Corporate Recruiting Today: The Pandora’s Box Of Hiring @zenithtalentCorporate recruiters and HR leaders have it rough these days. Unfilled job openings continue to impact employers, complicated by a scarcity of needed skills. Candidates command more power in choosing their next employers, and they’ve become more selective. The insecurity left in the wake of the recession has made established employees more reluctant to search for new work. Retention is also an issue. Based on current U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures, the average tenure for Millennials is three times shorter than for Boomers. What else dwells in this Pandora’s Box of ills? Research suggests that the hiring process now takes longer than at any time over the past 15 years.

The transactional tactics of matching skills, work experience and compensation to job descriptions no longer bear the same fruits, especially among the younger generations of talent entering the labor market. Finding exceptional talent requires a commitment to launching targeted, marketing-centric recruitment efforts: today’s job seekers aren’t poring over want ads or searching traditional job boards. And because these next-generation workers have placed a greater emphasis on an employer’s culture and vision, branding becomes an integral part of those campaigns. So as new complications sprout to dot the employment landscape, increasing complexities in the recruiting process further contribute to the challenges facing hiring managers.

Internal recruiters often struggle singly to support multiple managers and departments, with limited resources, sourcing tools, talent pools and networks. For employers, times may seem bleak and miserable. However, it’s important to remember that Pandora’s Box didn’t just contain a world of woes – at the bottom of the vessel was Hope. Some businesses still cling to the idea that staffing curators exist solely to place temp workers. The reality is that with their resources, experience, and reach, they have the ideal hiring solutions for any class of worker. In short, they represent hope for beleaguered employers.

It takes a very big village to hire a candidate today

How big a village? According to a recent study by Jobvite, as reported by John Zappe in ERE Media, it can take 536 people to “to get from the top of a corporate recruiting funnel to a hire.” The following figures were used to arrive at that pretty startling conclusion:

  • Only 11 percent of the visitors to a company’s career site will apply for an open position.
  • Of that number, about 59 applications per job will be submitted.
  • The percentages contract as the funnel narrows, producing an average of 0.2 percent from top to bottom.

“In other words,” Zappe notes, “to get someone in the door, a company needs 536 visitors for every job posting.” The funnel metrics published by Jobvite also show a steep rise in average time to hire. Consider two examples — a small business of up to 250 employees and a mid-sized organization with between 500 and 2,500 individuals.


Small Company

Mid-sized Company

Avg. applicants per requisition



Applications to interviews



Interviews to offers



Top to bottom



Average time to hire (in days)



In 2010, the average time to hire was about 12.6 days. Now, it appears to have increased by more than three times. Although nearly two-thirds of companies outsource some aspect of their recruiting – usually project-based, seasonal or temporary placements – larger firms have realized that staffing professionals can address their comprehensive hiring needs. Yet data would suggest that businesses of any size should consider bringing in skilled staffing professionals to take over the work.

Speed is of the essence in hiring

In a new survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), nearly half of all respondents who outsourced their recruiting to staffing curators cited a pressing need to hire quickly. Another 36 percent said they moved away from internal efforts to gain access to a staffing provider’s talent pool and recruiting expertise.

Without the dedicated and focused resources, pre-screened talent benches, recruiting networks and tools that staffing curators possess, corporate recruiters stand at a disadvantage. According to Glassdoor, all of this adds even more time to the hiring process: “Telephone interviews add 6.8 to 8.2 days; group panel interviews add 5.6 to 6.8 days; one-on-one interviews add 4.1 to 5.3 days; background checks add 3.1 to 3.4 days; and so on. In every case, additional layers of candidate screening add to hiring times.”

How dedicated staffing professionals produce higher quality talent faster:

They are devoted to recruiting

A staffing curator’s professionals are 100-percent committed to the processes of sourcing and recruiting. They generally have fewer assignments to focus on than internal recruiters, and their compensation is predicated on performance, not activity. This intrinsic motivation drives them to provide superior candidates and customer service. They’re also unencumbered by the demands placed on corporate recruiters who may be pressed to make hasty hiring decisions to meet deadlines. Staffing professionals have the time corporate recruiters don’t to invest in canvassing and marketing to the best candidates.

On average, staffing curators spend 80 to 90 percent of their efforts developing networks and courting passive talent. Corporate recruiters, conversely, often have time enough only to source active candidates.

They immerse themselves in discovery and planning

Staffing curators are adept at creating performance profiles that define and sell the job – its rewards, opportunities and challenges. They partner with hiring managers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the role: how it relates to the work, how it fits the client’s culture, how it can shape sourcing initiatives and how it will encourage the right candidates to apply.

They engage, entice and interact with a wider network of talent

Skilled professionals are, according to industry figures, being considered by at least three competing organizations. They have their choice of employers these days. They have the latitude to reject non-competitive offers, lackluster employment brands, incompatible values, and environments that don’t convey a sense of commitment to workers. Staffing curators talk to prospective candidates – both active and passive – to identify talent who will be suitable for current and future positions with a variety of clients.

  • They determine the business objectives of their clients and the career goals of their talent, developing communities of meshing values that support both needs.
  • They make the candidate experience the foundation on which everything in the community is built.
  • They target communications to their audience, using emails, social media, newsletters, career sites and other resources that are the most accessible, meaningful and preferred among their community members.
  • Elite recruiting professionals share information on career advancement strategies, personal branding tips, upcoming opportunities, client business cultures, employees, perks, compensation, innovations and more. They develop and curate these messages through a variety of media, including blogs, podcasts, and videos.

They partner with hiring managers and talent

Staffing curators know how to navigate the needs of multiple stakeholders in the hiring process: hiring managers, procurement leaders and the compliance-driven members of HR. When candidates run the gauntlet of HR, they often feel no sense of personal rapport, connection to the organization’s vision or principles, or active communication. Instead, professionals frequently lament, they take away only the basic requirements for employment, rules of compliance, codes of conduct, and an overview of the compensation structure.

Staffing curators don’t just say that hiring is one of the most important activities for successful companies, they embody that attitude. They speak directly with talent, treat them as priorities, keep in touch with them at regular intervals, follow through when they promise to, and treat every candidate as though they’re being recruited aggressively by competitors.

They have robust networks

Elite staffing curators understand that talent doesn’t simply congregate on job boards; potential talent can be found and enticed anywhere, even when they’re not actively seeking new ventures.

  • Staffing professionals tap into alumni networks, professional recommendations from related associations, and solicit referrals from niche associations where particular talent are likely to gather.
  • Staffing curators join relevant industry groups and subscribe to targeted lists, directories an community organizations.
  • They identify talent using “Clever Boolean” techniques combined with the advanced search filters and data mining.
  • Recruiters at elite staffing agencies concentrate on networking-based strategies. Their online and offline sources are as diverse as the talent pools they develop, built from a combination of job boards, social media, online marketplaces, associations, professional directories, special interest groups, and more.

A new hope for all hiring needs

Recruiting talent isn’t just time-consuming and challenging, it requires a different approach. Today’s candidates are different, and so are their philosophies, goals, motivations and job-seeking processes. Attracting top talent to an organization demands new hiring models and sourcing techniques that will match high-performing assets to crucial business needs – in shorter times and with less overhead costs.

Staffing providers offer businesses so much more than temporary talent. They excel at direct hire placements, executive search, Statement of Work (SOW) contracting and all other categories of labor – both permanent and contingent. And their time to fill rates are less than 30 days for traditional workers. For contingent workers, about a week. The numbers speak for themselves. Maybe it’s time to consider handing over the reins of your hiring to professionals who’ve committed themselves to it with superior results.