Correctly Orienting the Recruiting Org to the Business
Leaders of engineering organizations must design their organization in such a way that the recruiters and those involved in the hiring process have a vested interest in the success of the organizations they support. At the moment, leaders seem to ignore the recruitment and intake process, leaving it up to HR. These leaders neglect that part of the business because they don’t realize how critical it is to the success of the enterprise. That is an insane approach that directly comprises the ability of the organization to do business.
There are two problems that are prevalent in the organization of most companies. The first issue is that the recruiting arm of the business is separate from organizations they support. The closest shared owner is usually the CEO. This separation divorces the goals of the recruiting organization from the aims of the business. The second problem is individuals in the recruiting organization are rewarded based on getting engineers in the door. Not on the quality of those engineers or their longevity, the two things that matter to the success of the business. Low-quality people kill businesses, optimizing for getting bodies in the door is an excellent way to lower the hiring bar and reduce the capacity of the company to execute.
Having the Right Owners
HR shouldn’t own recruiting. Recruiting is not an HR function, its a function of the business. Recruiters should be as connected to the organization they serve as possible. They should share the same manager and the same goals as the org they serve. What this means in practice depends on the individual companies. It may mean that there is one recruiter to 5 or 6 teams with the recruiters and teams reporting to a senior manager. It may mean that there is a group of recruiters for a division of 150-200 people with the teams and recruiters reporting to the same director. What it should not be is any C-level executive.
Rewarding Recruiters for the Right Think
As an industry, we reward Recruiters based on the quantity of candidates that they hire. Bodies in the door are not what drives a company’s success. Recruiting and retaining high-quality individuals is what drives the success of the enterprise. Recruiters should be incented based on that outcome. The annual performance of all candidates that the recruiter has brought into the company since the recruiter was hired, along with the turnover of those candidates should directly drive the performance rating and related compensation changes and bonuses of the recruiter.
Pairing Recruiters with Engineers
Finally, recruiters are not usually experts in the domain they where they work. A leader should pair recruiters with engineers during the sourcing of candidates. Pairing recruiters and engineers implies that a significant part of the responsibilities of the Engineer is hiring. Some percentage of every engineers time should be spent in sourcing, interviewing and hiring candidates with the support of dedicated, rightly incentivized recruiting resources.