Executive Recruiter Efficiency

Via Marc, I was led to a blog post by David Manaster on recruiter efficiency. He reports that “It would seem that (on average) the optimal workload for a recruiter is between 11 and 20 open positions. ”

I’d argue that the main reason for this phenomenon is that most recruiters are using only the traditional toolkit: Excel, Word, email, phone, to keep track of their applicants. Nitron couldn’t function effectively if we were this inefficient. John Younger, CEO of recruiting process outsourcer Accolo, observed:

I actually find this research to be right in line with our surveys for the typical recruiter today. We have found the optimal workload to be between 4 and 18 unique full-time jobs simultaneously. At 18 or more, the applicant screening, follow-up and tracking take a severe dive. The astounding part is that this is the same recruiter workload of 1963! Think about it. What else in our lives has not budged a bit in productivity in over 40 years! This is the time before e-mail, job boards, the internet and Starbucks. The core reason is that the recruiter today operates in exactly the same model as the early 1960’s. All we have done is pave the cowpath. It gets worse… the hiring manager service and applicant experience have actually diminished with all the technology noise in the middle. There are new models emerging, but there is an army of people invested in keeping things the same.

According to a staffing.org survey of 2,294 companies, during 2005, the national average Recruiting Efficiency Index was 12.3%. REI is calculated by dividing total recruiting costs, including recruiter salaries & overhead, applicant tracking, advertising fees, etc. and dividing it by total compensation recruited. Accolo reports an REI of under 7% for clients using Accolo’s system. Among the drivers for that efficiency:
– much higher per-recruiter workload
– use of online networks for recruiting (more on that topic)