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 What is Recruiter Capacity Plannning and why is it important? 

December 2, 2022

With talent acquisition becoming more challenging and hiring requirements scaling up for organizations today, it’s vital to set your expectations right with the recruitment team. As you step into a new quarter or year and brainstorm your hiring needs, recruiter capacity planning must be the priority. But what does it mean?

How many recruiters does it take to build a team of 12 developers in 3 months? What has the available manpower achieved historically and what’s the output the current resources are likely to produce in the future? Organizations need to know the crystal clear answers to these questions. 

To find out the real potential of your existing recruitment team, you need to trace and connect the numerous dots of the recruiting process. 

Once the recruiting process is broken down and analyzed thoroughly, map them to your talent acquisition requirements and you will be able to derive an action plan. Sounds too overwhelming? Don’t worry - we will make it simpler for you in this blog.

But why do you need to plan your recruiter capacity? As an organization, you set certain goals for talent acquisition. In order to meet the growing demand and set up your recruitment team for success without causing work overload, capacity planning is absolutely essential.

Let’s now dive deep into the nuances of recruiter capacity planning. Stick around till the end to discover:

  • What is Recruiter Capacity Planning?
  • Why is Capacity Planning Vital for Organizations Today?
  • Things to keep in mind while planning workload for recruiters
  • How to Build a Recruiter Capacity Plan?

What is Recruiter Capacity Planning?

Every talent acquisition team should know its ultimate truth. It’s nothing but the answer to – is your team realistically capable of fulfilling the hiring needs? Here’s where recruiter capacity planning comes in. It compares your hiring goals to the existing capacity of your talent team.

Recruiter capacity planning refers to measuring and optimizing the hiring resources required to meet your talent acquisition goals. Every organization needs to ensure its recruiting teams are equipped adequately to successfully build the teams that will lead business growth. 

On the other hand, it also means your TA teams don’t get overburdened by the headcount requirements and convincingly meet expectations. 

Suppose you decide to transform your product by adding significant new features and subsequently need to scale up your engineering team. Effective recruitment capacity planning will help ensure that you have enough resources to cater to the needs seamlessly. 

Optimal capacity planning involves analyzing historical data in order to predict the recruiting needs and your team’s potential to fulfill them. Just like the recruitment process, there is no one size fits all solution for planning your recruiter capacity. 

A number of factors – both external and internal influence the resource planning for a business organization (more on this later). The capacity planning model you build for meeting your talent requirements in the future uses historical hiring data to evaluate and modify your recruiting strategies. 

What are the Main Goals of Recruiter Capacity Planning?

Suppose your organization forecasts the hiring requirements for next year by Q4. By the time the recruiting teams are informed about the forecasted headcount needs, it’s already the middle of Q1. Now if you have the required resources to meet hiring requirements, planning your recruitment would take some time and you will only be a couple of months behind the yearly targets. 

On the other hand, if you are not equipped with the required resources (which is often the case), you need to find and hire recruiters – which takes another couple of months. 

Did you see what happened here? The hiring requirements forecast was given priority and ensuring enough capacity to meet those, was the second part. This sets businesses well behind their targets by a few months.

The goal of recruiter capacity planning is to prevent this from happening. To break it down further, you work towards ensuring that you have adequate resources to meet the upcoming hiring requirements of your organization. 

Why is Recruiter Capacity Planning Vital for Organizations Today?

Numerous reasons account for the importance of a recruiter capacity model today. Let’s take a look at the most significant ones.

  1. Forecasting your hiring accurately

First things first, forecasting your hiring capabilities depends on recruiter capacity modeling. In order to analyze your hiring potential – historical productivity analysis and predicting future performance correspondingly is the key. It’s vital to know how equipped your organization is for hiring the headcount growth you’re aiming for. Otherwise, you will be significantly overburdening the recruiting team, which causes more harm than good in the long run.  

  1. Adding up hiring resources when required

Now if your forecasted hiring requirements are more than what your current recruitment team can handle, you need to hire more recruiters. Building a recruiter capacity model for your organization will further help you in determining:

  • How many resources do you need to hire?
  • What are the desired skills to specifically look out for while hiring?
  • By when can hire those recruiters? 

Effective recruiter capacity planning also enables you to build adequate talent teams. 

  1. Meeting business growth objectives

Business growth and sustainability are directly defined by the talent that you possess and acquire along the way. Effective recruiter capacity planning is vital for consistently meeting the organization’s growth goals. 

Suppose you have planned to expand sales internationally. Now you need to hire salespeople from multiple geographies to support you in this goal. Having the recruiter capacity analysis in place will help you determine if the talent team is equipped enough for meeting business goals. Further, effective planning will help you achieve those goals seamlessly. As you know everything about the hiring team and its capabilities - making a decision around resourcing becomes easier.

  1. Calculating and analyzing recruitment ROI

One of the most underrated advantages of recruiter capacity planning is the ROI analysis and optimization that follows. As you measure your recruiting team’s historical productivity and focus on metrics like cost per hire and time to hire – you can analyze the ROI with respect to the size of your hiring team.

Further, you can find out ways to improve your performance through effective recruiter capacity planning. Different organizations have varying definitions of ROI as their goals vary. While some want to hire fast, others want to priorly optimize the cost and quality of hire. 

  1. Identifying the gaps in your recruitment cycle

Data-driven analysis of your hiring team’s performance and recruitment process immensely helps you in identifying the gaps in the entire cycle. If your hiring team is not producing results even after being equipped well, it’s a clear sign the recruitment process needs to be optimized. 

On the other hand, if the process is alright but you’re still significantly behind your targets, the recruiting team needs restructuring. Finding and filling gaps in the recruiting cycle consistently is one of the most productive steps you can take to strengthen your organization’s growth in the long run.

  1. Building credibility in the organization

Top-level executives and stakeholders do not know much about the ground-level work required in recruitment and hence need to be brought into such discussions. Now without a recruiter capacity model, if the team and the hiring manager keep missing out on key targets, it’s hard for the leaders to bank on them.

An effective recruiter capacity plan helps avoid this problem. How? As your organization is aware of the current and required recruiter capacities – the credibility factor significantly improves.

How to Build a Recruiter Capacity Plan in 6 Steps?  

This step-by-step guide will help recruitment leaders towards effective capacity planning for their organization.

  1.  Be a part of talent requirements planning 

A large number of organizations surprisingly do not involve recruitment leaders in the initial stage of their talent requirements discussions. In that case, you need to initiate and be a part of the planning that goes behind headcount requirements for the upcoming quarter or the year. Additionally, recruitment leaders should be closely connected with various vertical heads and VPs including Sales, Product, Finance, Tech, Marketing, Customer support, and others. The key is to be a part of headcount planning communications consistently.   

As a recruitment leader, you need to deeply understand the different requirements of each department within the organization. Only then you will be able to convey and initiate your team’s requirements to support the headcount needs of respective verticals. It’s a crucial step for building a recruiter capacity plan as you ensure that all the stakeholders understand the current capabilities and do not expect beyond what is possible. 

If you’re provided with requirements that need much more resources than are available right now – convey the availability and needs of the recruitment team clearly. Being ambitious is good, but you need to be realistic and have the access to the necessary resources for chasing them.

  1. Sort out roles and form a priority order 

Now that you know about the headcount requirements of each department, it’s time to sort out different roles. There’s no way you can linearly distribute the headcount requirements to each of your team members. This will create disparities as all the roles have varying complexities with respect to the effort required in sourcing and hiring. 

So ideally you should set up a prioritization framework and sort the roles as per difficulty in filling them. For example – tech roles are always tricky to hire for, and take more time as multiple interview rounds are involved. Similarly, you can and should sort the open roles based on seniority. If you have been in recruitment for quite some time now, you would know how difficult it is to hire for VP or executive-level roles as compared to hiring entry-level roles or associates.

Apart from the complexity and seniority, a number of factors contribute to recruiters’ workload. Here are the top criteria you can use to assess the overall efforts required in hiring and distribute accordingly:

  • How common the role is to the organization: If the role you’re hiring for is pretty new, expect recruiters to take more time in aligning with it.
  • Source of hire: Find out whether the role will require active or passive sourcing and how competitive is the market right now for such talent.
  • Recruiter experience: Assess the ideal experience required for filling a particular role.
  • Location: This is especially applicable if you’re hiring from multiple locations. As recruiters have the cultural and regional knowledge required for some locations, you should leverage that.

As your draw out the framework of a capacity model in this step – try to keep t fairly simple.  

  1. Evaluate your past productivity

The basis for creating a recruiter capacity plan is knowing the historical recruitment metrics. You can also utilize recruitment industry benchmarks in case your organization is in an early stage and you don’t have the necessary data. 

The primary recruitment metrics you would need to determine the team’s historical productivity are:

  • Total hires
  • Average-time-to-hire
  • Cost of hire
  • Offer acceptance rate
  • Offer decline reasons
  • Percentage of qualified candidates
  • Interview-to-hire ratio
  • Department wise time-to-hire

All of these metrics and more are combined to calculate the productivity-per-resource (PPR). While evaluating your historical recruitment productivity, you will find an emerging pattern that has led to the good, average, poor, and excellent performance of your productivity. 

Measuring and assessing all of these metrics will help you understand the efforts required during the past few years. So that you exactly know the various activities involved in hiring a certain number of candidates for respective departments per quarter or per year. Divide that by the number of recruiters in your team and you will get the PPR.

Analyzing your productivity and working on relevant measures to improve the recruitment metrics which are concerning – can help your recruitment team improve their performance. 

  1. Use generated insights to forecast future performance 

It’s now time to calculate recruiter capacity, our ultimate goal. Suppose a recruiter hired 6 entry-level software developers per quarter last year, there are high chances they will match the previous performance this time too. Here’s where Productivity Per Resource (PPR) comes in. 

Knowing about the historical PPR of your organization’s recruitment team, you can get the recruiting capacity by multiplying the total number of recruiters with it. If you’re wondering – “But the team will have a mix of experienced and comparably junior recruiters”, you’re right. If your PPR per quarter is 6, some will hire 4 while some will hire 8, so the average remains around 6 throughout the cycle.

However, your capacity model is still not ready. You need need to consider the attrition rate as well as the buffer time period. Attrition rate refers to the percentage of employees voluntarily leaving the organization over the course of your considered year.

So if your organization needs a total of 100 software developers in a year and the current headcount is 50, so you ultimately need 50 developers. Suppose your company’s attrition rate is 10%, you will be short of 5 software developers even though you hire 50. This happens if you don’t consider the attrition rate and plan your hiring accordingly.

The next factor you need to take into account is the buffer time for unavoidable scenarios. Your recruitment team too will face unexpected resignations along with sick leaves, parental leaves, and more which will delay the recruiting. Having a pre-decided timeline is important, but a buffer is equally beneficial when it comes to capacity planning.

  1. Discuss the capacity with other stakeholders

In organizations with multiple recruiting teams and a dedicated talent leadership committee, you need to confirm if they are on board with the decided numbers with respect to current recruiting capacity. You calculated the PPR based on historical data but is their team equipped enough for delivering the decided number of hires per member? 

A lot of factors contribute to the productivity of recruiters, including:

  • Current market conditions
  • Location of hiring
  • Type of candidates required
  • Roles involved
  • Payroll offered/budget for candidates
  • Employer Brand
  • Experience of recruiters involved in hiring 
  • Recruiting tools used

Getting the feedback of fellow recruiting leaders and adjusting the capacity model is critical for fulfilling the hiring requirements of your organization effectively.

  1. Close identified gaps

Now that you have analyzed the historical data, forecasted the capacity, and taken feedback from recruiters - it’s time to lay down the action plan. First of all, you need to finalize the gaps between your recruitment team’s capacity and the organization’s talent acquisition goals. Some ways you can fill this gap are:

  • Adjust hiring goals: If the recruiting budget is limited or if your organization does not really need certain roles, you can lower the acquisition goals.
  • Grow internal recruitment team: Hire more people in your recruitment team. You can also try out contractors or even part-time recruiters in case of short-term requirements. 
  • Outsource a part of your hiring: Hire third-party agencies experienced in niche hiring as per your requirements.
  • Adjust the hiring timelines: Do you really need to hire all the headcount requirements within one year? Discuss this with different stakeholders and if you can, adjust the hiring timelines to fulfill them with existing capacity but within an extended time period. 
  • Leverage AI and automation tools: This is one of the most optimal solutions for mapping out your hiring requirements to the existing recruitment capabilities. Automate the repeated mundane recruiting activities using automation tools and boost your recruitment team’s productivity.

Nurturebox enables talent teams to amplify their productivity significantly with comprehensive candidate sourcing automation. With your sourcing pipeline streamlined, you can also automate targeted engagement campaigns. Overall, your recruiters get enough time to interact with candidates and deliver more hires in the same period of time. 

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