Guide to Effective Recruitment

30 October 2019
18 minute

Learn to hire, train and retain the best talent with a recruitment process backed by science.

Get a comprehensive guide to reinventing your recruitment process and start hiring the right people for your business. 


Read our Guide to Effective Recruitment and ensure that you get the right people on board for your new business.

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.   

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 recognise 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.  

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.   

  • Part 1: Six Reasons to Reinvent Your Recruitment Strategy 

  • Part 2: Recruitment Best Practices 

  • Part 3: Essential Tools for Recruiting in a Digital Age 

  • Part 4: Shrewd Recruitment—Why Candidate Assessment Makes Financial Sense 

  • Part 5: Choosing the Right Candidate Assessments  

  • Part 6: Five Top Tips to Improve Employee Retention 

  • The Big Recruitment FAQ 

  • Conclusion 

Part One: Six Reasons to Reinvent Your 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.  

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 processes. For your brand, using social media as a window into your culture and 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 2020.2 

For employers, keeping up with these changes and ensuring workplace harmony will require concentrated efforts – and will inevitably throw up new challenges.  


6. Millennials

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 process 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.   


Part Two:  Recruitment Best Practices 

These trends directly feed into the way today’s organisations must approach their recruitment strategies.  

With the cost of ‘mis-hires’ for businesses totalling between 4 and 15 times the annual salary for the role3, 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.   

2. Focus on 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. Be thorough with 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.  

4. Move 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. 

5. Emphasise onboarding – 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. 

Part Three: The Essential Tools for Recruiting in a Digital Age 

Knowing what best practice recruitment looks like is one thing. Making sure you have the right tools to do it is another entirely.  

With HR technology rapidly evolving, the way in which we recruit and manage the candidate journey is changing – and organisations are realising the need to evaluate their methods to ensure they remain at the forefront of the job market. 

So, what recruitment tools should you be taking advantage of? 

Employer branding 

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. 

Mobile technology 

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. 


Recruitment technology 

Today's candidates need to be engaged across the entire recruitment process – not just the initial application. Gone are the days when the candidate journey consisted of merely submitting a CV and being called for an interview. Now people expect far more from an employer, and often the application process can be a sign of things to come. 

According to The Talent Board, 49% of respondents rated an application process between 1 and 3 stars out of 5, highlighting a significant gap between candidate expectations and what’s on offer from the employer. 

Recruiting technology can allow you to make the hiring process fast, easy and enjoyable for 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. 

Applicant Tracking Systems 

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can streamline recruitment admin and ensure a quick and efficient 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 process4.  

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. 


End-to-end integration 

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.  

Predictive analytics 

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.  


Part Four: The Importance of Candidate Assessments 

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.  


Recruitment can be costly and potentially risky 

The average cost to fill a position has been calculated at approximately £3,000. 

If you find the right person, this is money well spent. But what happens when it becomes obvious that you’ve made a mistake? Not many new-hires come with a money-back guarantee, and hiring costs aren’t the only expenditure. 

It could be several months before you realise there has been a mis-hire and by then you will have invested in salaries, National Insurance and pension schemes. Not to mention other hidden costs like holiday cover, sick days, and company cars etc. You may also have invested in training, support staff or new equipment for this person – all of which is money wasted if they quickly leave. 

Overall, the true cost of recruiting the wrong person could be up to 2.5 times their annual salary. And that’s without factoring in any impact it has on your long-term business plans or the stability of your team.  

Getting it right first time 

In a recent survey, 73% of resourcing and talent planning professionals reported that their recruitment budgets will either stay the same or decrease. Unfortunately, vacancies that need filling are expected to rise3. Put simply, nothing but the most efficient recruitment is an option. 

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.  

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. 


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. 

Part Five: Choosing the Right Candidate Assessments  

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? 

If you’re not sure, take a minute to ask if your current hiring process is able to efficiently answer the following questions. 

Will this candidate will excel in our work environment? 

Having the experience for a role is one thing. But hiring managers have to think beyond that – looking holistically at how each candidate is likely to behave in the workplace and how to engage and motivate them going forward. 

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. 

Does this person’s personality mesh with our company culture? 

Culture has become a large driver of attracting top candidates, and it’s important to maintain a productive environment that your employees enjoy being a part of. 

Assessments that evaluate a candidate’s personality help to clarify what they’d 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.  


Is emotional intelligence required to succeed? 

Emotional intelligence is a focus at many top organisations. It can have a big impact on both interpersonal relationships and team performance, so ensuring this is measured from the start is crucial. 

An emotional intelligence assessment will 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. 

Will this candidate succeed with the training we offer? 

From the time a new hire is welcomed into your business, many resources are required to prepare them for success. A general intelligence assessment can predict the amount of time it will take them 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.  


Part Six: Five Top Tips to Improve Employee Retention 

Recruiting top talent is a priority for any hiring manager; but keeping hold of these employees is what will set you apart from other businesses.  

A recent report found that retaining good members of staff is a concern for over a quarter of SMEs in the UK, with a fifth having a problem with high workforce turnover1. 

With current economic and political uncertainties potentially impacting your organisation, a proactive focus on employee retention and engagement needs to be at the top of your agenda. 

With that in mind, here are five things you can do to retain your employees.  

1. Ask yourself – are the right people in the right roles? 

Qualifications on paper are no longer enough to determine a person’s ‘fit’ for a job. Look closely at your star performers and those at the other end of the scale – what are the common characteristics of each? Start drilling down into ‘people fit’ by identifying the behaviours needed to perform each role and assess job holders against those criteria. If their working style is not consistent with requirements, you might find that they are much better suited to another role in the team or working somewhere else in the organisation. Be brave in redeploying people according to their strengths and you can transform underlying dissatisfaction into new drive and recovered commitment. 

2. Review your team dynamics 

As much as a job holder must be suited to their role, their happiness also depends on how well they work with their colleagues. This is nothing new, but what many managers still lack is the ability to really dig deep into team composition. Is the team playing to each person’s strengths? Is there any potential conflict? 

Relationships are just as impactful inside the workplace as at home, so unresolved disputes within a team are a recipe for disaster, whether that means rapid employee churn or infectious decline in morale and productivity. By identifying existing and potential problem areas, you can begin to tackle the issue and implement coping strategies so that any conflict becomes constructive rather than destructive. 


3. Recognise and adapt to different employee motivations 

Once you have ascertained individual working styles, go one further and think about what motivates your team members. After all, one person’s carrot could be another person’s stick. Where one person may strive for perfection or stability, another might respond better to results or public praise. Take some time to explore what will inspire each person and what could demotivate them and then modify your management approach accordingly.  

4. Support your line managers with people assessments 

Are your organisation’s managers well equipped to dig into this detail? People assessments can be a great tool to help managers understand their people better and provide a shared language to discuss soft skills. 

Combined with quality feedback, psychometric assessments can be one of the fastest routes to boosting self-awareness among employees, teams and leaders, thereby alleviating common causes of frustration. Open conversations about how each person works best will contribute to a more harmonious team environment, increase employee confidence and ultimately result in better business performance.  

5. Give employees the chance to feed back 

Employers who proactively ask for feedback are showing a sincere commitment to making their business a workplace of choice. If your employees have a voice and feel a connection to the organisation, they are more likely to want to stay. 

Rolling out an engagement survey is a fantastic opportunity to find out what employees really think about the company – what do they enjoy, what would they change, what would they like to do more or less of, what’s working and what’s not? With this information at your fingertips, you are in a prime position to make improvements that are bespoke to your organisation and also maximise what your organisation is doing well.                                                  

The Big Recruitment FAQ 

At Thomas International we help organisations like yours update and refine their recruitment processes all the time. For that reason, we know the kinds of questions you might be asking right now and have taken the time to answer some of them below.  

If you have any questions that aren’t covered here, click here to get in touch with one of our experts.  

1. Why are recruiting metrics important? 

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. 
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 be suited to the position. This is why using metrics for recruitment is so important. 
2. How do you measure recruitment effectiveness? 

There are a range of different metrics you can measure and analyse, the best of which are: 

- Time to hire – how long it takes to fill a position 

- 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? 

- Cost per hire – How much is it costing to recruit and onboard new hires? Are you using an agency or is all your of your recruitment in-house? 

- Retention rate – how long are your new hires staying within the business? How long are they staying in their role? 

3. How can I make my recruitment process more effective?

The best way to make your recruitment process more effective, is to make sure that you are hiring the right person for the job. The way that you can do this is: 

- Provide useful and specific details about open roles 

- Be clear about the roles you’re hiring for – do not over or under-sell.  

- Be sure to promote your company 

- Utilise various different assessments measuring emotional intelligence, aptitude, behaviour and potential – will let you know whether they will fit in with the manager, team and organisation as a whole. 

4. How can recruitment improve productivity? 

- New ideas and processes that may improve the team effectiveness. 

- May “wake” employees up – having a bit of competition may stamp out complacency. 

- More man power – this is the main resource of an organisation. 

- Internal recruitment – a cost saving method to promote employees and internal promotion can encourage all staff to work harder within an organisation. - 

5. How do you develop a recruitment plan? 

To develop an effective recruitment plan, you should include the following: 
- Recruitment needs and skills gaps – this means gaps that your existing talent cannot fill. Analyse the growth of your company, taking into consideration important factors like employee turnover and anticipated promotions. Estimate which departments and roles will need strengthening and why. 
- Recruitment calendar – estimations of how many people and when they will be needed, total headcount for each department and timeline for when each round of hiring will begin. 
- Budget information – some of the costs could include advertising the roles on social media, recruitment technology costs, in-house salaries and benefits, agency costs and onboarding costs. 
- Tracking and assessment tools – assessments can help you see if the candidate is behaviourally the right fit for the organisational/team culture, whether they have the aptitude to pick things up quickly, their emotional intelligence and their leadership potential. 
6. What are the benefits of a clear recruitment process? 

A clear recruitment process can minimise the amount of time involved in interviewing, hiring and training. 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. Finally, by not over-selling a job position or the company, you can reduce attrition and improve productivity for the company. So a clear recruitment process doesn’t just mean better recruiting, but it can also mean a better organisation overall. 

7. How do you determine recruitment needs? 

All recruitment processes should start with identifying the vacancies that exist and then analyse job specifications including knowledge, skills and experience needed for the role. Every time you recognise that there is a hiring need, act before it becomes a pressing matter. There are also other ways that you can determine your recruitment needs: 

- Find the gaps in your current team or organisation. See if there are new needs in terms of ability, performance or personality. 
- See if there is an increase in workloads in your organisation that needs to be addressed by hiring. 
- Regularly analyse the performance of your team or teams in your organisation, and make a list/get other team leaders to make lists of missing qualities, qualifications, skills and proficiencies that need to be added to your organisation. This can also signal towards hiring needs. 
- Be mindful of existing employees leaving. This is definitely when you will have a hiring need.  
8. What are the steps in recruitment? 

There are 10 critical hiring process steps: 

- Identifying the hiring need 

- Planning 

- Searching 

- Identifying viable candidates 

- Assessing candidates 

- Telephone screening 

- Face to face interview  

- Offering of employment 

- Hiring of the candidate 

- Onboarding/training the candidate 

The recruitment process does not end with the candidate signing their contract, it ends once they have successfully been onboarded into the company.  

9. How do you attract best candidates? 

There are a few ways that you can attract the best candidates, here are a few: 
- Good reputation – have a strong employer brand and look after your own employees. With websites such as Glassdoor, there is full visibility to any potential candidate how the people who work for your company view your company. 
- Introduce an employee referral program – lower turnover rates, better quality hires, shorter time to hire, shorter onboarding and less money spent hiring. You can get results fairly quickly if you use an employee referral scheme. 
- Opportunities for career progression – candidates are more likely to invest their talent in a company that’s willing to invest in them in return.  

- Attractive employee value proposition – these are rewards and benefits that you offer that sets your company apart. Attractions can include opportunities for career development, training, competitive pay packages and flexible working hours/options. 


Recruit, train and retain for the future. 

The recruitment landscape won’t look this way forever. It changes all the time. But if you take a proactive approach to making 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.  

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, visit