http://wp.me/pS7VR-1l – Follow my blog
Last week I read a blog that stated recruitment outsourcing
has increased 4.5% this year. This is
after a year of many recruitment outsourcers failing, restructuring or
redefining how they do business. On the
corporate side, this is no different. What
lends to the confusion is as a buyer you have many choices around what you get
to outsource when it comes to recruiting.
You can outsource: Sourcing, Screening, an entire process, vendor management,
contingent workforce processes or a blending of each of these. As a provider of these services, you get to
chose what your offering is, what is the market you are targeting and how you
are going to sell best practices?
Each of these worlds are colliding quickly, both wanting to
solve a problem and succeed at the need.
Yet buyers of these services need to understand why these services fail
and adequately prepare for success.
Sellers of services know your strengths and honor them. Your business will grow as a result.
So when does recruitment outsourcing fail. I will break this
down from the buyer and seller perspective to provide some level of clarity and
1. Not preparing clarity in understanding of
the process and how organizational culture and stakeholders impact the
success. One of my favorite clients
was a company that was in need of hiring sales executives. Their desire was to
outsource the entire sales recruiting process.
This process was also a huge source of pain for the HR leadership, because
the organization had an unrealistically high bar for what they determined was “qualified
talent”. This was compounded by a
culture of change, where their competitors were paying more and seeking less
and managers inside the company were just beginning to understand the impact.
During the first presentation, our team solutioned a thoughtful
process that we were hoping to deploy with some caveats around what we did not
know. We presented a dashboard that
clearly articulated how we would monitor this from a metrics perspective.
The truth of this situation was, the RFP asked for capabilities
yet it was void of the cultural and data related details that would lead us to
success. The client came back to us and
shared the limitations and the outcome resulted in a more expensive solution,
higher level recruiters, clearer defined operational metrics and a higher touch
process. This was not the going in
Learning’s to prevent a solution from failing: The
culture and current state assessment of an organization is important to provide
the providers you select, so they can adequately design a solution that
encompasses the right process, the right level of recruiters and operational
metrics to manage the effectiveness.
Solely focusing on a low price solution, would have resulted
in the RPO to deploy a transactional process that is supported by lower level
recruiters. This process would have failed, because they needed a higher level
of recruiter to consult with both candidates and hiring managers.
Due to the complexity inside the organization, performance
and ramp up expectations needed to be adequately discussed to manage everyone’s
Just because the process is similar, HOW this process is
executed will vary depending upon culture, technology, organizational
complexity and volumes required.
2. Outsourcing parts of the process, the more
changes of hands the greater the risk. Another area of recruitment that is commonly
outsourced is the sourcing and screening, than the provider hands off the
candidates to the internal recruiter. There are organizations such as Hirevelocity
and Talenrise that take on these types of project sourcing and recruitment initiatives. The
recruitment outsourcing term associated with this service is commonly known as
QAI or qualified and interested.
These types of firms get engaged when someone says “we need
more qualified talent”. There are two
methods of response. 1st
method is assessing WHY and looking at the data to see if it is a talent volume
issue, talent quality issue or a recruitment process issue. 2nd method which I see more is
throw more bodies at it. This method has
a higher degree of failure, because the current state process has not been
analyzed. Let’s provide some insight around
how this may fail:
1. The buyer does not provide the outsourcer access to their
ATS system and does not count talent that is already inside the technology.
2. What is determined as qualified by hiring managers is not
clearly articulated and described in the requisition process.
3. The provider hands off to the internal recruiter and
either the internal recruiter perceive the external provider is not providing
enough or the external provider perceives the recruiter to not taking action on
the QAI candidates.
4. No project oversight to monitor the data in the process
to refine the program and the roles each party plays.
5. Compliance risk –
such that the provider has limited access into the system and candidate cannot
be tracked or appropriately dispositioned.
6. The company has
the provider submit candidates through the search firm portal to track
candidates and it confuses the business process that is already in play.
Now that I have provided some insight around how the buyers
can impact the success, let’s talk about the providers.
I worked with some solutions architects who came out of HRO
as well as Contingent Workforce Management.
The processes deployed as the majority in both situations are
transactional. There is not much gray matter in the Business Process Layer when
it comes to deploying full time recruitment solutions. The word “depends” or the phrase “it depends
upon the situation” does not come up as much as “it depends upon the industry
section – which typically drives its own set of nuances.
The failure point is the provider or the solutions
consultants with these providers would present all solutions as transactional
processing. Technology would be
configured to handling the masses and the process would have desk level
procedures that can be handed off to unskilled but highly trained workers. Their solutions tended to miss the nuances of
industry, position type and level, more complex processes to include:
professional, college, retiree, alumni and the associated vendor support that
is needed to effectively attract this type of talent. Finally the pricing was lower than what is
needed to deliver an effective solution.
1. The solution sales
team did not have enough knowledge of the variety of processes and a true
understanding of how these processes break.
2. They priced the solution lower than what it costs to
deliver, therefore impacting the delivery quality and creating turnover in the
3. The focus was too much on the technology solving the
problem vs. understanding how people, process and technology need to interact.
4. Limited focus on the compliance requirements that
naturally slow down or create inefficiencies in a recruitment process.
5. Focus is on selling a deal cheap, winning it, than fixing
it later. Everyone loses.
We all want to see recruitment outsourcing succeed, because
it makes good business sense. As a
matter of fact, it creates job security for everyone engaged because there are choices
in career paths. However buyers, know what you need and how it impacts what you
are buying. Recruitment outsourcing is
more than just transactional processing therefore it makes it the most
misunderstood solution in the industry today. Sellers of services hire really
good solution consultants and train the sales people. The
reality is: recruiting is a people process that has a technological backbone.
As long as we have people impacting the effectiveness of the process then it
will never be transactional only, it will constantly need to be assessed and refined.
Tracey Friend, firstname.lastname@example.org , Snr