5 Ways to Keep Your Best Recruiters from Leaving

January 15, 2020

Photo of man leaving a building with his backpack

With competition for talent heating up, recruiters are becoming a hot commodity. In fact, demand for recruiting professionals has risen 63% since 2016, according to data from The Future of Recruiting Report

This means companies will have to do more to retain their best recruiters if they want to compete for the talent they need. Unfortunately, while many recruiters love their job, recruiter turnover is notoriously high. A recent analysis of companies in Australia and New Zealand uncovered a 26.9% turnover rate for in-house recruiters — and that’s far from the only region facing this challenge. 

As a business, your people are your most valuable resource — and the recruiters who find, attract, and hire those people are essential. To avoid losing your best recruiters, here are five steps you can take to improve recruiter retention and ensure your team feels appreciated and supported.

1. Eliminate unnecessary busywork 

If you ask your recruiters what aspects of their job they love the most, they’re unlikely to say something like “scheduling interviews” or “filling out spreadsheets.” Most recruiters love the human part of their work — meeting people, telling stories, and changing lives. The more time they have to spend on tasks like those, the better.

You can help your recruiters fall in love with their work all over again by taking steps to reduce the repetitive, manual activities that clutter their days. For example, if your team spends a lot of time keeping track of candidates as they move through the pipeline, adopting a powerful applicant tracking system (ATS) like LinkedIn Talent Hub will allow them to consolidate all their essential data in one easy-to-access place. Or if they find they’re getting bogged down in a particular stage of the hiring process, look for ways to eliminate unnecessary steps, like reducing the number of interviews per candidate. 

By giving your team more time to focus on the tasks they enjoy and can add the most value to, they’ll be more engaged in their work. And since they’ll be dealing with fewer tedious, time-consuming tasks, they’ll be more productive too

2. Set more realistic hiring goals

If your recruiters feel that the hiring goals they’re given are unrealistic, they may be frustrated that they lack control over setting them in the first place. And if they struggle to meet their goals month after month, this can have a big impact on their engagement and morale. 

By working with your team to set hiring goals, rather than just handing them down, you can create more realistic targets that still inspire your recruiters to push themselves. To get started, try using the handy calculators built by sourcing expert Glen Cathey. These tools allow you to gain a better understanding of what’s possible, so you can work with your team to adjust targets or allocate additional resources. Your team will feel more engaged and invested in the process — and they’ll appreciate that their voice was heard. 

You can also take a leaf out of DocuSign’s book and account for different degrees of difficulty when assessing performance and setting goals for individual recruiters. If recruiters responsible for filling the most challenging positions are ranked on the same scale as everyone else, they may feel their performance is unfairly measured and their targets are impossible to meet, hurting motivation. To avoid this, DocuSign created a progressive point system that takes nuances like difficulty into account. Armed with an accurate view of everyone’s efforts, you can offer support when it’s needed — and give credit where credit’s due. 

3. Help them build stronger relationships with hiring managers

The recruiter-hiring manager relationship is often built around one person giving orders and the other following them. When it’s a true partnership, however, everyone gets more out of the relationship. 

The Future of Recruiting Report predicts that advising business leaders and hiring managers is going to become an even more important skill for recruiters over the next five years. So try to give your recruiters more opportunities to work with their hiring managers, rather than for them. 

Encourage hiring managers to be more available when recruiters need them and to take a more active role in supporting recruiting efforts. This might involve going over requirements before the recruiter writes a job description to ensure they’re on the same page about must-haves versus nice-to-haves, or having hiring managers reach out to promising candidates themselves to increase response rates

You can also give recruiters the chance to provide feedback about their hiring managers, like rating them on responsiveness and interviewing skills. At Netflix, recruiters and hiring managers even share feedback directly, allowing them to build more open and honest relationships and to learn from one another. 

4. Offer learning and development opportunities for career growth 

Learning and development initiatives are a great way to attract candidates and keep your employees’ skills up to date. Your recruiters want to learn and develop too. And if you can’t offer them opportunities to do that, they will start looking elsewhere. 

The Future of Recruiting Report found that skills like data analysis and strategic planning are becoming increasingly relevant for recruiters, so give your team access to any internal training resources you have. You can also use online courses like those available through LinkedIn Learning to help them boost their skills. 

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Related: 5 Skills Every Recruiter Should Learn in 2020

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And to help your recruiters’ career growth at your company, try introducing them to potential mentors and giving them more face time with executives. This can help them envision their path to leadership more clearly, while also giving them a better idea of what they’ll need to do to take their career to the next level. Make sure that these opportunities are distributed equally, however, as it can be harder for some employees to access this support than others.

5. Show them you’re thankful

Everyone wants to feel appreciated at work, and your recruiters are no exception. Recruiting can sometimes feel like a thankless job, especially after a great candidate turns down an offer or a hiring manager seems unsatisfied with a hire — but these moments should be the exception, not the rule. 

To let your recruiters know that their hard work is recognized and appreciated, never miss an opportunity to show you're thankful. Even seemingly small gestures like a written “thank you” note from a hiring manager or a shout-out in a company-wide email can increase a recruiter’s job satisfaction dramatically, helping them brush off the less-than-perfect moments and remember what’s important. 

If possible, get new hires involved in saying thanks. Recruiters know they change lives, but seeing the real impact of their work first hand can be incredibly powerful. For example, sending recruiters a little update or video about how the employees they hired are doing can make them feel more connected to their work and to the organization’s mission.

If retaining recruiters isn’t a priority for your company, it should be

Only 34% of the recruiting professionals surveyed in The Future of Recruiting Report said that retaining top recruiters would be a major priority over the next five years. As competition for recruiters grows fiercer, however, the companies that take steps to hold onto their recruiters will have a real advantage. 

So try these strategies for starters — and while your competitors are scrambling to hire more recruiters, your team will be happy, motivated, and hard at work finding your next great hire.

For more insights into how recruiting is changing, download The Future of Recruiting Report today.

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