The goal of a successful recruitment strategy is not only to hire the right talent for the right role at a specific time, but also to cultivate a pool of top talent to activate and draw from when opportunities arise.The recruitment process is – or should be – an ongoing process in every company that values attracting talents – and never run out of qualified professionals.
We bet you are thinking “Damn -hiring, it’s sooo costly, how can we afford to make it an ongoing task – even when we have no open positions?”
Long story short, we can assure you that it costs way less to build a recruitment strategy that keeps working for you even when you believe you don’t need it, than establishing a brand-new process each time a position opens up.
This approach leads to longer – the best candidates don’t like this – and more costly hiring processes.
With this in mind, as the title of this article suggests, building a successful recruitment strategy really goes beyond “using social media” or “creating an employee referral program” or (this one is the most popular) “boost your offer with LinkedIn paid advertising”. Not to say these things aren’t a thing, just that they represent only a small – read, really small – part of a well-executed recruitment strategy that consistently yields results and effortlessly attracts top talent.
Before diving into what makes a recruitment strategy good enough to save you bucks and time, let’s clarify this: we are discussing a strategy that isn’t tied to specific roles. It regards your overall approach to hiring, not just how to hire a good Quality Manager.
The recruitment strategy outlines how you attract, interview, select, manage, hire and onboard your talents. It is the magic hat which reveals how you plan to grow your company through talent acquisition and meet your recruiting goals. We’ll soon explore the most common goals and success factors, but for now, let’s take a step further into understanding the strategic framework.
The recruitment strategy includes:
- Core values of your company – and how they are integrated into the recruiting processes, often referred to as non-negotiable ethical values and sought-after soft skills in potential team members.
- Range of methods you use to seek out your talents – including tools and channels. In short, how and where you find your (wannabe) people.
- Key metrics used to evaluate the candidates.
- Hiring plan fundamentals – pay attention to this one, we’ll get back to it later.
- Operative processes behind aaall your recruiting efforts.
- How you maintain relationships with your talent pools – even when you have no open positions.
- Budget – last but not least
So, it’s crystal clear that the recruitment strategy involves much more than selecting a bunch of media channels to advertise open positions – right?
Given that there are plenty of articles discussing the channels, tools and downstream strategies (such as advertising on specific portals bla bla), we will focus on the BIG things no one talks about. In this article, we’ll embark on two (and a half) deep dives. The pools awaiting us are the recruitment metrics, the hiring plan and the blind spots. Let’s jump.
Perhaps we should have begun with the hiring plan, but since metrics are a crucial component of the plan itself, let’s take the bull by the horns and begin here.
In a well-crafted hiring strategy, there are two types of metrics:
- Overall process metrics – let’s call them management metrics
- Candidate selection metrics – we won’t go too deep, but we can summarize key KPIs related to education, experience, key values, and soft-skills
That’s gonna be a long one. Let’s start with the management metrics.
The management metrics are these things no one considers in the recruitment strategy – but everyone cries about during the performance review.
These metrics concern the recruitment process, and the key aspect here is that we should always set well-defined goals for them. Unfortunately, they are often only used to evaluate how things are progressing, rather than actively shaping the process in line with our objectives.
This metric relates to the targeted average duration of the recruiting process. Is it one month? Six months? Hiring for an executive position could require way more searching and interviewing time than hiring for an internship, so it’s important to set an average for various positions and try to stick to it.
Speed is influenced by the recruitment infrastructure’s capabilities, the budget and, often, the expected market response in terms of CVs received. One factor it ideally shouldn’t be influenced by, but often is, is the urgency of the vacancy. One of the goals of a well managed HR department is to minimize the unpredictable situation of having extremely urgent open positions.
While every company desires the best candidates, not all have the resources in terms of structure, time, processes, and budget to consistently identify top talents.
Therefore, quality metrics can involve KPIs such as the % of candidates proposed by recruiters who are accepted or the % of those who sign the contract and stay as loyal employees, growing in the company and reducing the turnover rate and costs. Another valuable quality metric – which speaks volumes about the quality of your hiring process – is the offer acceptance rate. A low acceptance rate may indicate that your offers aren’t competitive enough, or simply not a good fit for your ideal candidates.
That’s easy, you have a budget (we hope) but how regularly do you stick to the budget? Cost metrics indicate the target average cost per hires and the % of processes that falls within this target.
Every recruitment department should have a clear understanding of its sourcing capacity. This also influences the number and type of channel for advertising positions. What’s the point of promoting this or that on LinkedIn if we can’t properly handle the influx of CVs flowing into our inboxes?
So these are some key metrics that no successful recruitment strategy should overlook.
One more thing that can’t be neglected is the hiring plan. Pay attention to this common mistake: the hiring plan is a part of the recruitment strategy, not the strategy itself!
Second deep dive: one, two, three…
The title of this section really says it all. If you do not have a hiring plan, you are missing a lot of relevant points – sorry not sorry.
We have a nice article on how to make your recruitment process effective (by writing down a hiring plan) with a looong in-depth explanation of how to tailor the plan for any specific position. If you’re serious about this, refer to it.
A hiring plan is a summary that outlines some key points that everyone involved in the process should keep in mind. These are:
- The big why – the reason we are hiring for that position
- The responsibilities these people need to cover in that role
- The hard requirements for the role
To these three points, you can add:
- Solid timelines
- Steps within the hiring process.
- Roles of interviewers and recruiters – who is responsible for what.
Other critical company-specific key points can be added based on a deep analysis of business needs and goals. The recruitment strategy should include a formalized and schematic hiring plan template ready to use and to adapt to every position. You should not have a completely different hiring plan for every position!
Let’s dive into our final section: how to improve your recruitment strategies by setting the right goals and monitoring key factors.
Having a strategy allows you to grow rapidly, reducing hiring times and costs while meeting your goals. Recruitment goals look different for each company and definitely change over time, even for the same business. You might aim to increase the diversity – we have already seen how overcoming diversity bias can benefit your efficiency – or perhaps you want to reduce turnover rates or reallocate recruiting budgets to other areas.
Everyone knows goals should be SMART, and so should be your recruitment strategy. It shouldn’t be set in stone; it needs to be flexible. It should consider not only how you manage your recruitment processes (metrics) and your candidates’ journey (hiring plan) but also how you nurture your talent pools.
Having active talent pools is a crucial fac
Building a recruitment strategy that works means structuring it to be:
- Firmly grounded but flexible, like a slime
- Consistently applied.
- Reviewed annually.
- Cohesive and coherent.
- Encompassing pre-, during-, and post-hiring processes
Within this list lie three significant blind spots that we encounter often – that can destroy all your efforts.
You’ve meticulously crafted and documented a solid strategy, but your HR department isn’t implementing it. Why? Mainly because you:
- Didn’t promote it effectively – people don’t even know it exists
- Didn’t pay enough attention to the user adoption – people know that it exists, but they don’t understand how and when to apply it.
- It is unclear or way too complex – recruiters really don’t have time to read a 100 hundred pages of strategy with 200 f CVs sitting in their inboxes.
Have you engaged your team in developing the strategy, or did you simply outsource the drafting to a consulting agency? If the strategy is not approved and shared by your recruiters, it won’t be followed. It’s as simple as it sounds.
This is sooo common. We frequently see detailed recruitment strategies which completely overlook the actions and channels needed to maintain an active and receptive talent pools. This results in a huge loss of excellent candidates in the medium-long run.
Well, that’s all for today. This is (almost) everything you need to know about building a successful recruitment strategy, or improving yours.
Share it with your network on LinkedIn, tag us, and let us know what you think!