CXR Pulse Survey: Recruiter Capacity

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“How many requisitions do your recruiters manage monthly, on average? How many do they Close?”

You might as well have asked, "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?"

No one even attempts to answer these questions without first stating, "It depends." The number of variables that follow is infinite. Deciding which variables to pare down to in order to achieve a practical answer is going to differ company by company, job by job, region by region, experience by experience. You get the point.

Second, would an answer to how many openings/recruiter/month even mean something from a decision-making standpoint if you had it?


What would you do differently if you knew that 20.8 is that average number of openings all recruiters are working on (during an average month) regardless of industry, size of company, type of job, difficulty, geography, etc.? What if the average is 20 but the standard deviation is 12 (i.e. ~68% of all recruiters handle between 14 and 38 openings). How would you interpret that bit of skewed complexity?

Third, who cares if a recruiter 'manages' 20 openings if we don't know if he or she 'closed' them?


Is that good? For hourly? For Executives? For an Experienced Recruiter?

We've always answered the question by saying, '28'. And then waiting through the silence that follows until someone clarifies that they are really interested in the answer under specific conditions that they are facing. In which case we go, "Ahhh! I don't know. No one has ever researched that. And what would you do if you had the answer?"

Despite the challenge, this could be one of the most frequently asked questions in TA. Of course, it's the underlying question, "Are we as productive and efficient in managing and closing quality hires as we can be for the resources we have?" that's really at stake.

We are offering no definitive answers here with regards to how many requisitions your recruiters should carry, but we do have some data we recently collected from over 70 large firms that we think interesting... at least to those of you still reading.

Recruiter Capacity: A Lab Report

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The conditions under which we asked employers to respond to our pulse survey were as follows:

  1. Support a company gives its recruiters:  ‘Limited’ versus ‘Substantial’
  2. Job Level: Hourly, Experienced and Executive.
  3. Source Difficulty: A judgment call contrasting Easier/Routine versus Scarce/Complex
  4. Recruiter Experience. 'Less versus More'

A couple insights we noted in the Survey results include:

  • Experience should dictate Level. The cost of highly experienced recruiters being tasked to hire for more common/routine positions may not be an appropriate ROI given that the productivity is not as great.
  • Quality of Hire and other variables that are not assessed may be why (at least we hope so) the added value of Recruiters with more experience is not as different as we supposed it would be.
  • Surprisingly, or maybe not, The level of support for recruiters does have a significant productivity impact for Hourly positions but not for experienced and executive positions.
  • ‘Average’ is an illusion (Death of Average). Standard deviations are enlightening. An employer's only real Benchmark is internal.

What is your take on this data? Would you be interested in a webinar conversation?

Thanks to those who responded to this survey. It is the most comprehensive answer we've ever seen to the question. Feel free to share the survey link with colleagues whether they are members or not-  it is not behind the firewall.



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