Here's Why Your Talent Funnel is All Filler, No Killer

July 24, 2015 at 1:00 PM by Kathleen de Lara


The talent gap is a scary place on the map hiring pros use to hunt down candidates. 

If that’s not enough of a cringeworthy metaphor, this iCIMS stat should shake you up: 80% of recruiters think they have a high understanding of the jobs they’re recruiting for. Here’s how 61% of hiring managers responded: “Nope!”  

The disjointed recruiter-manager relationship has notoriously been cited as one of the causes for bottleneck in the hiring process. Managers spend most of their time reviewing resumes. Time-to-hire is a relatively squishy metric, but if a majority of the hiring process is spent reviewing resumes, teams need to reevaluate the quality of their candidate pools. 

Recruiters quickly pick up the ability to sift through candidates, but without reviewing the remaining candidates with hiring managers, there’s a higher chance recruiters will need to hit Restart on the search. Evaluation can’t be a one-sided process.   

Here’s a start: Apply these four pre-hiring assessment techniques to train your team to have a better eye for the types of people the company wants to hire. 

Recruiters and hiring managers: Schedule an initial candidate briefing.

The goal of this session is to make sure recruiters and hiring managers leave with the same understanding of an ideal candidate. When the team has decided the roles the company is hiring for, have a hiring manager send over specs of their ideal candidate: companies they’ve worked for, schools they’ve attended, skill sets. Have hiring managers also send over a few people whom they consider perfect fits for the role. These can be people who are on the team or candidates they know would be perfect. This helps to quickly get a tangible example of what they’re looking for.

Identify the must-have and nice-to-have candidate traits. 

Walk through the candidate specs with a hiring manager and prioritize the most important attributes. To start, have managers list their five ideal candidate traits – three of them being must-haves, two of them being nice-to-haves. Know which skills are imperative. You’ll find more candidates who are close enough to perfect, than candidates who hit every single mark. Learning how to work around the candidates you find, which can be viewed as the typical result to expect from that search, teaches teams how to evaluate using variable baselines, and how to adjust their onboarding strategies to grow candidates within their role. 

Source by example. 

From there, build sample lists of candidates who could be good fits for the role and have the hiring manager give feedback on who is the right fit and who isn't. This list could be 25-50 people long, depending on how specific the role is, and getting the hiring manager's feedback on why someone is good and why someone isn't also helps quickly align recruiters and managers.

Always Be Calibrating

If candidates aren’t getting far in the process, there’s a disconnect between hiring managers’ expectations and candidates coming through the funnel. Recruiters, sync up and calibrate with hiring managers at every stage of the interview process. If candidates aren’t getting past the first interviews in the process, figure out how to be stricter at the top-end of the funnel based on the hiring manager’s feedback. If we’re not engaging enough candidates or if the pool of dubbed “qualified” candidates is small, that may be reason to pull back on requirements. Strong feedback loop is the key.

No matter the team size, maintaining a smooth hiring process means consistently checking in with recruiters and hiring managers to find out if the candidates sourced match with what the role demands. Use applicant tracking tools like Greenhouse, Lever, iCIMS, and Jobvite keeps teams updated on who’s sourced, which candidates fit the right criteria, and how far candidates make it through the hiring process.

Ready to put these techniques to practice? Check out this step-by-step guide we built with Jobvite and learn how to improve the way your recruiters and hiring managers interact and hire talent.

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