Skip to main content

How To Hire For Recruitment Operations

Recruitment Operations is probably one of the most vaguely defined yet most important roles in the Talent function.

Organizations tend to treat it as a sort of jack-of-all-trades position with a focus on data but, without a clear understanding of the potential scope of the role, they can miss out on the outsized impact that it delivers.

Recruitment Operations: what is it?

The larger a recruiting team grows, the more inefficiencies creep in: miscommunication, siloed and repeated work, lack of visibility on performance... to mention just a few areas where recruiters lose time or spend resources on the wrong tasks. That is where the Recruitment Operations specialist comes in.

The core goal of the role is to ensure that recruitment “operations” proceed smoothly and efficiently. How does that happen in practicality? Mostly, by doing the following:

  • Formalizing and tracking all aspects of the recruiting process: from sourcing to nurture to application to interview, and finally to hire or rejection.
  • Ensuring that recruiting teams operate in the most efficient way, mainly by setting up the right tools and removing unnecessary friction in everyday operations.
  • Drawing insights from recruiting data and sharing it with leadership. the needed visibility to make decisions and forecasts.

A quick example

One task of a Recruitment Operations specialist, for example, could be to map out the process of getting a candidate to interview stage: Who first collects the candidate’s information, who decides to pursue the lead, how they hand the candidate off after pre-screening them, who adds them to a talent community, who decides to remove them or to invite them for an interview…

The Operations specialist would then identify

  • where information is lost or delayed, or
  • where two or more people redo the same work.

Next steps would be to advise the team on how to correct those inefficiencies. It could be by setting clear roles for handoff and information sharing, or by setting up tools that smooth the process over.

Recruitment CRMs like Beamery, for example, have automated workflows that move candidates from one stage to another once they hit certain requirements. The Recruitment Operations person would help define those requirements based on the information they have, and set up the process for the rest of the team.

Either way, the result is that the process is faster, and candidates get to interview stage using less recruiter time.

Where does the impact come from?

Certainly, a large part from the impact of this role comes from efficiency gains in recruiting operations. The Recruitment Operations specialist finds bottlenecks in the process, investigates the reasons behind them, and suggests solutions to solve them.

Another important aspect of the job is helping leadership set the right goals for the Talent organisation. Instead of relying on generic industry benchmarks, they can set more ambitious targets in areas where they know their team performs better, and be more flexible on areas where the team still needs to improve.

The most impactful part of the role, however, is less about the data itself, and more about how it is communicated to stakeholders. A great Recruitment Operations manager knows exactly who needs to know what in the company.

They put together different insights for the Head of Talent Acquisition, the Procurement department and the VP of Finance, and help them make great decisions, such as what tools to buy, or where to deploy more resources, without drowning them in irrelevant data.

Who should you hire for this role?

There are two schools of thought on the subject, as the role sits at the intersection of the analytical and the human.

One options is to go with someone from an analytical background and teach them about the Talent industry. Management consultants, business research analysts, or similar backgrounds that heavily rely on drawing insights from data and telling stories with it, are usually a good go-to.

The other option is to find someone with a background in Talent Acquisition and a predilection for data, and train them on the analytical aspects of the job. Many talent teams look within their own ranks for this kind of profile.

Why you need to get it right

Clearly defining the scope of the Recruitment Operations specialist is essential. Too often, they end up picking up eclectic bits and pieces that do not fit into other recruiters’ job description, and their bandwidth gets swallowed up by low-value work. That’s the fastest way to miss out on the massive impact they should be having on your team.

It’s always worth investing the time to map out very clearly what does, and what doesn’t, fall under the responsibility of your Recruiting Operations team member. That’s how you get the best of your whole Talent Acquisition organization.