Recruiting Is a Team Sport in the Digital Age

Recruiting the right people is still one of the best ways for firms to forge a competitive advantage, but it’s a team effort in the digital work environment.

Soccer coaches understand that star players — typically the goal scorers — are important, but to win matches, you need the whole team to work together effectively. Even gifted attackers can’t score goals if they can’t get the ball or are forced to spend their time playing defense.

In today’s high-pressure recruiting environment, organizations that seek improved quality of hires need more than star players — they require an entire team.

Recruiting can become a team sport, less dependent on high-cost, in-demand, star players

For some time, the star players of recruitment have been “talent advisors” — influential recruiters whose in-depth knowledge of the organization and deep expertise about external labor markets earned them significant roles in informing staffing decisions.

Digitalization has challenged even the best talent advisors, though, by creating new hiring needs, changing candidate behaviors and rising competition for scarce talent, adding new dimensions to the recruiter role.

Today, talent advisors must be able to gather and analyze information about labor market dynamics — what competitors are doing and the career drivers of top talent — while simultaneously managing an increasingly complex process involving data, stakeholders and technology.

Read more: 5 Places You Didn’t Think to Look for Digital Talent

Talent advisors juggle a huge number of activities and simply don’t have the capacity to source niche talent while also deftly influencing hiring managers and candidates. The shortage of experienced recruiters and greater hiring complexity has increased the time to fill vacant positions from 63 to 70 days over the past three years, according to CEB, now Gartner, data.

New roles are emerging as organizations think about how recruiter performance can benefit from additional support

Slow hiring means the organization risks losing top talent and adds immediate costs to the business, including lost productivity, higher risk of burnout for existing employees and increased spend on temporary staffing. Relying solely on talent advisors has therefore become a costly and — for many organizations — unrealistic strategy.

Transform Your Recruiting Model

Learn to leverage labor market analytics

Watch Webinar

Unlock capacity and optimize time spend

To reduce time spent on hiring, organizations have to revisit the tasks that fall within the recruiter’s scope. Often, transactional tasks such as screening take up the bulk of recruiters’ time, leaving little capacity for activities that provide strategic value to business leaders (like forecasting).

It’s important that recruiters have both the capability and capacity to be effective

Heads of HR need to redesign roles for top recruiters, applying lean principles to understand where support is needed most and eliminating distractions. Lean analysis also identifies waste in HR processes and determines which recruiter activities truly create value.

HR leaders can then design roles within their teams to ensure team members focus on executing a narrow set of critical activities without risking the quality of service. They can also develop expertise more quickly, and recruiter training can be more targeted.

Today’s new recruiting team

With so many competing forces demanding recruiters’ attention, having a team that will support them has become increasingly necessary. It’s important that recruiters have both the capability and capacity to be effective.

For example, a talent advisor requires labor market data for decision making, but sourcing and collecting data takes a lot of time. This is where an analytics expert would add value to the recruiting team.

Supporting players provide capabilities that back up talent advisors and the recruiting function as a whole. New roles are emerging as organizations think about how recruiter performance can benefit from additional support.

By embracing these emerging roles in recruiting, providing support where it is needed most and coordinating handoffs between key players, recruiting can become a team sport, less dependent on high-cost, in-demand, star players.

Gartner for HR Leaders clients can read more about Talent Advisor: A Team Sport.