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10 steps for developing a recruiting strategy

To ensure your organization is attracting and hiring the right candidates, evaluate existing policies and strategies and update them as needed to strengthen the company's brand.

Recruiting is a necessary function of any organization, regardless of its business model or industry.

To ensure an organization has an effective and efficient process to find the right candidates, the talent acquisition team's first step should be developing a recruiting strategy. This strategy can help determine how your company achieves its recruitment goals and supports the needs of all its stakeholders. Once the overall strategy is defined, it can be broken down into actionable tactics.

1. Assess existing organizational strategies

Before you start developing a recruiting strategy, you must review the existing organizational strategies that apply to recruiting, including the business strategy, current recruiting strategy and other departmental strategies that apply. You should also incorporate input from the workforce plan.

These documents can provide key details, such as the skills needed and corporate priorities, and confirm the compensation level based on your current organizational design.

2. Review best practices and templates

There are many recruitment strategy templates and best practice lists available online. It is important to review these to broaden your view of what other companies are doing and what might be possible for your own company. However, keep in mind that each company is unique, and any best practice should be considered in the context of your own company and customized to meet your needs.

3. Solicit stakeholder feedback

It's important to get and incorporate stakeholder feedback when developing a recruiting strategy. Stakeholders in a recruiting strategy include hiring managers, executives, employees and other HR teams. Also, be sure to consider candidates' needs in the strategy.

4. Utilize technology

Small companies may rely on a manual process, but implementing software is often necessary as the volume of recruitment increases. There are many options to consider when it comes to recruitment applications. An HRMS will often include a recruitment module with basic functionality to automate your processes. There are also vendors that specialize in developing applicant tracking systems that offer more advanced functionality.

AI tools can also be used to augment your existing HR recruiting strategy. For example, AI can help target potential candidates with job ads, pre-screen and rank resumes for review, assist with interviewing and measuring candidate responses, and answer questions candidates have using a chatbot. This is a relatively new field with innovations taking place at a rapid pace.

5. Review internal policies and practices

Your company's current policies and practices may give you an edge when competing for top talent. This may be reflected in benefits, vacation policies, corporate social responsibility, flexible work options or professional development.

This is also an opportunity to identify policies that may be outdated and result in candidates selecting other employment offers.

6. Identify how to attract candidates

There are a variety of ways to try to attract both active and passive job seekers. Preparing a communication strategy to identify the ideal forums for each position is essential, as is creating an engaging social media campaign that helps to attract candidates and provide metrics to validate the success of your strategy. It's important to remember that what works for one role may be entirely different for another.

Posting open positions on your company website is the first step, as you want candidates to have a feel for the culture and what you have to offer. There are other options to consider, as well, such as posting to job boards, referral programs, contacting past employees, manually searching for passive candidates, outsourcing to a third party and hosting internal business events.

To get more strategic with your recruiting, you may also want to consider taking advantage of AI, as was mentioned previously.

7. Evaluate the recruitment process

Evaluating your internal recruitment process on a regular basis will ensure your practices remain effective and robust. It's also critical to consider the process in terms of the candidate experience.

Have your team walk through all the steps a candidate might take when considering a role in your organization. There is an opportunity to have a competitive edge by being transparent. Also, seek feedback from candidates and hiring managers for continuous improvement.

8. Manage employee vs. contingent workforce

Depending on an organization's business requirements, the development of an HR recruiting strategy may also include decisions on whether the talent you seek is permanent or contingent. You may decide to engage a third party to manage the recruitment of contingent workers, as they often have a pool of talent to draw from. This can have a significant impact on the amount and type of work performed by your talent acquisition team.

9. Consider outsourcing

There are many options when it comes to outsourcing some or all of your recruiting needs. You may use your internal talent acquisition team for day-to-day recruitment and partner with an organization in special circumstances.

For example, if you have a one-time need for a large volume of workers with the same skill sets, it may be more cost-effective to outsource and use a partner that specializes in talent with those skill sets. You may also decide to build long-term partnerships or retain some or all of the recruitment in house.

10. Define your brand

A valued company brand has a significant positive impact on the number and quality of candidates a company receives. While that alone is not enough, it is certainly something that needs to be front and center when you have a strong brand. If your company's brand is not well-defined or known, it should be a component of your overall marketing strategy to refine the company's brand so that it can be leveraged in the recruitment process.

Recruiting continues to be a very important component for organizations. Having the right people in the right place at the right time is essential for business success. To meet this need, it is critical that your company take its time when developing a recruiting strategy. This will ensure that the work being undertaken by the talent acquisition team is focused on high-priority work and is aligned with the company's goals, policies and needs.

This was last published in March 2019

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What is the most important aspect of your organization's recruiting strategy?
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For us, it's giving at least equal weight to hiring for fit rather than solely technical expertise.  Through behavioural interviewing questions tied to our company values and HR more strongly embedded in the recruitment process, it's picked up traction and we are beginning to see the results.
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Thank you for your comment. Yes, I agree that each company should tailor their recruitment strategy to meet their needs. I've seen where a company that focused on a continuous learning culture had candidates spend 15 minutes during the interview process "training" the interviewers on a topic of their choice. This not only showed that the person can relay information, but also reinforced the company's culture. 
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