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Optimize to Maximize: Optimize Recruiter Bandwidth to Maximize Your Company’s Profitability

The consequences of overburdening recruiters, or not having a well-balanced team, are far-reaching.

When recruiters are stretched too thin, a company's ability to hire top talent is threatened. For example, in sales or business development roles, slow hiring means fewer clients are generated. In engineering, delayed hiring leads to a backlog in delivering on customer programs. A lack of filled manufacturing roles may result in reduced production capacity for the company. And in healthcare, a short-staffed team means the quality of care delivered to the community may be compromised.

You’re starting to see where this is going, right? If your recruiters are not balanced and effective in hiring, your company's revenue and performance will suffer. The health of the recruitment team directly affects the vitality of the business.

What goes into a recruiter's workload

Now, you may be thinking, “Is it really that hard to be a recruiter? Don’t they just look at applications?”


If it was that easy, there wouldn’t be an entire industry dedicated to recruitment.

Recruiters invest significant time behind the scenes searching for “purple squirrels.” They wear many hats throughout the hiring process, without which the success of hiring– and the organization– would be nil. As an outsider looking in, it’s easy to underestimate how much work goes into finding the right person for a company, team, and leader.

Let’s break down an average 6-week recruitment cycle.

  • Successful recruitment begins with a deep understanding of the talent landscape and effective sourcing strategies. Creating and deploying these methods, and gathering market intelligence takes a minimum of 1.5 hours

  • Recruiters must bridge the gap between what hiring managers envision and the reality of the talent market. Managing hiring manager expectations through meetings, conversations, and regular updates - 6 hours

  • Keeping job postings fresh and engaging is crucial to attract top talent. And, it is tedious and time consuming - 6 hours

  • Identifying potential candidates, reaching out to them, and building a network of top talent. By far, the most critical element of the process is sourcing candidates, and it should average 3 hours per week per opening - 18 hours

  • Evaluating candidate qualifications, skills, and fit for the role includes a 30-minute pre-screening conversation with each potential candidate, and if the candidate is good? Well, that means the recruiter will be taking time to put together a summary and emailing it to the hiring manager. At a minimum, we are dedicating 15 hours

  • Coordinating interviews, managing calendars, and ensuring a smooth interview process - 6 hours

  • Crafting competitive offers and guiding candidates and hiring managers through the negotiation process - 2 hours

  • Managing pre-employment checks and conducting references, assuming everything goes smoothly, should average 1 hour

  • Building rapport and ensuring a successful transition into the company, or what we like to call “keeping the candidate warm” between offer and start date - 1 hour

This totals 56.5 hours over 6 weeks.

Now, think about how recruiters balance multiple job openings simultaneously. At 20 job openings, we are looking at 1,130 (wo)manhours! There are only 2,080 work hours in a year, and the aforementioned workload doesn't even account for additional challenges like evolving candidate profiles, rescheduling interviews, chasing feedback from interviewers, handling market challenges, and reporting metrics.

Are we saying a recruiter can only handle 30-40 jobs a year? No.

Determining Bandwidth

Now that we've established the significance of a balanced recruitment team, let's discuss how you can determine if your team is in good shape. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Analyze the attrition rate and the impact it has on hiring needs.

  • Forecast the company's growth and evaluate its effect on required headcount.

  • Determine the average number of job openings each recruiter can successfully manage.

  • Assess the number of roles the existing team successfully fills per year. Keep in mind, if the team has coordinators, and/or sourcers it's likely the recruiters can manage a larger number of requisitions, and deliver more hires.

  • Categorize your requisitions. Gillisa Pope, Director of Talent Engagement & Sourcing for a Fortune 500 Retailer, guides her teams to categorize their requisitions into one of the three categories when assessing recruiter bandwidth:

    • Skilled Many includes hourly, easily repeatable searches, and are usually high volume, inbound recruitment (i.e. mostly applications).

    • Talented Few are going to be the more niche type of searches, focused more on passive candidates, and tend to need heaving sourcing.

    • Expert One. Think of this as executive level searching. There are only a few individuals who meet the criteria, and the search is long, challenging, and often the recruiters only manage a few openings at a time.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, don’t worry. We’ve put together a Recruiter Bandwidth Calculator to get you started.

Chart of Recruiter Goals to break out Average # of openings per recruiter if the team structure includes only recruiters; recruiters and coordinators; or recruiters, coordinators, and sourcers. This shows the expected average number of openings filled by recruiter per month and annually.

Once you have an idea of how many openings the company will have, and how many the current team can fill, take a step back and ask yourself:

what is the impact on the company, team, and customers if certain roles take a while to fill, or don’t get filled at all?

Is adding another recruiter to your team less expensive than foregoing the lost sales, missed deadlines, and delayed production? Most likely.

The role of a recruiter is complex and time-consuming, involving a multitude of responsibilities. Balancing your team according to the specific needs of your organization, and the nature of the roles you're recruiting for will ultimately lead to improved efficiency and bottom-line results.

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