Table of contents
- What is a recruitment strategy?
- Types of recruitment strategies
- What is a recruitment process?
- How can a recruitment process benefit a business?
- Why might a business need to reinvent it's recruitment strategy?
- How to develop an effective recruitment process
- How to measure recruitment success
- In summary
In an increasingly competitive recruitment landscape, you need a dedicated strategy to help you identify the talent that’s right for the role, suited to your culture and likely to stick around. Get this right and you can achieve anything. Get it wrong and you’ll face workforce disharmony and rising costs.
High staff turnover and employee engagement are key focus points for HR teams with an emphasis on getting it right at the recruitment stage to avoid costly side effects of ill-matched hires within a business. By understanding how to effectively attract and retain talent, HR departments can reap the benefits of effective recruitment.
At Thomas International, we have been using psychometric tools and solutions to help organisations like yours predict job performance, identify the best employees and optimise team performance for over 35 years.
This guide will help you find out how to recruit by recognising the factors currently changing the recruitment landscape, show what a best practice approach to recruitment looks like, and look at the tools you can use to improve your prospects. Taking a look at efficient and effective recruitment strategies and processes involved with hiring, we’ll explore how to develop and measure your recruitment processes to increase positive outcomes.
We’ll also explore what happens when you hire the wrong person—and provide expert advice to help you make sure that doesn’t happen. From costly errors in attracting the wrong candidates to identifying suitable culture fits, we’ll help you avoid some of the most common mistakes in recruitment.
What is a recruitment strategy?
A recruitment strategy is a clear, formal plan that sets out how your business will attract, hire, and onboard talent. Where you have skills gaps and talent requirements, your recruitment strategy should be part of the investigating and solving this issue.
Things such as headcount planning, employee value proposition, recruitment marketing strategies, selection criteria, tools or technologies you plan to use, succession plans, and your recruitment budget all form part of your recruitment strategy.
Every company wants to hire the best talent, but it's not always possible. Job applicants will favour organisations which seem attractive to them. This is all part of the recruitment strategy which is designed to engage and develop your potential candidate base and reach out to candidates that you otherwise would not consider approaching.
When developing your own recruitment strategy, consider how this will also reflect in your diversity outreach. Where are you getting applications from? How can you make your strategy more inclusive and more aligned with developing teams that are more different and can create innovative solutions? A recruitment strategy that looks at developing talent and attracting talent in different areas can help address these answers.
Types of recruitment strategies
There are many different recruitment strategies you can use to attract the best talent, this includes:
- Internal recruitment
Internal recruitment which can be a huge time saver as there isn’t a protracted period of interviews or onboarding. However, it can lead to a lack of diverse ideas and a lack of innovation.
- External recruitment
External recruitment can bring in new ideas, fresh approaches and a renewed energy. However, it can take a long time and cost a lot of money to find the right candidate and a screening process as well as onboarding needs to begin. External recruitment is the most commonly used method for finding new staff.
- Developing the employer brand
Employer branding describes an employer's reputation as a place to work and their employee value proposition.
You want to be able to attract the best talent and one of the ways of doing this is by showing potential employees what the values and the culture of the organisation are and how staff appear to feel about working there.
Use the different channels of communication to help develop the employer brand and be strategic in how you can best represent your brands across all channels.
- Direct advertising
Direct advertising into papers, trade magazines, trade journals and even notice boards are still the most popular recruitment strategy.
The idea behind it is to attract interest from as many ideally relevant applicants as possible. Whilst it may get lots and lots of applications - depending on the role and where advertised, the point of this recruitment strategy is to target active job seekers. This will not be something for passive candidates who aren’t necessarily interested or looking for a new role but may be ideal.
- Social media
Social media has become one of the most important recruitment strategies for businesses and importantly, the tools which are associated with social media can be significant in raising awareness about job opportunities in an organisation.
Using the right platforms is key - as well as having the right content. But what also has a great importance is the awareness required by employers when using social media. It can be a hot bed for gossip and sharing negative experiences so the need for great candidate experiences is essential.
- Recruitment agencies
You can outsource your recruitment requirements to a third party, in this case, a recruitment agency. They can manage the whole recruitment process and whilst it may cost more to do it, they free up your time to focus on more of the day-to-day requirements of your business. If you are struggling with finding the right kind of recruit or need someone with very specific skills, agencies can handle these requests very specifically.
- Job boards
Job boards such as Monster, REED and Indeed are three of the most popular online recruitment packs and cover nearly every category of job posting and industry. Then there are specific industry led job boards like, testgorilla who target a niche like medical representatives.
They are a great tool for both the employer and the potential employee, and make searching for new roles and advertising the roles easy to market.
They also allow employers to develop their brand. How they wish to be seen and to talk about their values and USPs.
- Employee referrals
This is a combination of external and internal recruitment and it is not uncommon for many organisations - especially larger ones - to have programs in place in order to attract new employees into the organisation.
It works by getting existing staff to refer people they know for vacancies. The idea is that this method is very cost effective and it also means that staff are more likely to refer the role to people they trust and would reflect better upon themselves as well.
- Internships and apprenticeships
An internship is a period of work experience offered by an organisation for a limited period of time, whilst an apprenticeship is a system for training a new generation of practitioners of a trade or profession with on-the-job training and often some accompanying study.
One of the biggest advantages to have come out of the internship and apprenticeship programs of the last few years is that it has been a fertile ground for identifying and nurturing the future leaders of the organisation at a young age. They can be moulded to the organisation’s culture and can grow understanding the systems in place whilst also contributing to the success of the organisation at the same time.
What is a recruitment process?
The recruiting process involves finding a suitable candidate for an open role within a business. It involves the process of attracting, interviewing, selecting, hiring and onboarding new employees to fulfil a specific role.
The recruitment process and recruitment strategy are two different things, as is recruitment planning.
A recruitment strategy refers to the overall methodology for recruitment. The recruitment process defines all the steps from job description and candidate profile to applicant screening, face-to-face interviews, assessments, background checks, and all the other elements crucial to making the right hire.
A recruitment plan defines what needs to be done to meet an organisation’s recruitment needs - including strategies and processes.
The stages of a recruitment process can involve one person or a team of people within an organisation that is responsible for the end-to-end process of effectively sourcing new employees. There are several stages throughout the process and they may be carried out in-house or through an external agency or third party organisation that specialises in recruitment.
The process involves identifying business needs for staffing, attracting and sourcing appropriate talent, interviewing, vetting candidates, hiring and onboarding. Depending on business requirements, the process may be relatively quick or may take several weeks or months.
The process can involve multiple departments working together to develop a clear job description before advertising the role and may include multiple rounds of interviews with various people within the company to find the most suitable candidate - using an HR team or recruitment specialists, especially within a specific field such as IT or creative industries.
There is no single recruiting process as they will vary business to business depending on company structure and size, industry, and the role that is being filled. Junior roles often involve a less rigorous operation than that for senior and leadership positions, such as C-suite executives.
How can a recruitment process benefit a business?
The recruitment process can create a uniform approach to filling positions within a business, creating equality. There are a number of key benefits of implementing a defined recruiting process within your business including:
- Improving productivity
This can occur by effectively hiring new staff who have high potential and are suitable candidates for the role as well as creating healthy competition within teams to stamp out complacency.
Using internal recruitment can save on hefty recruitment costs and encourage staff engagement.
- Larger talent pools
Finding the largest number of suitable candidates can lead to increased hiring driving growth and productivity within a business and may provide a quicker turnaround in filling vacancies.
- Quicker position filling
Having a process in place can also make your search for viable candidates more efficient, which in turn can make your organisation more appealing to potential candidates in the future. This reduces the time spent internally and minimises costs associated with recruitment.
- Clear outcomes
By not over-selling a job position or the company, you can reduce attrition and improve productivity for the company.
The benefits involved with a well-defined recruitment process incorporate monetary and time savings for businesses. This can be in the hire of the new employee, their output and impact on the team as well as the outlay from the business throughout the process. If everyone involved in the recruitment process steps is clear on the objectives, targets can be achieved faster and quick responses with candidates promotes a higher sense of professionalism.
Why might a business need to reinvent it's recruitment strategy?
The modern recruitment market is hyper-competitive. Currently, just over a fifth (21%) of UK employees are on the hunt for a new job. But attracting them to your organisation and meeting their demands grows more complicated every day – as does persuading them to stick around.
Why? Because the goalposts are always moving. Emerging technologies, different selection processes and shifting expectations are all rewriting the rulebook for how we should recruit, motivate and treat our employees.
To stand any chance of success, you first must understand the six trends currently affecting the recruitment landscape, and what they might mean for you and your recruitment strategy.
1. Candidate control
The modern candidate is in a position of power. A global shortage of talent means they can dictate the kind of career they have more readily – and it tends to be more varied and transient than those of the generations before.
Rather than stay with a single organisation for many years, today’s workers spend time building a portfolio of experience, which means more career changes over a shorter period of time.
In some ways, this makes them more attractive to potential employers. Candidates with experience across multiple markets who are willing to work cross-sector can be perceived as more adaptable and self-motivated. This can be an indicator of high performance potential. But it also means employers must place as much focus on employee retention as they do hiring.
2. Social media connectivity
Technological change has made both employers and potential hires more accessible to each other. Active networking and social media means information is more readily available – and it affects both the way you recruit, and the way you should promote your workplace.
For recruitment agencies and departments, the pressure is on to use data to develop more targeted and insightful recruitment strategies. For your brand, using social media as a window into your culture can be a vital step in attracting like-minded people.
3. Candidate attraction
Attracting like-minded people isn’t just about the initial interactions though. To form a successful relationship with your candidates there must be a clear understanding of each party’s vision, values, identity and objectives.
The candidate experience, from beginning to end, must be an enticing one. Especially when potential hires will be receiving multiple offers and comparing the culture and values of each company to their own.
4. The psychological contract
The psychological contract has been an emerging subject across HR for many years.
It’s a term used to describe everything not covered by an official employment contract; the unwritten relationship between an employer and its employees. This can include things like informal arrangements, mutual beliefs, and unspoken expectations.
The harmony of a workplace depends on both you and your employees honouring the ‘deal’ struck between both parties. It’s about managing expectations: employers need to make clear to new recruits what they can expect from the job and employees should be open about their capabilities and limits.
Get this right, and you’ll find yourself having a far easier time retaining your employees.
5. Diversity & equality
Workforce demographics are currently undergoing a huge period of change. Greater life expectancy and changes to pensions are causing many to work for longer; more women are entering the workforce, giving rise to equal pay and childcare provision schemes; and it’s predicted that net migration will account for 40% of the growth of the working population by 2020.
For employers, keeping up with these changes and ensuring workplace harmony will require concentrated efforts – and will inevitably throw up new challenges.
One of the biggest demographic changes in the workplace has been the introduction of millennials.
With the retirement age pushed back, the difference in attitudes between millennials and older generations can be extreme. But make no mistake, their aspirations, work attitudes and technological mind-set will eventually define the culture of the 21st century workplace.
One of their defining characteristics is their affinity with the digital world. Having grown up with Wi-Fi, smartphones, tablets and social media, their expectations of a recruitment strategies will be more digitally minded than any previous generation.
They also have expectations of rapid career progression, varied and interesting responsibilities and constant feedback.
Their desire to keep moving through an organisation will mean talent development plans are essential in retaining the best talent.
How to develop an effective recruitment process
There are several ways to develop an effective recruitment process. However, many of them follow similar methods that are tried and tested. There are natural variations based on sectors, business sizes and positions which are being filled, but applying the key steps to your process will provide greater efficiency for your HR recruitment process.
It’s also important to remember the recruitment process does not end with the candidate signing their contract, it ends once they have successfully been onboarded into the company. This is when you can apply recruitment metrics to understand the effectiveness of your recruitment strategy.
Applying best practice for an effective recruitment strategy
With the cost of ‘mis-hires’ for businesses totalling between 4 and 15 times the annual salary for the role, HR professionals are under increasing pressure to implement best-in-class recruitment practices to ensure they find the right candidates for their organisation.
At Thomas, we’ve identified the following five stages for best-practice recruitment:
1. Clearly define the vacant role
Getting this first stage of the process right is vital. Clearly defining the vacant role will lead to more suitable applicants, more objective decision-making and longer-term hires.
Identify the needs of the business before you begin preparing a job description as this will guide you to write a well-defined and clear outline. It can be easier to write for an existing role than a new role. Well written job descriptions also provide effective communication about the expectations of a role and can give clear parameters to potential candidates.
2. Candidate attraction
Increasingly important in such a competitive market, showcasing your employer brand through different recruiters, online platforms and communication methods can be a vital step in attracting the right candidates.
3. Advertising the role
You may choose to advertise on your own platform or via job boards or a third party recruitment agency. Ensure wherever you are advertising online you use keywords to attract relevant applicants.
The full application process must be innovative, user-friendly and, most importantly, mobile-optimised to ensure today’s candidates engage in the process.
According to Glassdoor, 1 in 4 people won’t apply for a job if a company’s career site isn’t mobile optimised. So, you need to make sure your recruitment technology is up to date to ensure a seamless, or even functional, candidate journey.
Online platforms - how can technology help with recruitment
Understanding how technology can help with digital recruitment strategies is essential. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can streamline recruitment admin and ensure a quick and efficient digital recruitment process with better sourcing and candidate selection – all from one centralized hub. Unsurprisingly, 94% of recruiters and hiring professionals say their ATS or recruiting software has positively impacted their hiring process.
Despite the positive impact an ATS can have, it is important to ensure that it’s not at the expense of the candidate experience. A report by CareerBuilder found that 60% of applicants quit an online application because it was too complex. If candidates are turned off by your application system, your investment is wasted. So, make sure your ATS works for both you and your candidates.
Communication throughout the recruitment process is beneficial for both candidates and hiring managers. Open and transparent communication is essential to ensure all parties are clear about where they are in the process.
With a variety of technology available, communicating throughout the process is easier than ever. A simple email to let applicants know if they have progressed to the next stage or not is a basic courtesy and increases your brand reputation with candidates. Where possible you can use technology to assist with the automation of communication to make your process more efficient.
Communication between key staff involved in the recruitment process is also essential to ensure there are no misunderstandings about internal expectations.
With the exponential rise of social media over the past few years, monitoring, controlling and focusing on your employer brand is more important than ever. It can be the difference between attracting the top talent and watching that talent go to a competitor.
Platforms like Glassdoor provide a powerful opportunity to promote your company to candidates who are evaluating potential employers and advertise to ideal candidates who may not be aware of your organisation.
When combined with a focused and engaging social media strategy, this can give your brand the platform it needs to reach a vast online network of potential candidates.
The use of technology can (and should) spread much further than just recruitment. In order to truly revolutionise your strategy, technology must encompass the entire employee lifecycle.
As well as Applicant Tracking Systems, you can benefit from Talent Management Systems, Learning Management Systems and Human Resource Management Systems, which ensure that once on board, your employees continue to enjoy a seamless experience as they build a successful career with your organisation.
Naturally, if you use a different system for each of these, you’re likely to end up back at square one with all your data stored in different places. This will place a strain on your HR departments. So, end-to-end system integration or a centralized data repository is essential.
Once you have all your data in one place, you can take advantage of predictive analysis – using it to analyse trends, identify behaviours and aptitude, predict future performance, and create benchmarks for success. This will allow you to successfully succession plan, recruit the right people moving forwards and make more informed decisions overall.
4. Assessment and selection
Be sure to observe competencies and qualities apparent in employees more than once in order to confirm that they are reliable characteristics. Psychometric assessments help with this and provide you with a more rounded, objective view.
If, like 70% of organisations surveyed by the CIPD, your vacancies are proving hard to fill, there are a couple of questions worth asking:
- When was the last time you reviewed your recruitment processes?
- What are you doing to ensure your best people stay with you?
That second question is vital. Currently, 34% of organisations report difficulty in retaining staff past the 12-month mark.
But how can you make sure you’re able to hire the right person, first time, every time? An effective and well-planned recruitment strategy will use psychometric assessments to help understand the qualities, skills and personality traits that best fit a particular role. And, in turn, to identify those qualities within potential hires.
What is a psychometric test in recruitment?
This means you’ll find yourself interviewing only the most relevant candidates, which will save time and money and give you a greater chance of getting the right person in the right job. This will improve your organisation’s overall performance and reduce employee turnover.
Candidate assessments offer a science-based approach to evaluating potential hires against the expectations of the role. By taking these insights into consideration, you can make quicker and more confident hiring decisions for your business. But how do you know which assessments to use? Or maybe you’re wondering what is a psychometric test in recruitment? There are several psychometric tests you can apply when searching for candidates:
- Behavioural assessments can help you learn about your candidates’ communication styles, ability to interact with others, and any triggers of stress that can determine how they will behave as part of a team.
- Personality assessments and recruitment go hand-in-hand. They help to clarify what new hires would contribute to your employee culture and, importantly, who may not be a good fit. This can be especially important when hiring for management-level positions.
- Emotional intelligence assessments show how people are likely to perform in complex business environments – for instance when facing potentially difficult situations, tasked with high-impact decision-making or when handling different personalities.
- General intelligence assessments can predict the amount of time it will take people to get acclimated. This will help you avoid bringing in new employees that may end up leaving due to frustration, and can also help you protect the reputation of your business.
It’s important to note that assessments do not judge right or wrong answers as far as the candidate is concerned. Rather, the results will show whether the applicant is right or wrong for your business, giving you far more control over who you decide to employ and reducing the risk factor.
5. Appointing the right person quickly
Once you’ve identified the right candidate, make an offer as soon as possible. MRI Network found that 47% of declined offers were due to candidates receiving alternative job offers.
Recruiting technology can allow you to make the hiring process fast, easy and enjoyable for you and your candidates. They can now apply for jobs by smartphone, take interactive assessments, self-schedule interviews or have a video interview online – all in a fraction of the time it would take to complete a traditional recruitment process.
You also need to ensure you are moving through the process as quickly as possible internally so ideal candidates aren’t snapped up by another employer first. Having clear expectations throughout each stage can ensure your recruitment process is as efficient as possible so no time is lost unnecessarily.
6. Induction into the role, team and culture
A detailed induction into the role, team and company culture will allow any new hires to settle into the business. These introductions can be tailored to the individual using the information gathered during the recruitment process.
When you’ve found the ideal candidate, it’s time to start onboarding them to join your business. Ensure you provide all the information they require to make an informed decision. This may involve negotiating before acceptance of the offer and should clearly lay out what is expected.
Induction to the business
Once your candidate has accepted the offer, showcase the company culture and reinforce the company vision. When they start, make sure they have everything they need to get started from access to the offices to passwords and equipment. Provide the warm welcome they deserve.
Ensure candidates receive the support they need for training and development. Mentor or pairing systems can be useful for upskilling and teaching new staff the ropes. This is a healthy way to support their progress and integrate them with other team members.
Over the first few months of employment, continue to check-in with your new recruits to ensure they are settling in and happy. Ice breakers with the team are a great way to help new starters settle in and get to know their peers. Encourage them to talk with managers or ask questions, making sure they feel comfortable within the business.
How to measure recruitment success
An effective recruitment strategy ensures there are a clearly defined set of objectives to be measured against for efficacy. Recruiting metrics are measurements used to track hiring success and optimise the process of hiring candidates for an organisation. When used correctly, these metrics help to evaluate the recruiting process and whether the company is hiring the right people.
Why are recruitment metrics important?
Making the right recruiting decisions is important. Using metrics you can see the potential ROI by hiring someone who is more suited to a position than someone who may not be suited to the position. This is why using metrics for recruitment is so important.
What measurements should be used?
There is a range of different metrics you can measure and analyse to determine how effective your hiring process is. These are quantitative measures that will indicate ROI and can assist with future selection processes when employing new staff. The best recruitment metrics are:
- Time to hire – how long does it take to fill a position? This includes developing a job description through to onboarding.
- Quality of hire – how suited are they to the position that they are hired for – how many are passing probation? How many are promoted and within what amount of time? What value are they adding to the position, team and business? Is their output sufficient or better than expected?
- Cost per hire – How much is it costing to recruit and onboard new hires? Are you using an agency or is all of your recruitment in-house? How long until they are performing at the same or better level than their predecessor?
- Retention rate – how long are your new hires staying within the business? How long are they staying in their role? Is there a high staff turnover rate? Are there commonalities among those who do leave quicker than expected?
What to do if something isn’t working as effectively as it should be?
If something within the recruitment process isn’t working, you need to review your metrics and identify where the issue is occurring. From there you will have a clear understanding of which areas within your recruitment strategy need refinement to create a more effective process.
Evaluate where you can improve your processes and change tack as soon as possible. There are a number of common issues that occur within recruitment, here they are along with some solutions:
- Too much noise in the market - ensure you have a strong brand and a clear job description to attract the right candidates. On the flip side, if you’re finding the talent pool too limited look outside the avenues you are currently using to expand your search.
- Stages are too long - if you find you’re missing out on suitable candidates because they’ve accepted another offer, your process might be taking too long. Review where you can decrease the time between each stage and how you can create more efficiency in your strategy.
- Too selective - are you looking for a unicorn rather than evaluating the candidates on their merits and finding the most suitable? Review where gaps in knowledge can be taught, whereas traits may be harder to overcome.
The recruitment landscape won’t look this way forever. It changes all the time. But if you take a proactive approach to make sure you can identify, attract and retain the right people for your organisation, then your business stands to gain a real advantage over the competition.
From using various methods including psychometric testing to better evaluate candidate skills to adapting your recruitment strategy to evolve with the ever-changing employment landscape, there are numerous ways to enhance your businesses employment process.
Understanding the value of an efficient recruitment process in saving organisations money and time can be instrumental in generating improved productivity - both from a hiring perspective and employee engagement.
Recognising the effectiveness of an appropriate recruitment process helps businesses to set benchmarks and streamline their employee growth plan for greater organisational benefit.
At Thomas International, we use scientifically proven processes to provide organisations like yours with vital insights into the behaviours, talents, personality and capacity for learning of your potential hires.
To see how we can help you stay ahead of the recruitment game, take a look at our solutions at www.thomas.co.