Recruiting Metrics- Measure what counts!

“If you don’t collect any metrics, you’re flying blind. If you collect and focus on too many, they may be obstructing your field of view.” 
― Scott M. Graffius

The key to talent acquisition metrics is measuring what counts. I know it sounds redundant to say but there are a lot of recruiters and talent acquisition teams measuring the wrong metrics.

Much like a pilot, recruiters need to have a dashboard to provide real-time data on their candidate flow, open jobs, time to fill and placement numbers. Unfortunately, many in the talent acquisition industry tend to focus on time to fill and number of hires. Although these are critical metrics, they are by no means the only talent acquisition metrics to focus on.

Here are some recruiting metrics you should keep your eye on to be successful. Keep in mind that some of the metrics I tend to measure are associated with the Sprint Recruiting Methodology my team and I have adopted.

First, let me share with you the dashboard I created using Google Data Studio:

The Candidate Funnel

I like to know at the beginning of each week how many candidates we have in each stage of the process. In Sprint Recruiting, we work in two week sprints, focused on a designated number of priority positions assigned points by our clients. The points dictate the priority recruiters place in their sourcing and recruiting efforts.

The section “How many candidates do we have in each stage of the process” is my pulse check for the week. This information is fed by a google sheet our team uses to track the jobs and other necessary metrics associated with Sprint Recruiting.

Using the screenshot above, I can see we have 8 jobs being sourced, 6 in active interview stages and 3 offers out. If this is the beginning of the sprint cycle, I am stoked because it means we have a jump on the sprint. However, if I am looking at this information the Wednesday before the sprint ends (our sprints end every other Friday), I might be alarmed by the number of jobs being sourced with no active candidates.

As the leader for the talent acquisition team, I would use this information to determine which team member I need to help. I would want to determine if there are any obstacles I could remove to help the process along. Perhaps there’s been a shift in the industry creating havoc in our candidate flow that we should discuss.

Regardless of the obstacle, this view helps me quickly assess where my energy should be as a recruiter and a recruiting manager.

Sprint Recruiting Points

In Sprint Recruiting, we work with our clients biweekly to assign a budgeted amount of points to prioritize the work. Points are attained when we fill those roles which populates the “Points by Line of Business” chart.

As you can see, we created a threshold of 300 points biweekly. This is our baseline for success in the sprint. Depending on what day during the sprint I review this metric, I could be excited or depressed by our progress. Again, this metric tells me quickly where I need to focus on as a leader.

The points indicate success defined by our client for that sprint. If by mid sprint we are not at least halfway to the threshold, I leverage my one on ones to dig deeper to find the causes. This metric has helped my one on ones with the team become more efficient and insightful.

Photo by Pixabay

Number of Positions in the Sprint

We also track the number of positions in each sprint. This helps us spot trends, be alerted to increased volumes in a particular area and manage capacity on the team.

If I begin seeing an upward trend, it usually shows the early signs of issues in that particular line of business. It helps us quickly make the right moves on our team to coordinate the work while also allowing us to work with the HR partner to identify the root causes.

Questions I tend to explore would include:

  • Is this a special project where we need additional headcount?
  • If the trend is not the result of recent adds to staff, what is the turnover data telling us?
  • Is this the result of a change in the market or industry? If so, how can we move quickly to stay ahead?
  • Does anyone else on the team have capacity to help?

Before we began Sprint Recruiting, I had to rely primarily on my gut. With this key metric in my face every day, I am able to move quicker and more efficiently to avoid disaster.

Quick Quits

I am amazed at the number of talent acquisition teams that focus only on recruiting metrics and not on what happens with the candidates join. One area I’ve begun tracking is what we call “Quick Quits” or candidates who leave within the first six months of hire.

There is a lot of noise in this metric so you will have to do some data mining to be sure you have quality answers. The data I typically review has all terminations, but I only focus on those terminations when the candidate determined we were not a fit for them.

Let’s imagine your involuntary terminations in your sales organization begin to spike. You might want to meet wtih the sales leaders to understand where your team or they missed the mark. It could be that the industry changed so candidates who were once great targets will no longer succeed in your new environment.

This data can help you spend more time recruiting the right talent. It also saves your reputation with your client by positioning you as a consultant and not just someone who puts a cheek in a seat!

The Experience

If you do not have a survey to send candidates and managers after you fill the job, you are missing out on some great information!

Our surveys are sent out quarterly to both managers and candidates wtih a series of questions using a sliding scale of 1 to 5. We use Google Forms to build our survey so the responses are captured in a Google Sheet in real-time. I leverage Data Studio to pull the information over in the graphic you see above.

I have another page I chose not to share that breaks the experience scores down by line of business and recruiters. This gives me the ability to proactively identify issues with our candidates and clients.

It’s another reason why I love using Sprint Recruiting. Every two weeks, we look at this information during our team’s retrospective to identify any obstacles we can address to increase our experience scores.


I know the other metrics like time to fill and number of hires against goal are
important but there’s a ton of posts out there explaining how to track and
measure those recruiting metrics. I wanted to share the metrics my team and I
have been focused on since implementing Sprint Recruiting and
share some of the early successes we’ve experienced.

What are the Talent Acquisition Metrics you measure?

If you would like to learn more about Sprint RecruitingClick here to join our mailing list. You’ll get premier access to:

  • Get helpful recruiting tips sent to you monthly!
  • Read each chapter of the book Sprint Recruiting as it’s written
  • Resources including graphics, reports and training
  • Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.

How to use Work in Progress (WIP) Limits in Recruiting

One of the key principles in Sprint Recruiting is the use of Work in Progress (WIP) limits to help manage candidates through the process.

The AGILE methodology defines WIP limits as fixed constraints that individuals, teams, or organizations create to limit the total number of work items in process at any given time. They are most commonly used by teams to limit how many cards or products can be active at once.

If you want an idea of how WIP limits help any process, think of the infamous scene with Lucille Ball and her cohort trying to keep up with the factory belt at the chocolate factory. As the speed increased, she and her friend frantically try to keep up the pace wrapping each of the chocolates. It’s one of the best scenes of the show!

There are a lot of similarities between that scene in the chocolate factory and recruiting. I felt just like Lucy 9 out of the 10 days prior to implementing Sprint Recruiting.


In late 2017, I attended an AGILE training to learn the methodology and how we would be implementing it throughout our organization. We participated in an activity that reminded me a lot of the scene from the chocolate factory. After several failed attempts, the facilitator imposed WIP limits on us for each stage of the process. Ironically, placing limits on the process actually increased our production and efficiency.

I remembered the mind blown feeling I had coming out of the excercise as I tried to wrap my head around how limits created more productivity. I guess I had become accustomed to thinking the more you were doing at one time increased efficiency and productivity.

Similarly, when I introduced WIP limits to the team for our beta version of Sprint Recruiting, all of us struggled trying to place limits on stages of the process. The limits we chose to use were number of candidates in each stage or bucket of the process.

If you think about any recruiting process, it really comes down to three lanes or stages:

1. Recruiter Screening/Interviewing

2. Hiring Manager submissions

3. Hiring Manager interviewing

We ran some tests on each stage to determine what the WIP limits should be. We had some recruiters who did high volume recruiting and others who worked on more mid to executive level jobs. There was a lot of debate around whether there should be different WIPs for high volume roles versus the others. We tested this theory but found that establishing the same WIP limit across the team was easier to monitor and there was very little variance between the two volumes of recruiting.

Once we agreed on what he limit should be for how many we should have in the recruiter screening or interviewing stage, we moved on to test the Hiring Manager submission stage. This stage we defined as when the manager is sent a candidate to review.

We set the bar high initially at ten candidates in this stage but discovered quickly that was too many. Managers were either complaining that we were sending too many candidates or complaining they didn’t have enough time to review the candidates. We also had other managers who would go into over analysis paralysis. Once we decided the WIP for this group was five, we began seeing a lot of progress.

When we got to the next stage, Hiring Manager Interviewing, we decided to learn from our previous test and set the WIP at five. We determined if managers became easily overwhelmed with five submissions, they’d be even more overwhelmed with more than five interviews in process.

For those who are visual learners, here’s what our process looks like:

As you can see above, candidates are pulled through the process versus the traditional recruiting method of pushing candidates through. If all you do is continuously push candidates through the various stages of your process, you’ll begin to resemble the chocolate factory and not the pristine recruiting shop you want to run. Candidates who are disqualified at any point in the process open up a slot for a potentially qualified candidate to take their place.

Our managers had to come around on this process but most of that was because of their inherit fear of missing out on “the other good candidate out there”. Let’s face it, we lose a lot of a great candidates in our broken processes because managers keep thinking their candidate in shining offer hasn’t been discovered. Oftentimes, the perfect candidate had already been identified and interviewed but chose to take another opportunity due to the length of the recruiting process.

WIP limits cure that problem.


After almost a year in our Sprint Recruiting methodology, we love our WIP limits. They help us not only keep track of candidates but prioritize our focus and work. When the process becomes bogged down by managers not giving timely feedback or a backlog of candidates who need to be reviewed or interviewed, we can quickly identify the obstacle, address it and keep the process going.

It’s perhaps one of the hardest aspects of Sprint Recruiting we had to implement but has paid dividends in our ability to meet the needs of our candidates and clients.

The Ultimate Recruiting Metrics Dashboard-A Review of Visier’s Talent Analytics Add-on

I’ve already confessed my obsession with analytics on this website in previous posts so it should be no surprise that I am writing another article on the topic. I shared in a recent post the convergence of Data Analytics and Recruiting based on my experience using the Visier platform. I had the opportunity to participate in a demo of Visier’s Talent add-on so I thought I would share my review of the ultimate recruiting metrics dashboard.

Simplicity with Everything at your Fingertips

One of the first things that appealed to me was the simplicity of the dashboard. This is a hallmark of the Visier platform design.

I like how Visier will pose questions and provide the answers once you click on the icon. For instance, rather than trying to leverage the platform to do a deep dive into your turnover, the platform will have questions like:Where is my highest turnover? What makes someone stay or resign?

From this simple yet powerful dashboard you can begin digging into the critical levers within talent acquisition. So let me show you some of the features I liked the most.

What does the candidate journey look like?

In August of last year, I spent roughly an entire weekend tracking our candidate journey. I had to download the information from the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) into an excel worksheet, scrub the data for duplicates and for accuracy,then hours building complex if/then formulas.

Once I had the information, I then had to work through graphs, charts and other graphics to try to find the answer to two basic questions:

  1. How long is the candidate journey?
  2. Where are our roadblocks in the process?

So when I saw this screen during the demo, I was a little pissed off that there was a program that could have done this for me with such ease. An entire weekend of my life could have been given back to me if I had a tool like this.

This particular screen allows you to set parameters or stopping points for your candidate journey, specific to your firm. Based on this information, Visier analyzes the candidate flow and tracks where candidates drop off. You can analyze not only the amount of time it takes to progress through each stage but also who is dropping out and why.

Visier’s built in filter function allows you to go deeper into this information. You can review this information by job, job family, generation and diversity. This is critical for me since I really want to understand how committed my organization is to diversity. Now, with maybe three clicks, I can review critical jobs and answer two important questions in diversity recruiting:

  1. Are we attracting and recruiting enough diverse talent for our open jobs?
  2. Are the diverse candidates in our pool being treated equally throughout the process?

Additionally, this screen will allow you to better understand where your roadblocks are in the process.

Are your recruiters taking too long to review and interview candidates? Are your managers providing timely feedback? Do candidates get frustrated or disengaged because of the length of your recruiting process?

Each of these questions are vital to any recruiting strategy. Needless to say, this was one of my favorite features of the demo.

Laser Focus on Diversity

Companies tout their commitment to diversity and inclusion, however, few know exactly how diverse candidates enter into the organization. Visier’s platform gives great insight to several layers of diversity in the recruiting process.

The first is the number of diverse candidates entering the funnel. Sure, there are a number of ATS platforms that can tell you how many diverse candidates apply but few can tell you whether these candidates were interviewed by a diverse panel.

This particular module is critical for someone like me who really wants to understand the candidate experience of our diverse pool. The snapshot above is already built into the platform so I don’t have to waste time trying to build something. Just point, click, and analyze.

If your organization really wants to understand what is going on in their diversity recruiting efforts, Visier’s product allows you to spend more time finding and addressing any gaps and less time trying to put all of the information together.

Are you successful or only treading water?

I recently tried to build a report in Google’s Data Studio to show me trend lines of our recruiting activity. I know I am not the only one who has weeks when we close a ton of jobs, only to see the total open requisition number move by one or two jobs.

With this module, I can drill down from the organizational level and analyze which lines of business are crating the most havoc in my tranquil garden of recruiting. The filter options will also allow me to look at year over year trends and limit the scope to a job group or line of business.

One of the key benefits in Sprint Recruiting is the ability to allocate resources biweekly according to the priority and workloads of the sprint. I have been doing this process manually over the last year, leveraging Google Data Studio. I am curious to learn how I could use this simple interface to better allocate resources, predict trends in the lines of business we serve and work closer with my HR partners to understand why certain groups are more volatile than others.

Finally-A FUNNEL!

This funnel is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Visier’s funnel includes cost of hire and other key metrics in one simple module for me. Sure, there are some applicant tracking systems out there that tout their ability to create a funnel but it’s rarely something I would use. I’m a sales/relationship management guy and recruiting is a sales/relationship management business. So why wouldn’t I want a funnel to help me understand how many candidates I should search for to find my rock-star?

This particular snapshot shows the progress in college recruiting. The demo allowed me to use their data to drill down to particular jobs, segments of candidates and just about any other quality I could dream of. This type of interface would take me hours to recreate in an ATS. Visier’s platform has this report prebuilt at a macro level but offers the ability to zero in on any subject my heart desires.

How are we doing?

I’m obsessed with knowing where the team’s productivity numbers are. I like to be able to quickly see how we are doing as a team and identify any potential gaps in service levels or candidate flows.

Visier’s TA Scorecard gives me just that.

Although the scorecard is editable, the demo module showed me much of the information I manually track. The only difference is that I can’t drill down into time periods or other key metrics like I can with Visier.

Another key feature you’ll see on this snapshot is the cost to replace. Many recruiters look at the cost of hire but do not take into consideration the loss of productivity an open position creates. I find there is a significant disconnect between hiring managers and recruiters on priority of roles because recruiters are only looking at one of the cost levers associated with the recruiting process.

Visier’s TA Scorecard helps recruiters and recruiting managers keep a finger on the pulse of their business with simplicity and ease.

Applicant and Hire Analysis

Sure, I can pull hire data out of my ATS but Visier’s platform makes it interactive. I can review the applicant flow from the macro level but also drive down into the details by simply hovering over a point in the trendline data.

Another feature I like about this slide is the ability to see where our applicants are finding our jobs. Currently, the ATS we work with does not allow us to track this vital piece of information, so the recruiting team has to manually update a google sheet indicating where they found each hire. This module helps me see quickly where my candidates are coming from so I can spend more time and investment in those platforms.

One screen shot I did not get was the trend analysis of where applicants come from. This will help me as we A/B test various marketing ideas on LinkedIn and some of the career boards we work with. I can easily see the impact of the marketing campaigns on candidate flow with only a point and a click.


There are some more powerful features in Visier’s Talent Module that I liked but these are my top snapshots. The demo seemed to answer my top three concerns as a recruiting manager:

  1. Where is my talent coming from and what does their journey look like?
  2. What are the recruiting trends of my organization so I can plan and allocate resources on my team?
  3. What’s the real story with our diversity recruiting and on boarding?

You may have different questions you want answered for your organization’s recruiting strategy. Based on the demo I participated in, I would be willing to bet Visier’s Talent Module wold be able to answer them not only quickly but with an interface you’d actually become addicted to!

What Does a Headhunter Do?

My daughter once asked me if I was a headhunter and I was a little bothered by the question. I really don’t like the term headhunter because it makes me feel dirty. Why?

  • I know a lot of headhunters who are like those annoying insurance salesmen who give the rest of us a bad rap.
  • Headhunter… doesn’t it make you think about some cannibal on a deserted island waiting to cut off your head for a souvenir?
  • Headhunter…. yes, I have a dirty mind so I’ll just leave it at that.

But her question was not whether or not her dad was what someone would call a headhunter but more around what does a headhunter do?

I’d like to give some perspective from two different angles: for their client and for the candidates.

What does a headhunter do for the client?

Headhunters are merely recruiters who work for recruiting agencies. Some companies are not equipped with the staff or the internal acumen to have their own recruiting function so they go to headhunters to help them find talent for the organization. Even if a company the size of mine has the recruiting function in-house, there are times when a headhunter should be engaged to work on important or hard to find roles.

The benefit for companies that hire headhunters is that they are hiring a specialist. For example, if you are a tech firm specializing in a particular type of tech, you might seek out a search firm that is considered experts in that space. I know for my firm, we’ve gone to a search firm on some key roles that were more like Purple Monkeys and my team had neither the capacity or acumen to find the needed talent.

The headhunter will most often charge either a percentage of the base salary/total compensation of the role as their fee or charge a retainer. It usually depends on the search firm you engage and what your appetite is.

Contingent firms will only be paid once the talent is placed whereas retained search firms charge a fee for you to work on the role over a specified period of time.

Although most internal talent acquisition teams have a love/hate relationship with headhunters, I tend to see them as a valuable asset.

Let’s say I get a project that needs 20 people in 30 days for my firm and my team is already beyond our capacity limits to meet that goal. Engaging a search firm is a no brainer for me and I work closely with the firm more as a partner than an adversary.

Photo by Negative Space

What does a headhunter do for a candidate?

Some headhunters work like talent agents for candidates. If the headhunter is smart, he or she will have a pipeline of qualified candidates for the niche they serve. They can alert you to jobs that may not have been posted online and can help you get in the door quicker and with the right people.

If you choose to work with a headhunter, be sure you know what they’re getting paid. I know I’ll piss a lot of search firms off by giving you this advice but you should know that companies do consider the fee they have to pay for talent when offering a job. You want to be sure the headhunter is there to represent your interests and not just get a fee.

Another great benefit from a headhunter is the feedback you receive. Unfortunately, too many internal recruiters fail to close the loop with disqualified candidates, hindering them from learning what they could do better the next time they’re up at bat.

Headhunters tend to have less administrative BS to deal with and it behooves them to keep great candidates in their pockets…even if they didn’t get the job.


There is definitely a time and place to engage a headhunter and only you will know when the time is right.

For all of my fellow corporate talent acquisition compadres, don’t be so adversarial with your headhunters. Remember, they’re usually dialing for dollars more than you are and more in the know.

If you piss them off, you can get a bad rep and not even know it.

Oh and a major shout out to the handful of headhunters I work with! You have saved my butt more times than I care to admit. I do truly see you as a partner!

Disclaimer: I hate the term headhunter but I noticed it’s a term most people know more than recruiting search firm or a recruiting agency. If you don’t believe me, type in “what does a search firm do” into google and see if you get any suggestions on topics.

If you would like to learn more about Sprint RecruitingClick here to join our mailing list. You’ll get premier access to:

  • Get helpful recruiting tips sent to you monthly!
  • Read each chapter of the book Sprint Recruiting as it’s written
  • Resources including graphics, reports and training
  • Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.

Job Descriptions aren’t Dead! They just need to evolve!

I swear, if I read one more blog post about how job descriptions are dead….

Every so called influencer in Talent Acquisition has weighed in on the idea of job descriptions going away completely. They give statistics on how few candidates read them or how companies should try this new sexy way of marketing their jobs. These influencers would have you believe you can be the next Facebook or Tic Toc of your industry if you would only do away with those “stupid job descriptions”.

These influencers tend to miss answering one obvious question- How the hell will candidates know what the job is if there’s no job description?

The real problem with job descriptions isn’t their function but the lack of evolution in the presentation. You can throw all the videos, pictures and holograms you want into your job post but if the candidate still walks away wondering what in the hell they’ll actually be doing, you’ve still missed the mark.

Also, much of the chatter around this subject tends to forget that small to medium sized companies may not be able to afford all of the bling suggested for their job descriptions. In many of these smaller firms, they may not even have an HR manager, much less a compensation department, formal marketing department dedicated to job descriptions or anything of the sort.

They need something to go out on a job site to attract candidates, tell them enough of what the role is to get them interested, and something to create a guideline of how to measure the success of the candidate if they’re hired. They don’t need all of the crazy shit some Talent Acquisition influencers are preaching.

Let’s talk about what needs to happen with job descriptions.

Photo by geralt

Qualifications-Easy Tiger!

Qualifications should be treated as the price of entry to a firm, not your wish list of a perfect candidate. The list should not be the length of a grocery list for a family of five but more like a list you’d make for a quick run to the store. It should be more like milk, bread, oreos, lunchmeat and cheese. You know, the kind of list you make to ensure you’re only in the store 15 minutes and come out spending less than thirty dollars. Just get the basics in there.

This approach helps the writer of the job description spend less time on how they could disqualify potential candidates. It also helps candidates not become discouraged when they’re reading your job post.

One critical piece to this is your ability to recruit diverse candidates.

Credit: thinkgrowth.org

If your qualification list is ten miles long, you can just about gargantee yourself a pool of male candidates. That’s why I suggest brevity in your qualifications. Give enough to tell the candidate they either have a chance to get in or not.

They are not SEO Friendly

Job descriptions or job posts should be updated for the times. Candidates don’t go to their daily newspaper to look for jobs anymore. Google is KING so if you’re not writing your description with your target candidate in mind, you’re better off not posting the job all together.

When writing the job description, you have to write it for the target audience while also keeping in mind keywords the candidate might search. One of the biggest mistakes made in this area is using corporate jargon known only to insiders of your company. When you put too much of the jargon in your description, you diminish the number of candidates who might find your job in a generic search.

As an example, the firm I work for calls tellers Branch Associates. Sure, the title is sexier than teller but what candidate would go to Google looking for teller jobs and type in Branch Associate?

If you find yourself in a similar scenario, try to use the more common keywords in the introduction of your job description to help draw the parallel to what the market calls the role and what you call the role. This will not only help candidates find your job but will also help them understand the value you place on the role.

Google now ranks websites higher for the value of the content which means this could be a goldmine for you in free marketing if done right. Take the time to position your job post to be found leveraging the true power of SEO.

Job Descriptions should be for Marketing, NOT Performance Evaluation

In a couple of recent meetings regarding job descriptions, I felt like the team I worked with was writing the handbook for performance management for the position. The manager actually referenced being able to hold an employee accountable to the items listed on the job description as a performance measurement.

Job descriptions should never be written this way. The KPIs (key performance indicators) for the role should be set separate from the job description. Sure, they should be discussed during the interview process but is that really what you want to lead with to attract candidates?

It’s as if you’re saying: “Here are the list of things we’re going to use to see if you stay or get fired.”

Stupid!

The job description should be a loose definition of the role, not the string holding the blade of the damn guillotine.


Photo by Pixabay

Are job descriptions dead? Hell no! Unfortunately, most job descriptions are more like a dead end sign than an invitation for a career.

They just need a face lift and a change of focus. If you find your candidate flow is dismal, the job description is the first place you should look.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it marketing the role as an opportunity or merely showing the price of admission to your firm?
  • Does it showcase your company culture or does it only, blandly talk about what he role does?
  • Does your list of qualifications look like a list of side effects found on the latest prescription drug? If so, modify it and trim it down.

When you find the right sauce for your job description, you’ll begin finding the right candidates. They are the storefront to the opportunity you’re selling so make sure they tell the right story!

If you would like to learn more about Sprint RecruitingClick here to join our mailing list. You’ll get premier access to:

  • Get helpful recruiting tips sent to you monthly!
  • Read each chapter of the book Sprint Recruiting as it’s written
  • Resources including graphics, reports and training
  • Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.

To be successful, a recruiter needs to have morning routine

Every morning can either set you up for success or chaos. Most of us in talent acquisition tend to have a touch of ADD which means we rarely like the word routine. Like it or not, to be successful, a recruiter needs to have a morning routine.

The Inevitable Cluster @#$

Let’s first talk about what happens when you don’t have a morning routine.

  • You will most likely check your emails which always creates a bit of panic for you as you realize that star candidate you sourced is going dark on you or backing out of an offer.
  • In the email barrage, you have at least one disgruntled hiring manager you have to calm down first thing in the morning… as if that’s how you want to start your day.
  • Perhaps you read about a new assignment for a project to hire x number of candidates in x days that is not only overwhelming but unrealistic.
  • You forget that one of your team members is on vacation and you promised to cover for them. So now you have not only your cluster @#$ of a morning to deal with but the deluge of issues they left behind for you to deal with.

All of this can derail your goal to find candidates and make deals happen before the clock strikes 8am.

My ideas for your morning routine

If you find yourself chasing your tail day in and day out, you definitely need to create a plan to start your day focused on success. To be a successful, a recruiter needs a morning routine that works for them. It doesn’t have to be a cookie cutter routine that someone else suggests to them but one they feel will be beneficial for them.

If you are a recruiting manager, understand everyone works differently and has a different “prime time” (the part of the day they are most successful). Help your team find what works best for them and just hold them accountable.

If you are a recruiter, take thirty minutes to look back over the last month to find the days you were most successful. What defined that success? What could you replicate? What should you be doing every morning before you make that first phone call or drink that second cup of coffee?

Once you have that list, find the five critical tasks or activities you need to accomplish every morning to make your day successful.

If you need some help, let me share some of my morning rituals. But before we get into that, let’s talk about the most crucial step in the process….

Commitment

The first step in creating your morning routine is to determine those activities that make you most successful. While the most common tasks would include sourcing new talent, booking appointments etc, the first step for a recruiter to have a successful morning routine is to make the commitment.

Too many times, my colleagues talk about how they’re going to start their day off right only to fail before 8:15am. Why? They don’t have or make the commitment to their routine. They allow distractions to run their morning which results in a day of chasing fires. This is the worst feeling, especially when all of us want to make our clients happy with the perfect candidate.

In case you missed it: STEP 1: MAKE THE DAMN COMMITMENT!

My Morning Routine

My morning routine has evolved over the last couple of years to the list below. When we began using Sprint Recruiting, the routine became almost like clockwork and streamlined because my focus activities were driven by the priorities set in the Sprint Recruiting process. So keep in mind my routine will reference some of the points within the Sprint Recruiting Methodology.

Exercise

I know, I know! Every morning routine blog out there promotes a morning exercise routine but hear me out.

I cannot tell you how many times I have charted my entire day while in the gym. It’s as if while my body is cursing me for the torture I’m enduring, my brain is in warp drive. It is always my most focused and creative time of the day.

If you are not currently exceeding in the morning, try doing a 10 minute yoga session or a 20 minute HIIT routine in your home before you get your day going. It’ll wake your body and brain up the right way and will get the blood pumping in a good way. I’ve also found it helps me reduce stress and anxiety going into the next steps of my morning routine!

Review the data

While most people are checking their emails for the latest crisis, I am neck deep in the data. I review the progress my team and I are making in our sprint leveraging a recruiting dashboard I created with Google Data Studio.

This dashboard tells me how many points we’ve earned so far in the sprint and which jobs have been identified as the top priority by our clients. If I see any gaps or blips in the data, I take the time to zero in on them.

I also leverage the Sprint Recruiting process to chart my day for sourcing. The points associated with each role I am responsible for allows me to quickly identify those roles I lack the needed activity to close out by the end of the sprint. Once identified, I block off time in my day or in the near future for only sourcing for those key roles.

Instead of starting your day out with chaos, let the data tell you the real story! Use it to determine the critical activities you need to accomplish the rest of the day.

Brain Dump

We all have mornings when our brains are in hyperactive. I’ve found that doing a brain dump in the morning has helped me clear the noise so I can begin my day with a clear brain and focus.

To do a brain dump, you can use any white space you prefer. Some people like a pen and paper while others leverage various to do apps. Whatever works for you, commit to it and get all of those whirling thoughts out of your brain and into a space to store it.

I am an avid ToDoist user-it’s my lifeline for staying on top of things. As those random thoughts come to me, I’ll simply go to my app, dump the information, assign it a priority and timeline. This allows me to not miss critical items I need to accomplish but also frees my brain to refocus on my task at hand:creating a successful day.

If you’d like to try Todoist on me, click this link. If you like to do lists, this will totally rock your world.

Block out time

Although I tend to do my time blocking on Sunday evenings for the week, I revisit my calendar every morning to find open time gaps I can use to accomplish needed tasks. I typically try to block off time for one or all of the following activities:

  • Sourcing new candidates
  • Candidate or manager follow up
  • Strategic planning sessions
  • Meeting preparation
  • Data analysis

I’ve found if I don’t block out the time on my calendar, my day will get away from me. I’m neurotic when it comes to my calendar so creating the appointment reinforces my commitment to the task or activity.

If you are not starting you day out by looking ahead to what you want to accomplish, you’ll spend your day chasing the pipe dream of being successful.


Once you determine what your morning routine should look like, create some definition of a successful day and track your results. This is where the gold is. You may find that part of your new morning routine is not as fruitful as you need it to be. Make adjustments and find your mojo.

Once you automate your mornings, you’ll find yourself experiencing not only more success but also more clarity and purpose. It’s always a great day for me when I can evaluate my day against what I committed to in the morning.

If you would like to learn more about Sprint RecruitingClick here to join our mailing list. You’ll get premier access to:

  • Get helpful recruiting tips sent to you monthly!
  • Read each chapter of the book Sprint Recruiting as it’s written
  • Resources including graphics, reports and training
  • Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.

Here’s how to get a Recruiter’s Attention on LinkedIn

So you’re looking for your next great adventure right? Your plan to get a recruiter’s attention might consist of some bold moves that might include:

  • Applying for positions that you’re not necessarily qualified for to get your name out there
  • Stalk recruiters for companies that you really want to work for
  • Create the most awesome resume that has everything you’ve done since being conceived on one sheet of paper

If this is your plan, you’re planning to fail. Let me pull back the curtain for you.  Here are my thoughts on how to get a recruiter’s attention.

Photo by geralt

Applying for positions you are not qualified for-

You’re thinking this is the way to go, it’ll get your name out there and land you that next big career move. What it’s really doing is nullifying chances that a recruiter will look at your resume again. It tells us that you cannot read the list of qualifications. Using straight-line logic, It also tells us you most likely won’t follow directions very well.

What you should do: 

Find a mentor in the field or better yet, work toward getting training in that field. Use the job description and qualifications to have a candid conversation with your manager about the steps you need to take to get yourself aligned to take on such a role.

Photo by Pixabay

Stalk Recruiters

Two words for you: NOT COOL! This gives us that “icky” feeling that something is just night right with you. It’s kind of like that person in high school that had a crush on you but you weren’t really into them but somehow they “ironically” show up at the same places. There is a fine line between trying to remain in touch and pushing your luck.

What you should do: 

Most of us love networking with potential candidates-it’s what makes us tick. The most effective recruiters will take some time to help guide you to the right steps to take to get to your dream role. Think of this approach as you would trying to date the popular person in school. Show some interest, communicate without being a stalker, and see where the relationship goes. Don’t push yourself on the recruiter. If they’re good, they’ll tell you that they just don’t have anything for you at the time. Then you should move on to someone who does.

Create the Most AWESOME Resume:

Resumes are an effective tool, but don’t go overboard. Having every single solitary thing you’ve done since high school on your resume, leaving only centimeters of white space does nothing for you. Most recruiters are bottom line oriented people. We don’t want to have to search through a magna carta to determine if you’re qualified or not. Call us lazy or call us efficient, but regardless it’s the truth.

What you should do: 

Create different versions of your resume to highlight different targeted jobs you’re interested in. For example, I have a resume that highlights my recruiting experience and another that highlights my project management experience. There’s some overlap between the two, but the core of the resume is directed at the type of job I might be applying for.

Leave some white space on the resume. For most of us, looking at a bunch of words shuts down our brains so we move on. Your resume’s cleanliness speaks to your ability to present yourself in a logical, professional manner. Remember, to get a recruiter’s attention, keep it clean and simple.


Many who read this will scoff and suggest that I’m being arrogant and may not understand what it’s like to be jobless. Just to clarify, since 2008, my job has been eliminated three times from three different companies so that pain and frustration is still fresh for me. The advice I’m providing is not out of my desire to make my life easier but to make you more successful in finding the right fit for your next move.  So remember these key points if your goal is to get a recruiter’s attention.

If you would like to learn more about Sprint RecruitingClick here to join our mailing list. You’ll get premier access to:

  • Get helpful recruiting tips sent to you monthly!
  • Read each chapter of the book Sprint Recruiting as it’s written
  • Resources including graphics, reports and training
  • Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.

3 Top Reasons WHY Relying on your Applicant Tracking System to Develop a Hiring Plan is a Mistake

Talent Acquisition is still trying to catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to leveraging Data Analytics to make better decisions. Unfortunately, most Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) platforms lack the analytic build outs to help recruiters make smarter decisions quicker and more efficiently. Here some reasons why relying on your applicant tracking system to develop a long-term hiring plan is a mistake.

The Importance of Getting Recruiting Right

According to a recent study conducted by Visier, an HR Data Analytics platform, the highest impact on revenue growth in HR is delivering on recruiting. The best recruiters know this and have become obsessed with data analytics to help analyze their efforts to scale maximum results. Companies who have acknowledged talent as a key driver for bottom line revenue continue to invest not only in their internal talent acquisition teams but in tools to analyze ways to hack or maximize recruiting results.

Unfortunately, most ATS companies are not keep up with this trend. They tend to focus on candidate experience and ease of use more than the analytics of the candidate funnel and recruiting efforts. Most of the analysis I do for our team is the result of exporting information out of the ATS and into an excel worksheet or Google Data Studio dashboard. Even then, I challenge the data integrity of the information coming from the ATS. I have found the information to be more binary than intuitive.

Applicant Tracking Systems cannot tell you where your best hires come from

This is perhaps the bane of my existence as a recruiting manager. Why can the central system I use to process candidates not provide me analytics to help me know where my hires are sourced?

Not one of the three major ATS platforms I’ve used in the last ten years have included a feature to allow me to analyze candidate sources. If I don’t know where my hires are finding my roles, how can I maximize that channel to find more great candidates? Leaders should be able to leverage their ATS to understand where to spend their budget dollars each year.

Many of the HR analytic firms like Visier have recognized this gap and built talent acquisition platforms to plug into your ATS to help analyze your hiring sources. The Visier Talent Acquisition Model helps me learn more about where our talent acquisition team finds the best talent so we can scale the efforts on that channel and stop wasting time on the others that provide little to no value.

Recruiting managers who want to understand where their best hires are being sourced will fail if they only rely on what the ATS platforms out there can provide.

Your ATS cannot track the Employee Life

Most ATS platforms track the employee life cycle until they say “I do”. Sure, the ATS is most likely plugged into your HRIS and payroll system to onboard but we should see more.

Only tracking the candidate life cycle is a pitfall of many talent acquisition strategies. Without tracking the vital information following the “I do” can create an endless cycle of recruiting for the same position multiple times a year. Not only is this a waste of recruiting resources but also a waste of company investment.

If ATS platforms tracked the entire employee life cycle, recruiters could learn which employees stay and are successful so they can replicate the success.

ATS Platforms cannot tell you where your bottlenecks are

The recruiting process has bottlenecks just like any normal business process. The key to running a lean and efficient talent acquisition strategy is to know where those bottlenecks are and eliminate them.

Last year, I spent a weekend downloading raw data out of our ATS to chart the candidate journey. We had received feedback from managers that the process was taking too long and had candidates who complained about the lag in the process as well. Rather than being able to go to my ATS and clicking on a menu to find the number of days a candidate spent in each part of the journey, I had to download the raw data in excel and write complicated formulas to provide me the answer I needed.

I’m obsessed with the experience our hiring managers and candidates have but unfortunately, I do not know of an ATS that shares this obsession. After spending hours getting the data in a format I could use and creating a dashboard, the bottlenecks jumped right off the dashboard. I learned the feedback loop from managers was one huge bottleneck (average time for feedback was roughly 20 days) and the period of time from when a candidate interviewed with the hiring team to receiving an offer (another 20 days).

This information helped spark the idea for some of the basic tenets of Sprint Recruiting. When we implemented the beta versions of this methodology, I had to continuously go in, download the raw data, and analyze it to see if the Sprint Recruiting process was helping or hurting our efforts to enhance the manager and candidate experience.

It would have been amazing to have an ATS do this for me.


If we compared recruiting to flying a plane, our ATS would be our navigation panel. Could you imagine flying with only the limited information your ATS provides you? Or better yet, could you imagine downloading raw data from your navigation system and manually creating a dashboard to make sure you are going the right way?

The ATS platform company that creates an ATS to provide easy analysis of every major aspect of the recruiting process and employee life cycle would have a command on the market. The Talent Acquisition function is loaded with data that should be readily available to recruiters to help maximize recruiting efforts and shareholder value.

Unfortunately, it may take a while for the ATS industry to catch up! If you find yourself in need of a great analytical platform, you should definitely look into firms like Visier that specialize in making HR data easy.

Importance of Focus-Today’s most valuable resource

I’ve always been told that time is the most valuable resource but I’ve learned the true invaluable resource is FOCUS.

Just as an example-I’ve attempted to write this article at least seven times today but have stopped to take a call, answer an “urgent” email or handle some other form of focus-sucking action item. Many of us are constantly bombarded with interruptions that drain our focus and we relinquish our ability to be truly effective in our job.

Dr. Jim Taylor, Sports Psychologist and contributor for the HuffPost, suggests focus is is the gateway to business success:

Focus is so important because it is the gateway to all thinking: perception, memory, learning, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. Without good focus, all aspects of your ability to think will suffer. Without focus, you won’t be as effective in your work because if you’re not concentrating on the right things or are distracted, you won’t be capable of getting your work done.

When working through the Sprint Recruiting methodology, the one benefit I kept noticing was the added focus the team and I had on key roles. Rather than simply chasing fires, we began evolving to become more deliberate and tactical in our recruiting efforts. Our time to fill decreased as we began focusing on a limited number of key roles to “move the needle”.

I began taking this notion of focus into my personal life as well. I have been using the time blocking method discussed in numerous books to chart my week. I’ve reintroduced ToDoist in my routine to help dump those pesky items that come to mind so I can keep my focus and still remain productive. At the end of the week, I’ve begun leveraging a weekly review to help me do a brain dump of everything that went well that week so I can find ways to scale these practices going forward. I also spend some time identifying what didn’t work so I can create a plan to avoid these pitfalls the following week.

With only a minor tweak or two, I have been able to cut down on the noise of life and focus. Not only have I seen an increase in productivity but I have also experienced a decline in mental exhaustion at the end of the day.

So if you feel a little overwhelmed with life, try working on your focus. Start small and maybe work in bursts during the day, only an hour or two to ease into the practice. You may become addicted to the progress you make!


Recruiting Lessons from the Game of Thrones

I am a total geek when it comes to Game of Thrones. The characters, the intertwined plot, the twists I never see coming and the dragons…. yeah, I’m all in when it comes to the series. To celebrate one of my favorite obsessions, I’d like to share recruiting lessons from the Game of Thrones.

Recruit for skill, not pedigree

The Game of Thrones series is wrought with heroes who have humble beginnings. One of my favorite character developments, Jon Snow, was known as the bastard of the Stark family but has become the hero we all knew he could be. Davos was born of the slums but is a brilliant tactician and political advisor.

Some hiring managers spend so much effort recruiting for pedigree they overlook the amazing potential candidates possess with more humble education or experience. I worked with an IT client who only wanted to interview developers who had graduated from MIT or another Ivy League school. Unfortunately, they missed out on some great candidates I found who had been through a two year degree program or a local developer training firm. In my opinion, these candidates were hungrier and more agile than those the firm decided to hire.

Candidates are drawn to a great brand story

The Dragon Queen is perhaps one of the most influential characters in Game of Thrones. There are so many recruiting lessons from the Game of Thrones involving this dynamic leader, but let’s focus on how she’s able to recruit so many to her cause.

Daenerys‘s personal brand draws countless followers. She empowers everyone, regardless of birthright or rank to her cause and her reputation spreads through the land.

The brand that tells an authentic, empowering story will draw the right candidates. Think of the Googles, Zappos and other notable firms whose brands attract more candidates than they can hire. Leveraging recruiting focused content marketing can help tell your company’s story and draw fans, not just candidates who need a job.

Don’t always depend on your “Dragons” in recruiting

Game of Thrones would be just another fantasy series if it were not for the dragons. As every episode draws closer to the finale, fans have become more in love with the three dragons. If you’re like me, you felt sure the dragons would promise a crushing defeat to any rival on the battlefield.

SPOILER ALERT

During this season, we’ve watched painfully as two of the three dragons have been murdered by the enemy. These scary, yet inspiring, beings were not as powerful as we may have thought. Now, with only one dragon left, many of us are wondering how Daenerys and her army will defeat King’s Landing.

The recruiting lesson from Game of Thrones? Don’t depend on the size of your company, your massive recruiting budget or any other dragon you have in your arsenal. Companies that depend on such will ultimately be taken down by a competitor.

Instead, you should leverage your grassroots efforts including content marketing, employee referrals, employee testimonials and other such tools.

Let your employees be your ultimate recruiters

Another lesson from Daenerys’s rise to power is the relentless recruiting machine she creates-well not her directly. When Jon Snow was leery of joining forces with the Dragon Queen, it was her people who convinced him. Her trusted advisor tells Jon, “She is the Queen we chose.”

The most authentic stories are the ones people are drawn to and who better to tell this story than the people already working for you? Employees should not only be encouraged to share their experience in their networks but should also be part of the interview process. Allow them to help sell the opportunity and judge candidates for cultural fit.


There are so many recruiting lessons from the Game of Thrones. I could write about ten more lessons but unfortunately, I’m writing this blog right before tonight’s episode airs so….. I’ll be signing off now.

If you would like to learn more about Sprint RecruitingClick here to join our mailing list. You’ll get premier access to:

  • Get a preview of each chapter as it’s written
  • Get recruiting tips and hacks
  • Resources including graphics, reports and training
  • Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.