Recruiting is a necessary function of any organization, regardless of its business model or industry.
To ensure that an organization has an effective and efficient recruiting 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 should 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. The workforce plan might also include a calendar that highlights key recruitment events, such as high-volume times of the year. Examples are the recruitment process for summer students or a time of year when your organization requires a significant increase in temporary workers.
This is also an opportune time to review your organization's budget for recruiting, including departmental budgets and platforms you can use to find your ideal candidate, such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor.
2. Review best practices and templates
There are many recruitment strategy templates and best practice lists available online. It is important to review them 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 organization is unique, and any best practice should be considered in the context of your own organization and customized to meet your needs. You will also want to consider your employer brand to ensure you position your recruiting effort appropriately.
3. Solicit stakeholder feedback
It's important to get and incorporate stakeholder feedback during the recruiting strategy development process. Stakeholders in a recruiting strategy include hiring managers, executives, employees and 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 (ATS) that offer more advanced functionality to reduce your recruiting effort.
The following are examples of technologies to consider when developing your recruitment plan:
- AI tools can be used to augment your existing recruiting strategy. For example, AI can help target potential candidates with job ads, prescreen and rank resumes for review, assist with interviewing and measuring candidate responses, and answer questions from candidates by using a chatbot. This is a relatively new field with innovations taking place at a rapid pace.
- Another tool to consider in an ATS is resume parsing. Resume parsers automatically read resumes submitted by candidates and place the data in specific fields in your system, such as taking education information from a resume and inputting it in education fields in your ATS. This capability can have a big impact at the beginning of the hiring process because it eliminates the need to open each resume individually and allows for searching based on keywords across all candidates.
- Video interviewing software has become an important part of the hiring process in 2020, primarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It eliminates the need for in-person interviews, facilitates team interviews and gives you the opportunity to interview qualified candidates regardless of their physical location.
- Job boards are another important consideration when trying to attract qualified candidates. Sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor and others expand your organization's reach. However, it is important to capture and analyze where applicants are finding your job postings because job boards often cost money. You might find, for example, that certain job boards are better for professional positions while others are better at attracting temporary help.
- Onboarding is an extension of the recruiting process and can improve a new hire's overall experience with your organization. Adding an onboarding module to your HR system can automate distribution and signing of policies and forms and help new employees learn about your organization.
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.
It's important to keep in mind that flexible work options, including work from home or the office, have changed significantly in 2020 due to COVID-19. While flexible work options may have been a selling point to candidates in the past, they may not carry the same weight now that many organizations offer this benefit.
Another practice that is important to consider in developing your recruitment strategy is how you will interview candidates. For example, will you use phone screening for the first interview? Will you use interview teams, and if so, will they be used for all positions or only those above a certain job level?
Additionally, you may want to consider when background checks should be conducted, how they will be done, the types of checks you want performed and whether to use third parties to perform them.
This is also an opportunity to identify policies that may be outdated and cause candidates to choose 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.
You may also want to consider which of the above options to use to advertise open positions. For example, if you are using job boards such as LinkedIn, do you want to use it for all job postings or only those in a certain category? Will you allow candidates to text an application for certain roles, such as those with high turnover?
This is also an opportunity to determine how you want to market open positions. For example, should you use video to make your postings more enticing? Should you develop a template that can be used to market the position rather than simply posting the job description?
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. Seek feedback from candidates and hiring managers for continuous improvement.
8. Manage employee vs. contingent workforce
Depending on an organization's business requirements, developing 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 recruit contingent workers, as they often have a pool of talent to draw from.
You might also want to consider if your organization will develop employees from within the company to fill future vacancies or hire externally. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. They are as follows:
- With internal candidates, you've had the opportunity to see the employee's work ethic and evaluate their skills and abilities in their current role. A disadvantage is that you may have to train the employee if you want them to take on a new role outside their area of expertise.
- From an external candidate perspective, you get the skill set you need right away, but the person may not fit your organization's culture, and may disappoint current employees who are looking for opportunities to grow with your organization.
9. Consider outsourcing
There are many options when it comes to outsourcing your recruiting needs. You may use your internal talent acquisition team for day-to-day recruitment but partner with an organization in special circumstances.
For example, if you have a one-time need for a large number of workers with the same skill sets, it may be more cost effective to outsource and use a partner that specializes in talent that has those skill sets. You may also decide to build long-term partnerships or retain some of the recruitment in-house.
10. Define your brand
An employer's brand has a significant positive impact on the number and quality of qualified 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 organization's brand is not well-defined or known, refining the brand so you can use it to full advantage in the recruitment process should be a component of your overall marketing strategy.
It's also important to consider how your organization is perceived by employees and those external to your organization by using platforms such as Glassdoor. Ideally, the way your organization is perceived aligns with your plan, but if not, you can identify strategies to close the gap.
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 aligned with the company's goals, policies and needs.