Having the right talent in the right roles is a significant factor in business success. So how does an organization find and attract the best candidates? The short answer is that you need a plan. In this quick guide, we review the basics for strong recruitment strategy planning.
- An assessment of your current and future needs
- Internal candidate focus
- Marketing your organization to prospective employees
- Creating a job post that drives interest
- Proactive versus reactive recruiting
- Appreciating candidate potential
As you design your approach, remember that hiring should not occur in a vacuum. Your recruitment strategy planning should align with your culture and values and serve broad organizational goals.
An Assessment of Your Current and Future Needs
Keeping up with everyday demands and filling open positions is often a top concern. However, it is equally important to look at hiring from an organizational and strategic perspective, not only as a one-off or immediate need. Consider whether your current team possesses the skills needed to meet today’s challenges and move the organization to the next level.
The answers to the following questions will help guide your direction:
- What type of employment relationship will benefit the organization – part-time, full-time, or independent contractor?
- What knowledge, skills, and competencies currently exist at the organization, and which ones are needed for the company to grow and prosper?
- Is your total compensation package competitive?
- Does your workforce match your diversity goals?
Such introspection will pinpoint gaps and areas where you have room to grow. With that information in hand during recruitment strategy planning, you can identify the talent needed, set hiring priorities, and establish realistic timelines.
Internal Candidate Focus
Whether filling an immediate need or planning for future hiring, consider your current staff before looking externally. Your current employee population may possess the necessary skills, talents, or aptitudes and will provide the institutional knowledge that is so valuable. Some individuals may be ready to take on new responsibilities and hit the ground running. Others might be an excellent fit with some on-the-job training or additional skills building.
Investing in your employees and promoting from within are huge selling points with prospective employees, and robust employee development and succession planning programs can be the difference when a candidate is considering multiple employment offers.
A commitment to employee development also fosters loyalty which leads to increased retention rates. When you have a legacy of long-term employees, your organization benefits from sound institutional knowledge, a deep internal bench, and recruitment cost savings.
Marketing Your Organization to Prospective Employees
Keep in mind that every interview with an external candidate is a two-way street. You are evaluating applicants for fit, but they are also sizing up your organization. You need to sell prospective employees on what your organization has to offer and how you stand out from the competition.
Today’s recruiting efforts often have the attributes of a marketing campaign, and in any marketing effort, identifying the target audience is key. When it comes to effective recruitment strategy planning, businesses need to identify their ideal candidates and get the word out in spaces they frequent.
Targeted job boards and social media platforms can be excellent resources, and if your recruiting objectives include expanding workforce diversity, you may need to modify your approach to reach a varied audience.
Talent branding – promoting a consistent message of who you are and what you stand for – is also an important part of recruitment marketing. Younger generations may be more likely to focus on whether an organization has a good reputation, and if it offers a positive, recognizable work culture. All of your recruiting materials and communications should reflect your branding.
Creating a Job Post that Drives Interest
One of the primary ways organizations recruit is through job postings. To attract qualified candidates, the post must accurately reflect the responsibilities of the position, requisite skills, and experience necessary to carry out the role’s duties.
Your internal job descriptions are an invaluable resource for composing effective job postings. Before undertaking the task of writing a job posting, review the relevant job description to draw from the responsibilities and job requirements. If no job description exists, it is a best practice to develop one before crafting the posting. This is the best way to ensure that you are meeting the needs of the organization and the position.
When drafting the content, keep in mind that this post may be a candidate’s first experience with your organization. The language you use and the structure of your posting will give applicants a sense of your culture. Create a posting that is compelling and concise. Generally, candidates are interested in what you have to offer. Relay this information in a brief description that is easy to read and understand.
Proactive versus Reactive Recruiting
Hiring often tends to be reactive – addressing very immediate needs. These situations are inevitable as people suddenly leave for other opportunities or are terminated. To plan for the future, it is wise to direct some resources and energy to developing a talent pipeline.
Talent pipelines are built by fostering long-term relationships with those in the marketplace who possess desirable skills and competencies, are seemingly a good fit, and have an interest in your business. Through recurring contact and interactions, prospective candidates gain a better understanding of your organization and its brand.
This proactive recruiting allows your organization to develop a talent pool. If a position opens up or the organization’s growth plans demand increased headcount, you can immediately reach out to this group to explore their interest in joining your team.
Building a strong talent pipeline does not happen overnight. In-house recruiters or other HR professionals need to devote time to fostering and maintaining these relationships. Although time-consuming, the investment is worthwhile.
Appreciating Candidate Potential
In competitive job markets, employers may struggle to find qualified applicants. Hiring a less-than-perfect candidate may seem like the only solution. However, instead of focusing on what qualities an individual lacks, it may be more productive to consider their potential to grow into the job.
During the interview phase, assess a prospective employee’s capacity for advancement. Ask about:
- Past successes and challenges;
- What the individual took away from those experiences; and
- How they capitalized on those new understandings.
Taking a chance on people who have competencies you value and appear to be a good cultural fit can result in a big payoff. Through training, coaching, mentoring, and other knowledge-building programs, you can develop competent, productive employees with high-level skill sets. These employees are often very loyal to their employers for giving them an opportunity to grow into the position, and their sense of commitment translates into reduced turnover rates and improved employee engagement.
As you develop your hiring strategy, you may need expert help setting your course or refining some of the details. Outside HR consultants are an excellent resource and can provide guidance from development to implementation. Whether you rely on in-house or outside consultants, following the fundamentals discussed here will position you to make more effective hiring decisions.
Jill brings to RealHR Solutions experience as a business owner, executive search consultant, and corporate HR professional. Throughout her career, she has had the ability to build strong relationships, identify client needs and help companies find solutions. As a search professional she used these strengths to source and identify talent. Before joining RealHR, Jill was a Principal at Charleston Partners, a global executive search and talent advisory firm for Fortune 500 companies. She was also a Partner at Hayden Resource and previously founded her own search firm. Her prior HR experience includes retail and healthcare industry HR and operations. management positions. Jill holds a Masters in Industrial Social Work from Fordham University and a B.A. from CUNY City College. She is currently an active member of The Society of Human Resources Management nationally and locally.