In one of the most pathetic trends to ever take over the recruiting field, professionals are increasingly relying on a particularly useless bragging right – the Number of Open Job Requisitions.

Phrases such as “Each of my recruiters handles forty open job requisitions at a time” have become a badge of honor for recruiters and recruiting leaders looking to justify their existence, but the futility of such phrases is absolutely ridiculous!!

It often seems that the measure of success of a recruiting leader is based entirely on the number of requisition per recruiter on their team.  When I entered the business 20+ years ago the real badge of honor was how many positions I filled with the right candidate.  Now it seems to be how many requisitions can you put in my name!

This issue can really compared to the old adage of “mine is bigger than yours” that causes more people to stretch the truth and raise a bar that should not be raised in the first place!

Let’s look at some of the primary reasons this bragging technique fails to provide any real measure of success for the recruiter:

  1. The numbers are inflated. It is not uncommon for recruiters to boast an open job requisition balance of thirty, forty, or even fifty positions at one time. As impressive as this sounds, it is simply untrue. You can quickly see why such numbers present a problem: there are only about forty hours in a work week. If a recruiter is balancing forty open positions within a forty-hour workweek, this leaves only one hour per week for each position. Clearly, one cannot possibly be successful in all forty positions with such a short amount of time dedicated to each unless they are pulling an unhealthy amount of overtime.
  2. The quality of hire decreases. Because the amount of time spent on each open position decreases as the positions increase, the quality of hire often suffers. Recruiters often fall into the trap of filling quotas as opposed to ensuring candidates fit the position. They don’t seem to mind if the proposed candidates quit a few months later; as long as they made forty hires for forty positions, their work is done.
  3. Client Credibility takes a hit. If a recruiter is balancing forty open job requisitions at a time, any experienced hiring manager will quickly catch on to the fact that the quality per hire will suffer. Let’s be honest – recruiters in this situation address the hiring manager that complains the loudest, creating a death spiral for the entire recruiting department’s reputation!

So, if the open job requisition bragging is so damaging, how did we get here?

One of two things often happens to an organization:

  1. Executive leadership is trained to assume each recruiter can handle high volumes because they have always been taught that they could.
  2. Recruiting Leadership is too afraid to stand up to their leadership and set proper expectation – creating a never ending cycle of poor expectations and even worse results!

Although it sounds very basic, recruiters cannot focus on the quality of a hire, the relationship with their hiring managers or their candidates relationships in many of these situations.   In other words, bragging about the number of positions he or she has on their plate will never be quite as productive as long-term hires, low turnover rates, satisfied candidates, and satisfied clients.

The bottom line is simple: if you’re going to brag about your skills as a recruiter, at least make sure you’re bragging about the right thing!