Why 25:1 is an Important Number for Fast-Growing Start-Ups

February 13, 2015 at 9:58 AM by Jon Bischke

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One of the things I love about my job is that we get to see how hundreds of companies are approaching building their teams.

Over a number of years of doing this, you start to get good at pattern matching. What is it that the best companies are doing on the talent acquisition front that the not-so-great companies aren't. There are a lot of things of course but there has been one that has stood out to me lately.

The ratio of employees to people whose full-time job is to recruit.

What I've experienced with early to mid-stage fast-growing companies is that the sweet spot for that ratio is between 20:1 and 30:1. In other words, if you have a company of 80 people, you have at least three to four people on the recruiting team. I've seen this ratio as low as 12:1 in some very aggressive companies, especially those who need to do a lot of tech hiring. But we also more commonly see ratios closer to 50:1 or even 100:1. (Yikes! Those poor recruiters!)

The people on the recruiting team are typically split along the following lines:

Head of Talent – An experienced executive who sets the vision, hires great people and runs the team.

Full-cycle Recruiters – People who can run the gamut of sourcing, scheduling, interviewing, etc. They'll typically have full responsibility for certain roles within the company.

Recruiting Coordinators – An area that often gets over-looked. RCs will help to schedule interviews but great RCs are more than that. They are obsessive about the candidate experience. As an RC from a world-class talent team told me, "We optimize for the 98% of people we don't hire. We know we'll do a great job with the people we want. But the ones who we don't move forward have been the source of some of our best referrals because our candidate experience is so incredible."

Sourcers – The SDRs of the recruiting space. These are the people who are out generating pipeline of candidates the same way an SDR team is generating leads for salespeople. Another over-looked role in sub-optimal recruiting organizations.

In a 100 person company a great mix might be a Head of Talent, a Full-cycle Recruiter, a Recruiting Coordinator (or two) and a Sourcer. This is obviously a company that's growing fast and has a lot of roles to fill. The ratio gets dialed back as people enter slower growth mode. And as companies grow, there's more leverage available and so the ratio starts expand, say once a company is more than 250-500 employees.

So what's the ratio in your company?

Odds are if you're trying to grow fast and it's less than 25:1 you're at a competitive disadvantage to those companies who have a 25:1 or lower ratio. Just as under-investing in marketing and lead generation teams starves the sales pipeline, under-investing on the talent side, starves the rest of the organization.entelo demo

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