The more mature an organization’s data, the more sophisticated they can be with assigning recruiters and the more productivity they yield.  When assigning work, if it's a struggle for an organization to get reliable data, then it is likely that they are assigning Recruiters by count of requisitions.

This is not incorrect, but how to evolve beyond the requisition is a different journey most have not taken.

The why, when, and how of assigning recruiters depends on the organization, its data maturity, and the org design of its teams.  Let's talk about the evolution. 


If you feel that the open and close dates on your requisitions inside your ATS is not a good reflection of reality, change it. Get teams to use the systems daily, and move dismissed and advanced candidates each day. Until that occurs, you are going to be making assignments by requisition count, which is slightly influenced by recruiter skill.

You will gauge the knowledge base and general intensity of each recruiter, and assign by requisition opening. This is common, but is susceptible to over or under assignment. A common practice is assigning recruiters by function or region.....yeah...not a great concept unless assignment flow is very stable and predictable.

The solution is a threshold. Make a top line number that indicates that based on the recruiter's skill and hiring manager satisfaction. Try 15, then increase in packs of 5....check the accuracy of the data on the req. Don't push this number too high and use hiring manager, candidate, and recruiter surveys to check satisfaction. If you are not 4 out of 5 stars across the board, bring the req number down in the pockets required until you are 4 out of 5.


Your data has evolved. Now your ATS reflects the actual open and closing of the requisitions with accuracy. are way ahead of the normal curve. Admittedly RPO and smaller corporate recruiting teams get here first. Now it's time to assign based on the level of effort.

Rather than a simple count or by function, threshold is now set based on the intended work that will be required to fill the roles. Recruiters will have a mix of reqs of varying levels, and so some will carry 6, others will carry 60.

  • Level 1 - the role is going to be filled  with a straight line employee referrals, internal transfers, or contractor conversion. These positions take around 15 hours or less per Recruiter to fill, and require a lower level of effort on their part; tasks like setting up interviews and drafting the offer letter are common for these type of requisitions. The majority of the work done by the Recruiter is fixed time that would be done on any role. Some call it paper pushing, but it is all necessary.
  • Levels 2 and 3 - Here you may have one or more internal candidate/employee referrals, but it will be required to get additional external candidates.

"Level 2” of work is usually twice the amount of Level 1, because Recruiters need to find candidates while still managing a full slate of people. A more hourly, retail-oriented organization tends to have a higher number of Level 2 requisitions. The key activity for this level is completing shortlist of 3 to 6 candidates, answering all applicants responding to job posts, and giving the manager choices for screening.

Level 3”, which is about 25% more work than Level 2, is when the Recruiter does not have many employee referrals, and will need to source beyond the normal attraction rate, but the slate is smaller. They will need to acquire more candidates for manager choice, leaving more than half of the candidates to be sourced. The “hunt” for candidates is more in depth and more intense, therefore, taking up more time. Here you should NOT produce 4 to 6 candidates. Do not make that mistake. Produce 2 or 3. Sometimes 1 is all that is required but that can be hard for some organizations legally and culturally.

  • Level 4 - When a recruiter is faced with the task of sourcing all candidates (i.e. no internal transfers / employee referrals), they are working at a “Level 4” of Recruiting Assignments. Be careful here, and selectively assign no more than 10% of your reqs with this designation, and increase work effort another 30%. You may think they are all level 4. They aren't. They are likely intense level 3. Don't exceed the 10% mark here, and educate to why these are exceptions.

In this model, a manager can’t give someone 25 Level 4 requisitions and 25 level 1 requisitions and assume they are doing the same work. The assignments need to be balanced.


This is a series of chess moves, and is done by the teams with the highest maturity of data. The counting of reqs stop, and the counting of exchanges between the recruiter, candidate and hiring manager begin.

Here we measure the number of exchanges it takes for Recruiters to advance the candidates to hire, instead of using a scoring mechanism based on the type of requisition (method 2).

For example, a Recruiter is assigned 10 requisitions. Let’s say that each requisition produces 250 applicants, with four people needing to be interviewed in each requisition, with five managers, and with two rounds of interviewing. That’s 2500 applicants, 250+ interviews, and 10 offers, all with varying effort for each exchange.

However another recruiter may have 10 requisitions, but a different set of needed exchanges.

The Recruiters are no longer tracking how many requisitions they have, but the activity and relationships created around them. They are now more myopic on yield, looking at how many applicants turn to screened candidates, turn to interviews, and turn into hires or dismissals. This is using formulas to Method 2...but so more complex.

Method 3 is used in other industries, and is akin to more supply chain oriented activities where RFID usage is high, as well as inventory and shipping technology. It's how Amazon moves a package, or how airlines fly passengers.

Method 3 is reserved almost always for organizations who are looking at thousands of hires each year. This very difference is how leaders can really enable themselves and drive tremendous impact. Companies with hundreds of recruiters can save millions of dollars by evolving to Method 3. Typically we see productivity increases of greater than 30%. Smaller organizations will see benefits and percentage improvements for sure, but the changes in headcount are not as dramatic. 


Ask your leaders or your RPO how they assign work to find out where you are in the evolution. Method 2 is being when specific formulas are in use and available in a few minutes. Method 3 is no different, as it's very data dependent. If reporting is weekly, weak, or are not using Method 3.


The biggest differentiator when looking at these “methods” is the presence of sophisticated data. It is positively correlated with more sophisticated recruiting, logically, where Method 1 is least sophisticated and Method 3 is the most.

When a company reaches what they believe is efficient, it is time to evolve and invest in the next method, and this depends primarily on their amount of accessible data. Most importantly, each individual business should use the method and level that works for them, measure satisfaction along the way, and to climb the “Method Ladder” in due time.


Andrew Gadomski is the Chief Advisor and Founder of Aspen Advisors.  Andrew started Aspen Advisors in 2006 after a diverse and successful career in staffing and branding so corporations that are socially and globally conscious can become great at recruiting talent and advance their value propositions exponentially. Prior to Aspen’s inception, Andrew was the head of staffing for Honeywell Specialty Materials. Within his first year with Honeywell, he managed over 30 executive positions globally for the officer team, centralized and managed all search partners, coordinated University Relations, hired the staffing team, and designed and converted to outsourcing all of North American staffing.  Andrew regularly speaks at talent related conferences across the country. He lead the ANSI Cost Per Hire Workgroup, sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management. Andrew is also an adjunct professor at New York University.