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The Importance of Recruiter Agility: No matter what the hiring climate

Hiring strategies can change on a knife-edge due to many external and internal conditions. From market trends and economic uncertainty to altered business objectives, recruiting functions need to be able to pivot quickly and effectively. And if we’ve learned anything from the last few years of instability, it’s that agility forms the backbone of this. 

No matter if you’re in a moment of increased requisition volume or there’s a slow-down, an agile hiring process can meet these different challenges head on and optimize performance. When things ramp-up, it’s about being organized, structured, and efficient with your time and approach to ensure quality candidates are hired quickly. But when it quietens down, recruiters need to look inwards and focus primarily on foundation building so they can hit the ground running when hiring picks up.  

Recruiter agility

There is no one-size-fits-all method and different size teams and companies all impact this. But there are some best-practice tips and ideas that recruiters and TA leaders can follow to help bring some order to the chaos!

Why is recruiter agility so important?

According to Forbes, since the pandemic, “the performance of entire organizations often hinges on whether they can adapt to fast-paced change.” And as hiring is one of the most immediate functions impacted by change, it’s crucial for recruiters to demonstrate and embody agile working methods.

Having the ability to scale up a process, or scale it down, without increasing or decreasing recruiter headcount ensures that no matter what the hiring environment looks like, your TA team is equipped and enabled to succeed. Gartner has even found that adopting an agile approach to recruiting can lead to a 31% increase in productivity.

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So what can agility look like for recruiters?

  • Streamlining recruiting processes.
  • Setting clear prioritization metrics.
  • Building efficient feedback loops.
  • An ability to redeploy resources based on current business needs.
  • Understanding talent trends.
  • Using data to make fast, actionable decisions.
  • Mapping internal talent.
  • Optimizing tech and embracing innovation.

But it’s not an everything all at once situation. These are best practices to embed  into your recruiting function, and depending on the challenges arising or particular external/internal factors, you can lean into some processes more.

Recruiter agility

Recruiter agility when hiring volumes are low

There was a tendency in the past to believe that during periods of hiring slowdowns or pauses, the TA machine would simply just stop – but this isn’t the case anymore. So much of successful, modern recruiting involves optimization, research, and relationship building. But there’s a glaring problem with this – recruiters rarely have time to leverage these actions!

So when hiring isn’t an immediate priority and your recruiting teams aren’t inundated with vacancies or frantically sourcing critical talent, it’s an incredible opportunity to build and maintain a strong hiring foundation. By focusing on key areas of your hiring strategy now, you set yourself up for success in the future.

Here are some fundamental activities:

1. Talent and Hiring Manager Engagement

Just because you’re not hiring now, doesn’t mean you won’t be down the line. And it’s never been more important to keep your talent pipeline engaged and informed. Build relationships and connections with potential future candidates and identify where and how this talent operates. And it’s also a great opportunity to sync with your hiring managers too. Get to know their departments and their needs. Arm yourself with the information you can use to make great hires when the uptick happens.

2. Efficiency Building

Hiring processes can be plagued by inefficiencies, and they can be so costly. In a world where time is as precious a resource as money, finding ways to move candidates from outreach to offer with as little resistance as possible is vital. So use this breathing space to identify and remedy any moments of friction you’ve encountered. Look at your communication style – is it clear and simple? Is the application form straight-forward? Is there any tech you’ve been dying to engage that could free up resources?

3. Candidate Experience

It’s an area that can so easily be overlooked during periods of intense hiring, but is also one of the most important. In our current market, positive candidate experience can be the difference-maker for talent. But like with most things, it changes – recruiters have to keep on the pulse of what candidates want. So perhaps now is the time to upskill? Or encourage your hiring managers to undertake some interviewer training so you can all deliver a unified, world-class experience for your candidates.

4. Innovate and Transform

A low-volume hiring period is the perfect time to invest in some blue-sky thinking. In the same way that efficiency planning can help in the long run when it comes to recruitment, so too can innovation. In his course on TA Transformation on the SocialTalent platform, HelloFresh’s Yasar Ahmad says that: “allowing room for innovation will drive morale through the roof. When morale is high, productivity is high.” It’s hard to make changes and iterate when the wheels are turning, so use quieter periods to your advantage.

Recruiter agility when hiring volumes are high

A report by Deloitte found that 84% of companies consider workforce agility to be important to their success, and that talent acquisition is a key area where agility is critical. When the demands on recruiters increase, it’s imperative that they can quickly and efficiently adapt. Recruiters need to be able to juggle multiple tasks at once, from sourcing talent to screening candidates, scheduling interviews and providing feedback to all parties. And there is usually very little warning when hiring starts to ramp! So how can they look to use agile working methodologies to keep pace and continue to drive success?

1. Prioritization

One of the most important strategies to follow when hiring volumes soar is around prioritization. No two roles require the same amount of time, energy, and cost to fill. So by learning how to focus your recruiting resources appropriately, you can build processes that both maximize and optimize TA performance. Read this case study SocialTalent conducted with Celonis to see what we mean –  tasked with ramping up hiring without increasing base cost, Celonis weighted their recruitment efforts and budget to the most valuable and complex positions, thus ensuring that these important roles were hired for quickly and with quality in mind. This then forced optimization for lower-priority roles, which ultimately improved hiring metrics across the board!

Read the complete Celonis case study here to see how prioritization and agile working helped them hire critical talent 2x faster.

2. Leverage technology

Needless admin is the bane of any recruiter’s workflow. And finding ways to automate tasks is one of the best ways to save time when requisition volumes sky rocket. It can start with basic applications, like leveraging software for scheduling screenings or interviews, posting job ads, or tracking application statuses. But it can go even further than this if speed really is the priority. The dawn of AI has the potential to give time back to recruiters in a way that wasn’t possible before. ChatGPT can write Boolean strings, generate keywords, provide base copy for email outreach, and even assist with market research. But remember – as Jonathan Kestenbaum the renowned TA tech expert told us on The Shortlist, “tech is only as good as the people and processes around it.” There are so many avenues that can be travelled when it comes to automation, but you can’t forsake the human either.

3. Knowing your pipeline – both external and internal

Knowledge is power, right? Nothing can help a recruiter more when there is a sharp uptick in role vacancies quite like having a clear and robust understanding of your talent pipeline. If you’ve been diligently maintaining this pool, now is the time to aggressively leverage it. All of those silver-medal past candidates, the contacts you nurtured but didn’t have a position, the key players in the space – having this portfolio of talent to tap into can make hiring so much easier when volume is high. And the same can be said for knowing internal talent too. Internal mobility is fast-becoming a priority source for strategic roles, but if you haven’t been mapping this information, you simply won’t know.

4. Communication

Agile working can only succeed when communication is clear, concise, and consistent. From the initial kick-off meetings with hiring managers and stakeholders, to regular feedback loops in the hiring process it’s vital that you keep everyone informed and up-to-date. Recruiting expert, John Vlastelica always says that “misalignment is the root of all evil,” and when it comes ensuring that hires are made quickly and with quality in mind, nothing must get lost in translation. And this goes for regular points of contact with your candidates too. Good communication keeps EVERYTHING on-track and is essential even at the busiest times.

Recruiter agility

Final word

Being an agile recruiter is now almost a prerequisite of the position. No matter what environment you’re hiring within, whether it’s fast or slow, it’s so important to be prepared, be flexible, and be open to change. And it’s fair to say, the groundwork that gets put in when recruiting periods are not so frantic hugely benefit when things do ramp-up. It’s about being adaptable to what’s in-front of you and prioritizing based on the situation.

Looking to build an agile recruiting team? SocialTalent learning can equip your people with the skills and knowledge needed to hire the best talent, quickly and efficiently. Talk to us today.

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