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…So at this point I’ve conducted hundreds of interviews and filled well over a hundred positions spanning a wide range of functions, job complexity, and scope. For a veteran recruiter this is not a lot of jobs, but for an HR Generalist-type like me that merely moonlights as a recruiter as a small part of the job, this is a solid number. To this point, my time spent sourcing and interviewing candidates has taught me two things about fill-time. Namely, it is primarily governed by:

1. Hiring manager/team specificity

2. Applicant quality

I suppose that requisition load is also a big variable here, but well run staffing departments don’t overload their recruiter’s plates with too many jobs… and so we’re left with just the above two.

When fill time rises as the result of the first point (hiring manager choosiness) this is actually a good thing. Choosy hiring managers/hiring teams save their companies loads of money by making sure the right people get into their jobs and driving down the inevitable replacement costs that come about when poorly fitting new-hires flop. There is an adage that it’s smart to hire slow and fire fast, and to this point managers that insist on a strong fit understand that the value in this approach comes in the form of more stable, productive teams.

With that said, applicant quality is a much trickier variable. Sometimes the issue in such cases is that there are not enough quality applicants. Conversely, recruiting guru Tim Sackett pointed out in a recent post that the inverse is often true; sometimes, we have so many quality candidates that it can be difficult to know what to do with ourselves. In such cases, candidates that might otherwise be great fits become inadequate against the vast ocean of possible. In our search for a pink unicorn candidate, we get lost looking in a sea for something that might exist but is often impossible to find.

…I guess what I’m saying here is that there is unacceptable, bad, adequate, good, better, and best. As recruiters, we have to be careful to make sure we don’t settle for less than “adequate”, while aiming for “good” or “better”, while also not becoming fixated on finding the mythological “best”. My experience has taught me that chasing the latter is often an impractical goal, and perhaps just as importantly, once hired many candidates that started off as “good” or “better” can evolve into rock-stars over time.

…Or maybe I have this wrong?

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.