33 days (very, very good especially compared to our benchmark median of 41 days.

  • 300 positions were filled in an average of 23 days
  • While 49 positions took on average 89 days to fill!

This provokes the questions:

  • Do you have the right organizational structure to support BAU and priority/critical/difficult to fill positions?
  • Do you have the right process to support these distinctly different types of positions?
  • Do you have the right resources to effectively screen through the active pool of candidates while proactively sourcing top talent not found in those circles?

If you haven’t done so recently, I would slice your TTF data by BAU and priority/critical/difficult to fill categories and analyze how well you are performing. 

If your data is similar to the organization outlined above, then seek to develop strategies, processes, etc. to improve timeliness on the positions most critical to your organization!

I hope you’re having a good week. 

Value Stream Mapping — Eye Opening Exercise!

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Over the last two weeks, I have facilitated Value Stream Mapping exercises (a Lean Principle) with two recruitment organizations.  If you have not participated in one of these before (a Lean Principle), the goal is to analyze a process (in this case, the recruitment/hiring process) and identify:

  • Process Time (AKA – Value Added Time)
  • Delay Time (AKA – Non value added Time)

Examples of processing time would be performing an intake session and/or phone interview, i.e., the time you spend actually processing the “candidate”.  Wait time examples include waiting for candidates to call you back from an interview, waiting for a background check to clear or the most popular – - waiting for a manager to make a decision on interviewing a candidate, making an offer, etc.!

When you go through this tedious process (it is really tedious but . . . well worth the effort), it is amazing how little time we spend processing candidates and how much time we spend WAITING.

For this one particular healthcare organization, their average time to fill is pretty darn good for their hiring volume (38 days). As we analyzed their process using the value stream mapping methodology we found:

  • Total Process time – Low end: 8.5 hours – High end: 3.83 days (most of the difference was associated with sourcing for difficult to fill positions).
  • Total Delay time – Low end: 12.33 days – High end: 195 days!  (this was mostly attributed to difficulty in finding quality candidates, hiring managers not making a decision, relocation issues, etc.)
  • Average Lead time (Process + Delay time) = 38 days (start to acceptance)

Once we identified current state process and delay times for each step, the team started to come up with solutions to eliminate waste. It was amazing to hear some of the easy to implement, no cost solutions they identified! 

Whenever I facilitate this exercise, I am amazed at:

  • How much wait time “waste” is in our staffing process?
  • How we can, through a simple exercise, identify no/low cost waste to reduce wait time and ultimately . . . Time to Fill.
  • How much we often focus on the processes for “improvement” rather than eliminating waste for improvement.

If you would like more information about how we can assist your team in performing a value stream mapping exercise on your staffing process and share some best practices, let us know.

If you haven’t done this, and/or haven’t done one in a while, it is a worthwhile exercise as we prepare for 2011.

Hope you are having a good day!

Data Integrity — It is all about Education, Accountability and Visibility

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

As most of you know, we have just concluded a Healthcare Recruitment Metrics Benchmark Study highlighting key metrics relevant to a Lean, Just-in-Time recruitment strategy.  As expected, since many of the key data points relied on humans to enter and validate the data, most of the participants struggled to reconcile and validate that their data was accurate.   Those challenged by data integrity (or lack thereof), spent countless hours auditing the data to ensure it was accurate.

Of course the only way to ‘nip this issue in the bud’ is to ensure that the data is accurate at the transactional level, hence the often used IT cliché – - Garbage in, Garbage out! 

While I know this is not a profound revelation, why do most organizations still struggle to capture accurate recruitment metrics?

From my experience, the root of the issue is three-fold:

  1. Educational – Key staff members must understand the importance of capturing accurate data and what POSITIVE things result from ensuring the data is accurate.  It is only when you answer the question – What is in it for me? – that you typically start to see improvements in data integrity.  Some of the POSITIVE results of capturing clean data:
    • Enables the organization to develop performance improvement initiatives to save their organization time, money, and allow the teams to get more done in LESS TIME.
    • Allows the team to be able to quantify the ROI of their services to the organization.  Makes us look good! :)
    • Quantifies the amount of work they actually perform!   
  1. Accountability – While I like to point out the POSITIVE reasons of capturing clean data, at the end of the day the recruiters need to be held accountable and measured on their ability to perform this task.  I recommend that recruiters do a quarterly ‘self-analysis’ by reviewing their own data/metrics.  Holding them accountable to this activity is a great way to clean up your data at the source!  Some of the best in class organizations we work with instill an “audit” at the requisition close stage – before a req is closed, the recruiter goes back to ensure that all data is entered accurately in the system. 
  2. Visibility – I am a big believer in making your metrics “public”.  All your customers should see your overall team metrics (have trend charts posted in a visible area in your office).  All recruiter metrics should be public to the recruitment team.  Typically the only folks that do not like to make their metrics public are . . . the ones that are not producing or don’t have clean data!

If you are struggling to capture clean data, I would make sure your team understands why it’s important and put a system in place to ensure accuracy. From experience working with our clients, you will see immediate improvements in data during the first 90 days!

I hope you have a good “back to school” week!

Recently Published Study Indicates Hiring to Pick Up to Pre-Recession Levels — Are you ready?

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Just over half of large, recently downsized U.S. companies plan to boost staffing and reach pre-recession levels by 2012, according to Accenture’s recent High Performance Workforce Study.  The survey included 674 senior executives worldwide from companies with revenue of more than $250 million.

Investment in hiring for the U.S. based companies is expected to increase from 24 percent today to 37 percent within the next 12 months.  The study also found that only 13 percent of executives said that they plan to reduce their employee base over the next 12 months. 

Yet as we all know, the planned growth won’t come easily. If a hiring ‘boom’ is imminent, highly skilled workers will come at a premium again as companies seek to grow.

The focus would soon shift from cost reduction to proactive staffing resource planning required to address spikes in hiring needs.   

Questions you might ask to decipher if you are in for a hiring boom:

  • Does your company have a strong balance sheet with cash to invest in a growth strategy?
  • Is your workforce already stretched thin?
  • Are you using contractors to supplement fulltime staff to get the work done today?
  • If there was a hiring “spike”, do you have the resources to get the job done?

If you answered YES to the first three questions and NO to the last, then it probably is time to start to develop a contingency plan in the event it DOES happen!

Be realistic but THINK POSITIVE about the future!  Most important, be prepared.

I hope you enjoy the last few weeks of the summer.

Getting through the Dog Days of Summer . . . HAVE SOME FUN!

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

In my 17 years as a recruitment coach/mentor, I have found that the beginning of August usually brings with it a common case of “Recruiter’s Rut.”   Many of us drag ourselves into work on Monday after a long weekend of fun in the sun wishing we were still outside playing!  We wake up realizing that the summer is almost over after it just began!  We start to wonder “Where has it gone?” 

In addition, the reality starts to set in that the year is 60% complete and . . . there is still a lot to accomplish!

It is at this point you can wallow in self pity or . . . inject some fun and passion back into your recruitment day!

I first wrote about “Recruiter’s Rut” back in 2002!  I have personally seen this infectious ‘disease’ rip through entire recruitment departments with ease.  The best cure is to gather your peers and develop a strategy to fight it.

Some ideas?

Well, since at the end of the day, each and every recruiter is measured on their ability to identify and recruit top talent for their organization . . .  fun contests centered around generating quality candidate flow is always a great cure!

Recently, our sister organization implemented a contest for August that might help you to steer clear of ‘Recruiter’s Rut’.

  • They are holding three sourcing call blitz sessions each day (from 7:30 to 8:30, 11-12, and 4-5).  These times were carefully selected as times that they had the best opportunity of getting someone live on the phone.
  • These are ‘optional’ sessions for all recruiters recognizing there are other activities that might prohibit you from attending all of them.
  • For each session, they are tracking:
    • Number of dials
    • Number of appointments set
    • Number of “live” conversations   
  • Points are awarded as follows:
    • 10 points: For attending a call blitz session  
    • 25 points: For a candidate submitted to hiring manager from the call blitz
    • 50 points: For a Hiring Manager Interview
    • 75 points: For an offer
    • 100 pints: For a hire

In just the first week, we have seen more productivity, a spike in activity and . . . a little mojo back into the day.

Another fun contest you might deploy is the Recruiter Decathlon .

Even the most motivated, passionate recruiters I know (including me) sometimes need some assistance getting through the dog days of summer.  If you feel Recruiter’s Rut settling in with you and/or your team . . . inject some fun back into the day!

Time, Tenure and Trust

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

We have recently published our first annual Healthcare Recruitment Benchmark study. A core piece of the study was measuring/benchmarking key process efficiency metrics of the staffing supply chain.

Through this initiative, we found the average Route to Hire Efficiency Metric to be 6.7 to 1.

That is, it takes 6.7 candidates routed to the hiring manager to achieve 1 hire.  While this actually is pretty darn efficient compared to studies we have done in other industries, Best in Class organizations (representing the average of the top 25%) Route to Hire Efficiency was 2.48 to 1! 

Basically, the Elite, efficient organizations required half as many candidates (routed) to get 1 hire! 

Or course there are/were many things they did differently to develop a Lean, efficient staffing process, but something all systems had in common was this concept of Time, Tenure and Trust.

  1. Time – All Elite organizations spend a considerable amount of time on:
    • The intake session with the hiring manager. They made sure they clearly understood the need, how to market the opportunity; define clear service levels for service, etc.
    • The pre-screen process. Whether they used an automated assessment tool and/or some combination of phone interview, they spent enough time with the candidate to ensure they were someone that was worthy of consideration and should be interviewed by the hiring manager.
    • Discussing candidates with managers and proactively setting interviews.

While all these steps might seem obvious to some experienced recruiters, many recruiters/organizations still struggle to INVEST the time required in these three steps.  The usual results include routing too many candidates to managers that they in return reject to be interviewed/considered.   This is clearly evident in that the average Route to Hiring Manager efficiency was 43% while the Elite organizations efficiency was 80%!

  1. Tenure – Most Elite firms agreed that they had many ‘tenured’ recruiters on staff that had built rapport with their hiring managers, taken the time to understand the business unit they supported, etc.  All firms agreed that you can overcome short tenure by investing the time in the three steps above.
  2. Trust – Elite recruiters have the trust of the hiring managers and they respect them as staffing consultants. 
    • They interview the candidates the recruiters send rather than scrutinize!
    • They ask for their opinion when deciding on making an offer (or not).
    • They respect their input on compensation discussions.

While I don’t want to over simplify how the Elite organizations have become hyper efficient, I don’t want to lose the forest through the trees either!  Time invested up front can quickly turn a non-tenured recruiter into a staffing consultant that garners a ton of TRUST FROM their hiring managers. 

Some food for thought on a Wednesday!

PS – If you are a healthcare organization that wants more information on our Healthcare Recruitment Benchmark Study, please contact us!

‘Elite’ Recruiter Assessment Results!

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Thanks to all those folks that participated in our ‘Elite’ Recruiter self assessment!  We have just reached the 1500 participants mark! 

For those of you who have not participated, please do so.

For those that have participated, you can check out the results to date.

After reviewing the results, one skill/attribute score that caught my eye was:  

  • Acts as a trusted advisor to a candidate and articulates the career opportunity with your organization when negotiating salary offers.
    • To date, folks have rated themselves a 2.97 (out of 5). 

Over the years, I have written many blog posts on this topic including:

Don’t forget the reason we talked in the first place

What every recruiter can learn from spaghetti sauce

I know you were not looking, but you listened

52 reasons why someone should join your organization

So as you connect with candidates this week, I want you to reflect and make sure you are able to identify 2-4 non-monetary “motives” for which a candidate would leave their current position. 

If you haven’t had this conversation with them, there is a high probability that if/when you make an offer they will do one of the following:

  1. Take a competing offer from a firm that does know their motives and can articulate how their company can meet them.
  2. Stay where they are. Since it is easier to stay put than venture to new, unknown challenges.
  3. Walk away simply because you don’t have enough “ammo” to “close the deal”.
  4. Lure you into negotiating ‘monetary’ motives like salary, bonuses, vacation, etc.  All the things you DON’T want to negotiate!

Remember, once you decide you like a candidate, it’s your job to help them understand how this move will benefit their career long term based on what they’ve told you about their career goals and aspirations. Not only do candidates have to sell themselves on the idea that your job could be a good move for their career; they also have to “sell” it to family and friends. The more you can do to help the candidate see how this position fits in with their career aspirations, the easier it becomes for the candidate to do the same.

Some food for thought after a long memorial day weekend!

I hope you have a perfect day!   


In a recent post, “You know you are an Elite Recruiter if . . . .”, we shared some attributes we believe Elite recruiters possess.  We thought we would share other folks thoughts on this topic! If you have others – - please share

  • Your clients take you with them from company to company when they advance their own careers!Patti Yaritz
  • You know that you are an elite recruiter if former candidates/new hires seek out your advice unsolicited and without your follow-up. Some of the most rewarding pat-on-the-back compliments I have ever received have come from new hires contacting me after I have left a company. – Thomas Bolt
  • You are included on emails from the SVP of HR to members of the internal recruiting team with comments like…”Team, let’s make this happen”. – Sandra McCartt   
  • An elite recruiter is willing to share his/her knowledge with junior recruiters and is willing to mentor them to success. – Chuck Clevenger
  • An Elite recruiter gives back to the community by volunteering to freely help people in their job searches. An elite recruiter is known for his/her pro bono work.  – Chuck Clevenger
  • An elite recruiter has the ability to advise and influence HR and Hiring Managers in regards to job specifications and compensation based on their knowledge of the local/national marketplace and talent pool – Dan Helpka
  • Candidates you once turned down, turn up 1 & 2 years later, successfully compete for jobs they now can do having gained the knowledge, skills and experience you advised them to get. – Gerry Crispin
  • More students are graduating from local high schools inspired by your efforts and more of them are looking to aspire to a college degree. – Gerry Crispin
  • More college students are inspired to major in areas that will drive company performance, innovation and collaborative culture. – Gerry Crispin
  • Company alumns send you leads of high performing prospects who they believe will benefit your firm and grow in the bargain. – Gerry Crispin
  • You are a local pro-bono pay-it-forward support of time and advice to One-Stop employment centers, community organizations offering employment counseling and resource limited health care organizations is lifting the brand image of your entire community and increasingly attracting candidates who previously wouldn’t relocate. – Gerry Crispin
  • You are dedicated to assuring that their quality referrals and hires include diversity. You don’t have to be told by hiring management, “We want to see some diverse candidates in the mix.” You bring it and wow even those hiring teams who didn’t expect, didn’t want it, and didn’t ask for it. – Valentino Martinez
  • You help build an elite TEAM! – Julie Rehbein
  • The C-level in your company gives you a call when it wants to add “impact level” talent and believes you can find it. – Mat Apodaca