December 06, 2016

Three Ways to Prevent Recruiter Burnout through Recruiting Optimization

The cost of replacing a worker is expensive. The direct cost of replacing an employee according to the Society of Human Resource Management can range anywhere from 50 to 60% of an employee’s annual salary with total costs associated with turnover ranging from upwards of 200% of their annual salary. To put this into terms we all can understand, the average recruiter makes $45,439. The direct cost of replacing the average recruiter is roughly $22,719 and the total costs associated is upwards of $91,000. That’s a lot of money. 

A recent report from looked at the happiness of office supply retailer Staples and compared happiness versus burnout. The survey found that 86% of employees are happy, but 53% of them are burnt out. While your recruiters might be happy, burnout is a real thing. Whether you’re unstaffed, they’re overworked, or a combination of both, it’s important to understand the signs of burnout before turnover within your company gets out of control.  

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment is below 5 percent for the first time since 2008. This means that we are essentially at full employment; it is no longer a buyer's market. In order to help your recruiters, it’s important to optimize your entire recruitment process and take steps in the right direction to help prevent burnout for all recruiters. Here are three ways to help prevent recruiter burnout through recruiting optimization:  

Understanding where to begin before beginning the process

This makes the most sense. You can’t optimize your recruiting process without understanding what you’re optimizing. Understanding which KPIs are important is a critical step when beginning the entire recruiting optimization process. Are you looking at success based on receiving X amount of applicants per job requisitions or are you trying to understand the best channel to source from? Tracking candidates from application to job offer/rejection and then calculating the best channel to source from is optimal for recruiting optimization.  

The importance behind sourcing in this fashion is giving recruiters information and knowledge on the best way to recruit for specific jobs. When you hire a new recruiter and don’t give them this information, that recruiter will spend weeks, if not months, finding the best route to hire for specific jobs. No one wants to reinvent the wheel and your company will enjoy the fruits of its labor by sharing data points that your hiring manager has been creating all along. It's essential to prevent recruiter burnout by sharing data and helping them understand essential KPIs which will guarantee success of your entire recruiting team.  

Build out a structured interview process

Supply and demand can be fickle when it comes to filling job requisitions. According to a talent attraction report by, 65% of job seekers look for a new job in the first three months of being hired. While the standard job requisition gets 250 resumes that number is just a small fraction when looking at companies like Facebook, Google, Uber, and Twitter. The number of phone interviews, in-person interviews, and candidates going through final round interviews is quite a lot even for a robust team. It’s important for recruiters and hiring managers to optimize the interview process.  

Recruiting optimization can be improved at every stage of the process. When it comes to interview it’s important to measure successes at every level and create a standard practice for every position. An engineer’s interview will be different from a content marketer and theirs will be different from a salesperson, but each of their respective interview processes should follow a similar high-level process, understanding there may be additional steps such as a technical coding test for an engineer. This allows recruiters and hiring managers to work in sync and prevent burnout.  

It's important to remember that when this part is dropped by the hiring manager, which happens more frequently in smaller companies or companies without a streamlined process, the environment you create is prone to a tremendous amount of recruiter burnout due to a reactive recruiting strategy.  

The last and most important part of the process, candidate experience

I think of a focus on candidate experience for a recruiting organization as a keynote habit. When you do this well, efficiencies are created throughout the entire recruiting machine. Whether you’re building out processes, trying to understand how to measure success and failures at different stages or building out a structured process for job applications -- it’s important to keep the candidate experience at the front of your mind. How are you treating each candidate at these different stages? Are you communicating effectively? As a recruiter when you’re ready to push an applicant through to the next stage is there a process in place where the hiring manager can pick up where you left off?  

Candidate experience can be thought of as a process in itself, but it’s important to keep the human element alive. If you’re an applicant, how would you like to be treated? But unlike the first two points, it may be a little more difficult to tie recruiter burnout into the candidate experience. Look at it like this, when candidates have terrible experiences a number of things happen: A rejected job offer, a bad reputation that spreads to friends of friends of friends, terrible reviews about the interview process scaring away applicants you don’t even know, and at the very least, your consumer brand will take a hit.  

Candidate experience is essential when it comes to recruiting optimization in order to prevent long-term recruiter burnout as well as maintaining and building your company’s brand.  

Recruiting optimization is never one size fits all. However, it comes down to thinking about how to optimize your recruiting strategy in a way that removes unnecessary and administrative work for your recruiters, creates a great experience for both hiring managers and candidates, and gives you the data you need to make informed decisions. Most companies are able to build processes out and some struggle to understand the specific metrics they should be logging in order to be successful. What I do know is that in order to prevent spending upwards of $90,000 replacing burnt out recruiters or even more replacing other employee turnover due to poor candidate quality – optimizing your recruiting strategy can ensure the future success of your company.  


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