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Recruiter burnout: Why it’s happening and what you can do

Talent attraction and retention consultant Roberta Matuson shares her expert insights on the extra burden of workload facing your hiring team and how you can alleviate this problem.

Recruiter burnout

Managers are complaining that HR is useless.

Your recruiters are telling you they can’t handle any more job requisitions.

Your head of talent just gave notice.

Sound familiar?

Could you possibly be responsible for burning out your hiring team?

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the national average across all industries and employer sizes is somewhere between 30-40 open requisitions per recruiter at any one time. Sounds like a reasonable number, right?

Before you agree, it’s essential to understand that this data point doesn’t tell the whole story of what may contribute to recruiter burnout.

The following are other factors to consider when determining what a reasonable workload is for your recruitment team and the effectiveness of your recruitment efforts.

1. Unemployment rates

When the unemployment rate is high, more applicants will lead to a more robust applicant pipeline and an increased offer-acceptance rate. The time to fill rates, affording a recruiter time to manage a greater number of job openings, will also decline.

However, the opposite is true as well. When we have low unemployment rates, which we’re experiencing right now, employers are seeing significantly fewer qualified applicants, which means it’s taking considerably more time and effort to fill positions. So, in essence, we’re asking those responsible for recruiting to produce the same results with no additional support.

2. Absence of a dedicated recruiting team

Many organizations don’t have dedicated recruiting teams, which means that many HR folks are under enormous pressure to fill jobs while balancing the rest of their responsibilities. At the same time, those who work for companies with limited budgets are told they cannot pay recruitment fees. If this is what’s happening in your business, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

If you continue to ask your HR team to do more with less, you’ll soon be in the unenviable position of recruiting a new HR department. You want people to feel good about their work. For many, that means having the necessary resources to do their jobs well, such as a budget for recruitment fees and approval to hire a contract recruiter.

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3. Lack of resources available

We briefly touched upon resources available (i.e., budget for recruitment fees, headcount for contract recruiters, etc.) However, there are more factors to examine to ensure you’re up for the hiring challenges that 2022 will bring.

Have you updated your talent strategy? If you haven’t, then no wonder why your people are frustrated. Working off a talent plan established pre-pandemic is the equivalent of reading the user manual for your old Sony Trinitron when trying to figure out how to operate your smart TV. Throw that plan (and that manual) into the trash and establish a relevant strategy, given the times we are in.

Do you have an effective employee referral program? The key word here is effective. Many of you have programs in place that your employees aren’t aware of. Now’s the time to rebrand those programs to ensure they are top of mind in your organization. Do you have a robust social media recruiting program? If not, your recruiting team may be working way harder than they should be.

4. High employee turnover

Most people don’t understand the full impact of high levels of employee turnover on attracting candidates and filling jobs. It’s no secret which companies churn employees, which means that your people must work twice as hard to land a candidate as a competitor with low turnover.

You can’t go back and change history. However, you can take immediate steps to stop the churn. First, you can find out the real reason why people are leaving. Many people on the way out the door say they are leaving for a “better opportunity.” But what you really want to know is why they considered a better opportunity in the first place.

Next, you want to have your managers meet with their teams and ask the following questions:

  • What were your hopes and dreams when you took this job?
  • Are you advancing towards your dreams?
  • What can I do to help you get there?

Remind managers to listen for those areas where they can support their team member’s wish to achieve a desired state of being.

5. Underutilized resources

The quickest way to help your recruiters fill jobs is to turn your entire team into a hiring machine. Every person in your organization should be responsible for recruiting talent. To make this happen, you must train your people to recruit and select for success.

These are some of the ways to reduce the burnout and stress recruiters are feeling these days and suggestions on how your organization can better fill jobs rapidly with suitable candidates. The next step is up to you. Do something now to ensure your hiring team is refreshed and ready to face the challenges 2022 will bring.

Roberta Matuson, The Talent Maximizer® and President of Matuson Consulting, helps world-class organizations like General Motors, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and Microsoft hire and retain world-class talent. Roberta is the author of six books on talent and leadership, including the newly released, Can We Talk? Seven Principles for Managing Difficult Conversations at Work, and Evergreen Talent. Sign up to receive her free newsletter, The Talent Maximizer®. Follow her on Twitter.

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