Chris Mannion
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How to forecast recruiting capacity to meet headcount planning goals

In this blog post we answer how to forecast headcount needs and how to build a recruiting capacity model to meet those needs

Planning a year of recruiting can often feel like trying to peer into a crystal ball. Headcount planning, usually managed by the finance team, can take months to finalize. Recruiting leaders must then scramble to estimate how many recruiters they need to meet their headcount goal, often with minimal data or insights to help drive that decision.

In this blog post we answer how to forecast headcount needs and how to build a recruiting capacity model to meet those needs. We’ve developed a simple spreadsheet that anyone can copy and adjust to meet their goals. This approach can be applied at a high level to an entire organization, or broken down into smaller teams to provide more tactical insights.

How to forecast headcount needs:

Step 1: Gather the latest business headcount growth/reduction targets. These are usually forecast by the finance team to meet strategic business goals. It’s helpful to break these down into a month-by-month view. We used a simple monthly growth estimate in our model.

Step 2: Estimate attrition across the organization each month to determine how headcount will change with no recruiting activity. Monthly projections can help account for seasonality and may be forecast by a people analytics team. We used a simple monthly estimate in our model.

Step 3: Add together the monthly adds / reductions together with the expected attrition in that month. This will give you the number of hires you need to make in that month to stay on track for end of year headcount goals.

Step 4: Experiment with different recruiting capacity plans to see how they impact hiring over the year.

How to build a recruiting capacity model:

Step 1: Work out your hires per month for each type of role. In our example we use 3 types of recruiting channels and build a reverse funnel to estimate the recruiting  activity needed to make each hire. You should be able to pull this data from your applicant tracking system. You can also overwrite the hires/month calculated field with an estimate.

Step 2: Plan the requisition load across the recruiting team for the forecast period. Our example shows the total number of requisitions expected to be filled over the year and has space for a recruiting team of up to 10. 

Step 3: Go back to the headcount model and make sure the ending backlog is within an acceptable range for the year.

Want to talk more about improving your hiring process? Please reach out!