If your recruiting is failing, what can you do about it?

A collaborative blog post between AceTech Ontario’s Kim Benedict and Pete Smith.
Kim is the CEO and Co-Founder of TalentMinded Inc.
Pete is the Managing Partner at The Meaford Group Inc.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAcMAAAAJDkyY2JjN2RlLTY5NjQtNDI5OS04MmRhLTk2YjA4NGYzMmMyNgIn our last blog, we asked: ‘How do you know your recruiting is failing?‘ In that post, we provided six metrics for a CEO to test whether their recruiting process was performing adequately.

Recruitment is hard and it’s only going to get harder. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If what you have been doing isn’t working, what should you do differently?

Let’s revisit our six metrics:

1. Is your time-to-hire more than 52 days?

If it is taking longer than 52 days to source and hire the right people, then there’s a good chance there’s a gap in your process. While sourcing and screening inefficiencies can cause a long time-to-hire, we also see challenges from other problem areas, most notably wait time. Time kills candidates. Long waits between steps in the recruitment process dilute candidate enthusiasm and lose you great candidates.

We recommend conducting an audit on your process to identify areas where you can drive efficiencies. Usual problem areas include the headcount approval process, offer letter generation, interview scheduling and changes in job specifications or hiring priorities. As well, nothing will kill a good candidate’s desire to work for you than a lousy recruiting experience caused by unprepared hiring managers, delays in the process, lack of communication, feedback and nurturing and generally being treated as a commodity

 2. Are 90% of the applicants for any open position unqualified for the job?

If you receive hundreds of applications and spend hours upon hours screening just to get to a handful of applicants that you are willing to engage in a screening interview, something in your process is failing. Many companies think that’s just the way it is. We say different. Generic job descriptions don’t tell candidates what they truly need or want to know about the role, environment, and company. They also generate unnecessary volumes of applications putting the onus on the company to do all the work. This makes no sense! Creative and compelling job ads increase candidate quality by better illustrating the role and allowing the individual to self-qualify in or out of the process. The best prospects are looking not just what skills they need to be considered a qualified contender, but “why should I?” Stop thinking of you job posting as a qualifications list and start thinking of it as a piece of marketing collateral that sells the candidate on your company.

3. Are less than 20% of your job applicants coming from referrals?

Have you asked your employees to encourage their friends and former work colleagues to apply? Your employees should be your biggest and most enthusiastic fans. Better yet, provide incentives to turn your employees into an extension of your recruiting team. Incentives aren’t just cash rewards for a successful recruit. They also encompass elements that make it easy for employees to see open positions and know what type of candidates you are looking for, as well as a streamlined VIP process that prioritizes referrals. The last thing you want is for an employee to be embarrassed by the experience their friend or former colleague has in your recruiting process. Recruitment tools such as Jobvite make it easy to communicate job openings through employees’ social networks at a click of a button.

4. Do you interview more than ten short-listed people for any role?

This is a downstream problem in the process that starts at the front end. Have you defined the correct job, with a realistic set of expectations compared to what is available in the market and at the correct compensation? The higher the bar for qualifications, the more likely the successful candidate will come from the ranks of passive candidates that you need to go out and find. Is your job ad compelling? Have you communicated why a unique candidate would want to disrupt their life and invest time in even talking to your recruiting team? Everything needs to be aligned in your recruiting efforts: expectations; messaging; process; communications between recruiters, hiring managers and candidates; the compensation and benefits being offered; and the technology used in your recruiting process. These are all points of failure, and we recommend taking time upfront to plan properly to avoid waste down the line. “Hurry up and post the job” is not a strategy.

5. Are 20% or more of your job offers declined?

Do you measure which of your hiring managers are most successful? If so, why are some more successful than others? We see big differences in success rates between hiring managers. Some just aren’t engaged and hiring is their last priority, regardless of what they say. Others just can’t inspire people to join. There are always superstars (especially at the executive level) that tell such a compelling story about your company that candidates are excited to accept a job offer. Identify these people and use them as your closers, just like you use your best sales folks to close big deals.

6. Is your Glassdoor score higher or lower than 3.1?

Bad reviews about your company culture, or no reviews at all, can turn off candidates right out of the gate. But even if all of your reviews aren’t glowing, there are lots of ways to leverage the good, the bad and the ugly on Glassdoor. Good places to start include responding to bad reviews to show that you’re listening, asking new employees to write reviews as part of their onboarding process, and sharing fun photos from your holiday party and other employee events that show insights into how you celebrate being your accomplishments.

Pictures like this say something about your company culture.


(Calisi’s first day of work at Seradex)

Also, don’t forget about LinkedIn. Check the analytics on your company page. Posting jobs and employee events on your company feed should result in greater engagement and click-throughs than most of your marketing content. If your own employees aren’t liking and sharing insights into your company culture, including job postings, then why should anyone else care?

If you aren’t meeting your hiring targets or attracting the right candidates, these are fixable problems. But, like anything else, change in recruitment takes focus, time, research, and ownership of the problem. Start with an audit of your current processes against target metrics. Follow-through with an analysis of where your process is breaking. Commit resources, identify owners, and assign responsibility to fix the breaks and fill the gaps. Finally, bake your metrics into your business just like you manage any other process.

These actions will help get you one step closer to winning the talent war.


How do you know if your recruiting strategy is about to fail?

A collaborative blog post between AceTech Ontario’s Kim Benedict and Pete Smith.
Kim is the CEO and Co-Founder of TalentMinded Inc.
Pete is the Managing Partner at The Meaford Group Inc.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAbrAAAAJDJjZDNlZDRmLTNjM2MtNDE4Yi1hOWJkLWYyN2M5NTk4OGMyNwBefore the holidays, we were talking to a manager who was bemoaning their workload. On top of everything else, they were conducting candidate screening interviews because they had four open positions and their internal HR team was too busy to get the screening interviews done. Kudos to the manager for picking up the slack—but as a CEO, is this how you want to run your company?

In our last post, we asked: Would you run your sales process like you run recruiting? We are in a talent war. Tech CEOs know this, yet most lack metrics to understand whether their recruiting process is working well, about to fail, or already on life-support.

No CEO runs their business by periodically looking at their financial results to see how they performed. Instead they use forward-looking metrics and trends such as size of their sales pipeline, average time to close a deal, average deal size, and the trends underlying these metrics to predict their future financial performance.

The same goes for recruiting. If you aren’t already tracking, measuring, and diagnosing your future recruitment success, here are six metrics to get you started.

1.      Is your time-to-hire more than 52 days?

52 days is the average time-to-hire, and that metric hasn’t changed much over the past ten years. Obviously there will be outliers (such as an average of more than 250 days to hire a sales rep in San Francisco), but this 52-day benchmark provides a good diagnostic to understand whether your recruiting team and hiring managers are executing well.

2.      Are 90% of the applicants for any open position unqualified for the job?

This metric is the ratio of applicants rejected prior to screening interviews divided by the total number of candidates who have applied. Beyond the obvious waste of time in filtering, a too-large applicant pool makes it difficult to pick the best fit candidates. Hiring managers should spend 20-30% of their week recruiting, but not on filtering applicants. This time is best used on networking, generating referrals, having ‘coffee’ conversations with passive prospects to build future talent pipelines, and of course interviewing only the most qualified (short-listed) candidates. If you can’t map these tasks to your hiring managers’ activities, you have a problem.

3.      Are less than 20% of your hires coming from employee referrals?

If less than 20% of your hires come from referrals, then you may not be tapping into the best talent pool.  Multiple studies show that employee referrals are better quality candidates, take less time to hire and are happier and more productive than other sources of hire.

4.      Do you interview more than ten short-listed candidates for any role?

A 10:1 ratio is very generous. Ideally five short-listed candidates should yield a good hire if your process is working. This metric is calculated from the ratio of candidates hired to the total number of applicants that pass the screening interviews and are recommended for further interviews by hiring managers. Interviewing more than ten short-listed candidates either means that your recruiters and hiring managers aren’t aligned on the job requirements, or that they can’t tell the candidate a compelling story about the position and why they should want it. It could also mean that you are mostly interviewing active job seekers and not searching out enough passive candidates (which are often the stronger candidate). Five short-listed candidates or fewer per hire is a good metric.

5.      Are 20% or more of your job offers declined?

If more than 20% of the offers you extend are declined, you’ll never be able to keep pace with your growth. This may indicate that your compensation and benefits package is not competitive, or reveal that the candidate experience during the interview process is turning off short-listed candidates. Bad reviews on sites such as Glassdoor, especially recent ones that go unaddressed, can also have a big impact in the eleventh hour.

6.      Is your Glassdoor score higher or lower than 3.1?

If your score is lower than the state average of 3.1 (according to Bersin by Deloitte) your company will raise a red flag in the candidate’s mind. A higher score, coupled with authentic, positive, and engaging employee comments, can mean the difference between a passive candidate rejecting or accepting your request to talk. Current stats show that approximately 67% of candidates use Glassdoor as part of their decision making process, and on average a candidate will use up to 14 different pieces of online information to assist in deciding whether to accept an offer with your company.

If you like our benchmarks, feel free to use them in your business. If your metrics aren’t measuring up, our next post will tell you what you can do to change the game.

5 Tips to Managing People You Dislike

By Mark Miller
CEO of Volaris Group
AceTech Ontario CEO Member

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAOmAAAAJGRmMWJkNjUyLTBhYzgtNGE4Ny04MDYzLWJiMmM4ODQ1ZjA0MAIn any leadership position, you will have to deal with and manage people that you may not particularly like. You won’t click with everyone, and that’s ok! It’s great to have team members that you connect with on a personal and professional level, but it’s unhealthy for a team to comprise solely of people you consider friends. So how do you go about managing those who might rub you the wrong way? Read further to find out.

1. Figure Out What’s Bothering You

What is it that’s causing you to dislike this person? Do they remind you of someone? Is it the way they communicate? Or some other personal bias? Really drilling down and finding the pressure points will help you to realize what’s really bothering you, and then you can adjust your behaviour accordingly.

Don’t fault your employees for your preconceived biases – it’s easier for you to change your attitude than for someone to change their personality.

2. Stay Cordial

Every employee wants their manager to like them, so your direct reports are in tune to how you react to them. If you show any disproval, employees will think that is has to do with their performance and not some other cause. Instead, continue to acknowledge good work and give constructive criticism when necessary. It might take some effort on your part, but make sure that you remain fair and friendly.

3. Spend Time with Them

This might seem like the last thing you want to do, but working with the individual you are having trouble liking, will help you to see their viewpoint while working through your own issues. Robert Sutton, a professor of managerial science and engineering at Stanford, advises that collaboration helps to develop affinity and that over time you may come to appreciate the employee.

4. Look for the Positives

You hired this person for a reason and if they weren’t performing to your standards, they wouldn’t still be working with you. So make it a point to reflect on the positives of this person and how they help to better your team. This way you can see if they need a larger workload, some tasks taken off their plate, or if they can be put in a position that would better suit their skills.

5. Be Neutral During Reviews

It is extremely important that whatever issue you have with an employee does not get in the way of giving them a fair review. Ensure that you apply the same standards that you use for everyone else. If you can’t seem to stay impartial, ask another manager who is familiar with the employee’s work to weigh in on their performance.


Working with people you don’t necessarily like is not a bad thing. Often liking people too much is more of a hindrance than liking them too little. Having different viewpoints helps make a team healthy, propels new insights, and keeps work from getting stagnant. As well, those you might have trouble liking are often those who help stop the team or organization from making bad decisions. So embrace having a team of diverse individuals, even if it may take a little patience.