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The 80/20 Rule in Recruiting: Transforming Talent Acquisition Strategy

I'm sure you’ve heard the story about the 80/20 rule. The Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto found that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people. This rule is like having a secret superpower. It suggests that typically, 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results.

This principle is often illustrated with examples like:

results vs effort
  • 80% of a company’s revenue comes from 20% of its customers.

  • 20% of employees are responsible for 80% of the results.

  • 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.

The 80/20 rule encourages us a focus on the most efficient and effective areas, whether in business or personal productivity.

Now, how about applying this rule to Talent Acquisition?

If you could determine the 20% of customers that bring in 80% of the revenue, you could significantly increase your business by focusing on those key customers. Similarly, in talent acquisition, it’s about finding who and what is most impactful for your company.

But let’s take a moment to ask ourselves, ‘In Talent Acquisition, what does this vital 20% look like?’ Is it the sourcing channels we use, the way we write job descriptions, or the networks we tap into for referrals?

#1 Identify High-Impact Sourcing Channels

Think about where your top hires have come from in the past. Did they come through a specific job board (LinkedIn, Stackoverflow, Behance, etc.), or is there a noticeable trend linked to a particular company or industry? To make this concept more tangible, try this 👇

job experience pattern

Take a look at your current Creative Team’s LinkedIn profiles. Investigate if there’s a common thread among your best team members. Did the majority emerge from creative agencies, best startups, or corporate companies? Identifying this pattern will help guide your future recruiting efforts.

Understanding these trends helps you focus on the low-hanging fruits - those easier opportunities that bring more results with less effort. This approach speeds up your hiring process, making it more effective by leveraging the power of the 80/20 rule.

#2 Simplify the Interview Process

first 12 minutes

You don’t need a marathon of interviews to find the best candidate. Imagine you typically spend an hour interviewing each candidate, but you notice something interesting. It’s often in the first 12 minutes (which is roughly 20% of the interview time) where the most critical insights are gathered. Perhaps it’s during those initial moments when candidates share their most significant achievements or when they respond to a particularly revealing question about their experience or problem-solving skills. Focus on this period to make a go or no-go decision.

#3 Employee Referrals – The Hidden Gems

Here’s a secret – your team often has the scoop on who would be a great fit for your company. Encourage them to recommend people from their network. It’s like having a squad of headhunters on your team. To bring this idea to life, why not sit down with your team members and explore their LinkedIn connections together? Great talents, for instance, tend to have worked with other great talents in reputable companies. If you are in a fast-growing company, consider asking every new joiner to suggest 3 ex-colleagues for potential recruitment. This approach taps into high-quality talent pools and fosters team involvement.

referral list

#4 Effective Employer Branding

A strong employer brand is like a magnet for top-notch candidates. Focus on building a great career site. It’s where you show off what your company is all about and what makes your culture special. When writing job descriptions, don’t hold back – go into detail. Detailed and engaging job descriptions are super effective. And, if you don’t have a career site yet, team up with software like Hiroo to get one up and running quickly.

Acme Hiroo Career Site

#5 Lastly, Don’t Waste Time on Recruiting Ops

Here’s a final piece of advice – automate your recruiting operations and save your precious time. Use recruiting platforms like Hiroo to build an automated recruiting pipeline, and track your talents efficiently. Hiroo acts as your recruitment assistant, helping you work smarter, not harder.

Hiroo Web Page

Adopting the 80/20 rule in recruitment is about strategic focus. By focusing on these key areas, you’ll be making the most of that powerful 20% in your recruitment efforts. It’s all about finding what works best and giving it your all.

Happy recruiting!


Co-founder @Hiroo

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