Back to Blog

How Restructured & Mature Recruiting Teams are Managing This Difficult Market

Mike Joyner

Over the last few weeks, we’ve met with some talent leaders that have had to significantly downsize their teams and are now faced with a lot of unpredictability and variability in hiring needs since they’re completely dependent on backfilling attrition. While other talent leaders we’ve talked to are at companies with healthy balance sheets that can retain more resources on their teams, but in the meantime are redesigning roles and reevaluating performance metrics given fewer roles needing to be filled in the short-term. Here are some takeaways from those conversations:

Restructured recruiting teams are facing higher than anticipated backfill volume

A common dilemma has been with recruiting leaders who have had to massively reduce their team size, and are now facing a higher than expected volume of backfills that exceed their capacity. Hiring goals have been reduced to backfills, which are hard to predict and often urgent for hiring managers to quickly fill. We’ve partnered with a number of teams to help recruiting leaders visualize the impact of current team capacity against rollover and how that will impact the team’s ability to hit the goals as they evolve. A simple table and visual like the one below can help you tell the story.

More mature recruiting teams are redesigning roles and performance metrics

The current market has required more mature recruiting teams to redesign roles and performance metrics. Companies that have the financial runway and leadership that sees talent as the key to long-term success are using this time to redesign their recruiting teams. They’re also looking at ways to be more flexible as demand returns and efficient by reassessing their tech stack, processes, and performance metrics to set the team up for success in the long run. Here are ways we’re seeing recruiting teams evolving and thinking about performance in a down market.

  • Recruiter role has expanded
    More recruiters are taking on full-cycle responsibilities and teams are reassessing the need for dedicated in-house sourcers. Teams are looking at automating and/or outsourcing basic sourcing tasks. This combined with higher quality inbound candidates has seen a sharp decline in sourcers, which we’ve also seen through our benchmarking as a trend for companies of all stages.
  • Sourcing is shifting focus to DEI
    While broader sourcing is being reimagined after significant reductions, teams continue to see the importance of proactive sourcing to drive a more diverse pipeline. They recognize that there are a lot of reasons why diversity efforts fail despite good intentions. Diversifying the pool of passive talent is one of many essential steps to ensure better DEI outcomes. It takes intentional effort and focus. Some teams are retaining diversity focused sourcers while others are leaning into program managers on DEI teams for a more scaled approach to engagement and sourcing into diverse communities.
  • Recruiter success metrics are evolving
    Traditional measures of recruiter performance, such as number of hires made, may no longer be as relevant given there are fewer roles to fill. While offer acceptance rate, number of hires relative to peers, and time to hire continue to be foundational metrics for filling roles, Recruiters are now contributing to projects and other initiatives that may be harder to measure in terms of success. Some teams are designing points systems to recognize other types of contributions and impact. Others are using project milestones and satisfaction surveys to measure impact. Overall, teams are looking for ways to measure both the impact of the work as well as how that work is done and aligned to the values of the company.

Lower hiring demand leads to heightened focus on Quality of Hire and Talent Density

  • Quality of Hire as a critical measure for success
    GBD will be hosting a deeper dive conversation into this topic: Why Quality of Hire Matters Now More Than Ever (register here if you are interested in attending). All teams see the value of this metric, but most are early in the journey to align on definitions, gather the necessary data, and share findings. If you’re starting your journey and looking for guidance and where to start, Searchlight recently published this guide on quality of hire that could be helpful.
  • Quality of Hire is defined differently across companies
    There are many different layers, and most companies are curious but haven’t taken action to implement this metric. Most teams that are early in their journey are using tenure as a starting point while more sophisticated teams are using additional signals  involving retention rates, performance reviews, and manager satisfaction.
  • Hiring manager feedback correlated to quality
    Several teams were surveying both the new hire and hiring manager at 45, 90, and 180 days. The two questions most correlated to quality were related to the new hires’
  • Displaying functional expertise
  • Engagement with the team

It makes sense that if someone hasn’t been given the opportunity to demonstrate their functional expertise then there would be a perception of lower quality, and if someone new to a team isn’t engaged enough to know what good looks like or how work gets done at the company then it would impact their ability to get things done.

  • Struggle to balance interventions
    Involving hiring managers in the quality of hire measurement process is crucial for identifying areas where the recruiting team can improve their selection and hiring processes.

Despite all of these transitions and challenges, we’re confident that recruiting will continue to adapt and thrive. It’s a tough market today, but the market always bounces back! Recruiting teams will look and operate differently, but we’re confident that we’ll all be stronger on the other side.

More from the Blog

Building Internal Leadership & Executive Recruiting Functions

As we mentioned last month, one of the natural evolutions of maturing recruiting teams is to build out an internal leadership/exec recruiting function. In fact, as we have noted before, it has been a growing trend for companies to invest in this function on a continually earlier basis. At Growth by Design Talent, we have the POV that building this internal muscle is a key differentiating factor in the success of growing companies. As a trusted advisor, you can position yourself to be anticipating these needs by being close to the business and talent strategy. 

Learn more here

Preparing Your Recruiting Team for an IPO

If you received an email today announcing that your company has filed its S-1, would your recruiting team know what to do? Do you know what an S-1 is? From our experience, that email has been followed by, “YAY, we’re finally going public!”, immediately followed by panic inducing questions like, “what are we allowed to say to candidates?” or “how do we pitch a job opportunity if you can’t talk about the value of an offer?”

Learn more here

Unlocking the Power of Fractional Recruiting Operations

While AI took center stage, conversations among TA leaders were heavy on team engagement, recruitment ROI, and innovative approaches to getting the work done. A sense of cautious optimism around hiring growth in 2024 spurred engaging discussions on how TA teams are meeting the reality of achieving business needs with limited resources. Specifically and not surprisingly, many leaders shared that their priorities are focused on enhancing the effectiveness of their teams without the option of growing team size. This continued focus on doing more with the same team or even fewer resources has put a renewed spotlight on recruiting operations and understanding what changes will actually have an impact. 

Learn more here