May 6, 2016

How Much Time Do Recruiters Spend Not Filling Jobs?


Despite the fact that I’ve run a successful recruitment agency for more than a decade, it never ceases to amaze me the amount of time recruiters waste on non-essential activities (that is, things other than registering jobs and filling them).

As recruiting becomes more competitive, keeping your consultants laser-focused on the activities that lead them to placements is the Holy Grail of owning/managing a recruitment agency.

In meetings with my team members over the years, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard “No one is getting back to me” from recruiters who kept on calling the same people over and over!

Other classic excuses were, “I’m trying to find people to call” or “I’m trying to track down the hiring manager.”

There are a number of other excuses routinely offered by recruiters to avoid their core function: filling jobs. There are definitely activities that are associated with recruitment that may help in filling jobs, but I believe many recruiters use them as crutches to avoid getting on the phone and focusing on what will make them money.

Based on my experience, I’ve long had a gut feeling about the types of activities that recruiters perform that I would deem as inefficient uses of their time. But was I correct?

Armed with a simple survey and a phone, I contacted nearly four dozen recruiters (26 junior recruiters, 21 senior ones), asking each, “Which tasks take up most of your time, aside from directly registering and filling jobs?” I also asked them to outline the amount of time per week they spend on these tasks.

The results shocked me.

Junior/Intermediate Recruiters:

27 percent of time spent researching new business/client contacts

– 23 percent of time spent on searching internal databases and reviewing previous candidate activity

– 20 percent of time spent on “job chasing” – tracking job boards for new roles to work on

– 13 percent of time spent prospecting/cold calling

– 10 percent of time spent in meetings/planning tasks for the week

– 5 percent of time spent on socializing/coffee breaks

Senior Recruiters

– 54 percent of time spent maintaining current client and candidate relationships

– 15 percent of time spent searching internal databases and reviewing previous candidate activity

– 15 percent of time spent prospecting for new business

– 11 percent of time spent managing/overseeing/training junior recruiters

– 4 percent of time spent on other business development projects

SleeperThe specific tasks recruiters are spending their time on didn’t surprise me. However, the amount of time recruiters spent each week trying to figure out who to call or what to prioritize was staggering!

In a 40-hour work week, junior recruiters are effectively spending half their time (18-23 hours per week) trying to figure out who they should reach out to. For senior recruiters, the majority of time (estimated at 12-15 hours per week) is spent chasing the same people.

Granted, the sample size is small, and there are nuances that haven’t been covered. But the brief survey did confirm what I’d known for years: Recruiters spend an exorbitant amount of time on activities not directly related to filling jobs.

It’s worth asking this question about your own business: How much time do you think your recruiters spend not directly filling jobs, and what is it costing your business every week?

Sound off in the comments!

A version of this article originally appeared on the HIRABL blog.

Jon Guidi is the CRO of HIRABL.

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