As we face into a period of economic turbulence and uncertainty, one thing we can be sure about is that there will be an increased focus on efficiency and effectiveness: for the foreseeable future for the majority of businesses, cash will be constrained and return will need to be optimised on every investment.  Whilst I know there are people who will find this a strange perspective, in a funny way this is my favourite sort of market to face into: it drives innovation and forces excellence.

We define efficiency as ‘achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense’ and this is is no new topic to Amberjack. For many years we have been working with our clients to help maximise their recruitment efforts in every possible way. Over the past few weeks, as we start to emerge from lockdown restrictions, most of our conversations with clients and prospects have been centred around ‘doing more with less.’

Effectiveness is defined more in terms of eventual outcomes: are you hiring the talent needed to drive business success?

Now more than ever, organisations will need to have a strong focus on both of these. In my experience as Global Head of Talent Acquisition and now as MD at Amberjack there are some key questions that Heads of HR, Talent and Recruitment can use to help kick-start these discussions.

As you’ve probably realised is a topic I am hugely passionate about and I also have quite a lot to say on it!  Therefore, we will focus on the first 2 questions today and continue the discussion in next week’s blog.

Question 1: How is your current process performing?

There are a number of different ways to assess the efficiency of your process.  Below are some of the measures I find most useful to examine:


  • How long (lapsed days) does it take for a candidate to progress from application to offer?
  • How many hours does a candidate need to invest in order to get to day 1?

These days, with automated assessment tools available, candidates can self-serve and there is no reason why, once the right candidate applies, they can’t get to offer stage from application within a couple of days.  The toll on their time up until the final assessment should be minimal and today, when final stages are by necessity still virtual, it is reasonable to say that the total investment of their time to the point of offer shouldn’t exceed a working day.


  • How much does each hire cost in hard terms?
  • How many hours does a recruiter need to invest in order to get a candidate to day 1?
  • How many hours do line managers/business representatives need to invest in order to get a candidate to day 1?

With talent pooling technologies, LinkedIn and the abundance of online and social media options, direct sourcing is both more feasible and more effective than ever before.  Automated assessment tools also offer a highly cost-effective alternative to recruiter/agency screening.  There is therefore much that can be done to manage down hard cost per hire.  Also, with the opportunities afforded by intelligent recruitment process automation, there is no reason why a recruiter should be investing more than 5 hours running the recruitment process for a vacancy.  Similarly, hiring managers should not need to invest more than 2-3 hours in order to fill a role.

For Future Talent Recruiters who have long been using automated assessments and have been running fully digital processes for several years, these figures will seem less aspirational than they might for lateral hiring teams.  There is, however, no reason why they can’t be achievable for any and all hiring and, with Coronavirus forcing the virtualisation agenda, I predict that we will see a very substantial shift in industry benchmarks for best practice in these areas over the coming months.


  • How do candidates rate your process (e.g. average NPS score)?
  • What is your offer acceptance rate?
  • How well do assessment scores correlate with ongoing performance scores once people are hired into the business (how effectively is your recruitment process predicting performance?)
  • What is the average tenure of your new hires?
  • What is the rate of promotion for new hires verses the existing employee population?

I suspect that most recruitment leaders, if they are truly honest with themselves, would admit that they don’t dedicate enough time to this key process evaluation criteria.  It is typically not because they don’t recognise its importance, but usually because the more urgent aspects of process delivery hijack attention.  Clearly, however, this is the ultimate measure of both effectiveness and efficiency; if you are hiring the wrong people really rapidly or running a really cost effective process which leaves people not wanting to accept offers/leaving with a very poor impression of your organisation’s brand, you might be wining surface level battles but losing the war.

Question 2: Do you know who you want to recruit?

This is a key challenge for many organisations.  To recruit the right people, employers must be able to articulate what is required of their workforce for future success.  For us it’s simple. As we all start to operate in our ‘new normal’ we fully believe that recruiting for potential is the best approach for building talent within organisations. It is proven that past experience is not a key indicator of future success in this new era characterised by change and uncertainty. To create a robust and productive workforce, organisations need individuals who can successfully apply their intellect to new situations, have a digital mindset and the grit to navigate change.

Hopefully this gives you some food for thought for now and I look forward to sharing more with you next week.

In the meantime, if you would like to talk to myself of any member of the Amberjack team, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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