July 14, 2023
July 14, 2023

Mastering Recruitment: Everything You Need to Know About Recruiting

Isabel Strijland

What is recruitment?

Recruitment refers to the process of identifying, attracting, and selecting talent to bring on board in your company.

It is the key to the success of any business and plays a crucial role in building a talented and capable team. As people are the core of the company, recruitment functions as the gatekeeper to get those people in. Companies that hire the right people, will win the market. 

What is a recruitment strategy?

A recruitment strategy is a plan of action that outlines how a company intends to attract, source, and select the right candidates to fulfil its current and future talent needs.

It is a proactive and systematic approach to finding and hiring qualified individuals. The strategy is executed by a clear recruitment process. Or as Workable phrases it, "A recruitment strategy is a clear-cut hiring plan that defines the roles your company plans to recruit for, when and where those job opportunities will be posted, and the evaluation strategies through which you'll identify top candidates."

What is a recruitment process?

A recruitment process refers to the series of steps and activities undertaken by an organisation to identify, attract, and select qualified individuals to fill job vacancies. It is a crucial aspect of human resource management and involves finding the right candidates who possess the required skills, qualifications, and experience to meet the organisation's staffing needs.

The recruitment process involves several steps that are all needed to make the right decision and build effective teams. Keep in mind that this is just an example and that every company and industry needs different nuances in their recruitment process. 

1. Finding the need 

Recruitment works with the business and the hiring managers together to decide which roles to open in the business. To make sure that you do not over or under-hire, you can use market data to get an average on-time to hire and plan what is needed.

Don't regardless add people to seats just to grow, plan carefully and figure out of the need has to be filled by hiring, or you can also look at automation, upscaling, hiring freelancers or blending the role into other people's responsibility. This research period is key to launching the right role and would save you a lot of costs down the line, as hiring is more efficient and the role is there to stay. 

2. Sourcing candidates

Once you aligned the needs, with the hiring team, and have outlined that in a clear job description, you can start to look for candidates that fit the requirements. Don't underestimate this part of the recruitment process. Utilise your social media recruiting strategies to reach even the passive candidates. Filling the pipelines with fitting, but diverse candidates makes the screening and selection more impact.

Source candidates from communities, platforms, referrals, and applicants in order to get a diverse talent pool. Also don't shy away from working with agencies on niche or high-quantity roles - they will give you a competitive advantage. Make your sourcing strategy diverse and your pitch on point!

3. Evaluation of candidates

Screening starts by looking at the profiles of passive candidates (that you source) and applicants. Now that you starting to speak to candidates, the screening process starts. Instead of just having a big part of your employees talk to the candidates and come up with their evaluation, you should design a detailed screening process.

Take into account that every company is unique in its process, so design it to what fits your company. This includes:

  • Stages: the different stages they go through, don't forget the culture fit stage.
  • Interviewers: think about who they have to meet to get a clear picture of the role & company and vice versa. Also, train your interviewers - find out how.
  • Scorecards: standardised cards that give a scoring system on the traits you are looking for in a candidate. Learn how to create them here.
  • Culture fit: To decide who fits the team in values and ways of working, it is important to involve a team member in the interview process, that might not be involved in the team you are hiring for.
  • Reference checks: before extending an offer, ask for references from the candidates to find out more about their background. Also, use this as an opportunity to find out more about the strengths and points to improve the candidate.

4. Offering and hiring candidates

Nothing is certain until it is signed. When the recruiter aligned all stakeholders to come to a decision and guided the candidate through until the end of the process, the last face starts with offering the job. This includes detailing the terms and conditions of employment, salary, benefits, and start date. 

5. On boarding the employee

On-boarding already starts from the first contact with the candidate. This is the place where you can find out their needs, wants and their way of working. Once the candidate has signed, you can share the insights with the hiring manager of the team to start designing a customised onboarding on top of the standardised onboarding of the company.

It's good to consider:

  • Necessary training
  • Facilitating a smooth transition into their new role
  • Getting a coffee with the team members before the start date
  • Reading list before the start date
  • Clear step-by-step plan for the first 30 days
  • Idea of the first 90 days 

Effective recruitment practices are crucial for attracting top talent, ensuring a diverse workforce, and ultimately contributing to the success and growth of a company.

Why do you need a strong recruitment process and strategy?

People are the means to the success of your company. With a strong recruitment process, you attract and select the right talent to join your teams, which will give you a competitive advantage in the market. When you look at the downside of bad recruitment, a common metric is the cost of a bad hire. According to Harvard Business Review, the costs of employee turnover are estimated to range between 100% and 300% of the replaced employee’s salary. This will make you think twice when bringing in an agency or hiring slower.

Many companies do not put enough attention and care into their recruitment processes as they never take the time to set up or review it after a first-time trial. However, the process is crucial to bring quality talent on board. Building a scalable and repeatable recruitment process makes you take out the human bias, and evaluate what the company needs at that time.

Finding a balance between the requirements, the time and the money spent is needed to make recruitment efficient. This could mean that you would hire a more junior employee for a more senior role and need to train them internally.

Keep in mind that your process and strategy will never be perfect. Hiring your team is a balance.

  • Requirements: what are must-haves and nice-to-haves?
  • Time: how many hours/resources can you spend on recruiting the ideal candidate?
  • Budget: what budget to have for your in-house team, agencies, job boards, etc?

Processes and strategy are nothing without execution, so you would need a strong team to get the hiring done.

How to build your recruitment team? 

Having a base of an in-house team, and the flexibility of agency on top of that is king!

1. In-house team can focus on different expertises, or when smaller serve as generalists 

  • Tech and business expertise - knows the company well and can learn more by educating themselves on the market.
  • Sourcing - map out markets and hire where talent is.
  • Coordination - can be done by a recruiter or a dedicated team.

2. Agency

  • Embedded recruiters - to bring in knowledge and network in your business in a flexible manner.
  • Executive recruiters - to hire your leaders; here you need to bring in expertise.
  • Market insights - constantly monitoring the market and has insights from other companies.
  • One-off roles - to give access to niche talent pools.
  • Sourcing support - to fill your candidate pipelines faster.

Take agencies into account when you budget your hiring. It is crucial for your success.

In Europe, there are some young recruitment markets. For example, there is a huge difference between the German and the United Kingdom market when it comes to structuring your recruitment team. In the UK it is very common to get agencies onboard to do hires with and for you, in Germany in comparison, there is a focus on in-house teams mainly.

Having a combination of in-house and agency brings flexibility in resources and the thought of your team. With agencies, you can be on- and off-board at any given time, and they would bring in expertise and network that you otherwise have to build yourself. In-house teams are there for the long term and see through the different hiring waves the companies go through.

What makes a strong recruiter?

The t-shaped recruiter is one of the modern age, where you need to almost function as an entrepreneur in the business, having broad skills on:

  • Business acumen: understanding the wider business model, product, and strategy to set up the right processes to bring on board the right talent.
  • Knowledge of business units: hiring is not just per role, it influences the whole business unit, recruiters need to be quick to understand how the role is placed in the context of the wider unit.
  • Tool proficiency: being able to work with tools to improve the efficiency and quality of recruitment processes.
  • System-mind: for example understanding that one change in your employer branding,  influences the hire you make in the end. Recruitment is based on a whole system, that is the sum of its part in the hire made.

And having deep skills on:

  • Stakeholder management: bringing the company, hiring manager, and candidate together in making the right hire.
  • Networking: connecting to all those stakeholders to build out pipelines and make sure decisions are made.
  • Communicating: to drive a strong candidate experience, or be efficient in hiring the recruiters need to be able to communicate to all kinds of stakeholders clearly.
  • Sourcing: every successful recruiter is a star in sourcing. This is about knowing where to find the right candidate, identifying the match, and making sure they want to speak or listen to you.
  • Flexibility: as context, opinions, and business change constantly, the recruiter needs to adapt to these changes to deliver great results.
  • Problem-solving: don't forget that the recruitment business is all about humans, and that also means a lot of details change in a short period which can result in problems.

 How to do recruitment well

There are a hundred things to think of, but a good reminder is that recruitment takes place in the context of the business and the wider world. To excel in recruitment, several key practices should be followed.

  1. Conducting a thorough job analysis helps define clear job requirements. Effective sourcing strategies expand the candidate pool, including job boards, networking, and employee referrals.
  2. A streamlined screening & interviewing process, including resume screening, and assessments, to help identify the most qualified candidates.
  3. Effective communication with candidates throughout the process fosters a positive candidate experience. Even if you as a recruiter don't know the feedback, do inform your candidate of the wait time.
  4. Making data-driven decisions, tracking metrics, and continuously refining recruitment strategies to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.
  5. Building a strong employer brand, fair and inclusive practices, and timely onboarding contribute to successful recruitment outcomes.
  6. Building an agile recruitment team, gives you the flexibility to act on trends and market changes.

All of the above comes down to strong collaboration. A good recruiter can do all of the above and bring it together in the act of hiring.

Trends in 2023

Recruitment also operates in the context of its time, and market movements and technological developments influence where recruitment teams have to focus.

  • Hypergrowth vs layoffs: with the fluctuating market we see companies at the beginning of 2022 hiring without limit. Front-loading many positions to be ahead of the market and a pure focus on growth. With the war starting and recession & inflation being unavoidable, the investor market was cut in half and revenue results have been lower than expected. This resulted in companies laying off talent or freezing their hiring. The impact on recruitment is that candidates flud the market, where according to Ashby application to one job role has gone up by 300%. Recruiters have to take into account the fear that comes from candidates looking for a new role after a layoff and has to be stronger and more transparent than ever.
  • AI in hiring: The use of AI tools in the world is growing - with the rise of CHatGPT, AI literacy, has grown as people got used to using it. There is no recruitment team that doesn't use it to brainstorm roles, and texts, or find out more about a specific vacancy. Its usage of it will find an uprise until its effects are clear and the regulations are in place. About 79% of recruiters think that people won't be involved in the recruitment process in the near future, according to Tidio. AI can support automating repetitive tasks, screening resumes, conducting initial candidate assessments, brainstorming information, and even improving the candidate experience through chatbots. Saving a lot of time for recruitment teams, and removing human bias in our judgments. It does come with challenges too - find out more with this Talking Talent event on Hiring with AI.
  • Remote Hiring: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work and virtual hiring processes. Even after the pandemic, remote hiring and virtual interviews stay relevant, offering greater flexibility and access to talent worldwide. Access to talent is endless when hiring remotely - but when scaling your company, keep in mind how you drive a strong company culture remotely and which time zones are needed to stay connected as a team.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: companies are increasingly recognising the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. They are actively working to create diverse candidate pipelines, combat bias in hiring practices, and ensure equal opportunities for all candidates. This starts with building your recruitment processes inclusive and all the communication around it. However, make sure you are not only trying to build a diverse team, but also build an inclusive culture for that team to stay.

Recruitment in context

Recruitment is not a siloed function but operates and is influenced by the market the company operates in and the different teams that are hiring. The factors that influence go hand-in-hand with the above-mentioned trends.

Fluctuation in needs

  • Company Needs: The specific requirements and staffing needs of a company heavily influence the recruitment process. Factors such as business growth, expansion into new markets, technological advancements, or the need to replace departing employees can drive recruitment efforts.
  • Market Conditions: The state of the labour market, including factors like unemployment rates, skill shortages, and talent competition, significantly influences recruitment. In a tight labour market with high demand for skilled professionals, companies may need to adopt more proactive and creative recruitment strategies to attract qualified candidates.

Building strong & flexible structures 

  • Employer Brand: The reputation and brand image of a company play a significant role in attracting candidates. A strong employer brand, positive work culture, and good reputation as an employer of choice can help the company attract top talent more easily. On the other hand, negative publicity or poor employer branding can make recruitment more challenging.
  • Compensation and Benefits: Competitive compensation packages, including salaries, bonuses, and benefits, can be influential factors in attracting and retaining candidates. Companies that offer attractive and comprehensive compensation and benefits packages tend to have an advantage in recruitment.
  • Recruitment Channels: The selection of recruitment channels can impact the pool of candidates reached. Different channels, such as job boards, social media, professional networks, employee referrals, and recruitment agencies, have varying effectiveness and reach. The choice of channels depends on the target candidate pool, industry practices, and the company's resources.

Efficient recruitment

  • Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives: Companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion in their workforce often implement specific recruitment strategies to attract candidates from diverse backgrounds. These initiatives aim to ensure equal opportunities, mitigate bias, and create a more inclusive work environment.
  • Technological Advancements: The use of technology in recruitment, such as applicant tracking systems (ATS), artificial intelligence (AI), and automation tools, can significantly influence the efficiency and effectiveness of the hiring process. Technology can streamline candidate sourcing, screening, and assessment, saving time and resources for recruiters.
  • Setting up legal: Recruitment practices are influenced by legal and regulatory frameworks, such as equal employment opportunity laws, data protection regulations, and immigration policies. Compliance with these regulations is essential to ensure fair and lawful recruitment processes.

What enterprise can learn from startups and vice versa?

  • Enterprises have been around for decades and startups get handed over a large sum of money and need to scale quickly. What can they learn from those that have been around for long?
  • Enterprises can learn from startup recruitment practices by embracing agility and adaptability.
  • Startups often have a lean approach, moving swiftly to attract and secure top talent. Enterprises can adopt a similar mindset, streamlining their recruitment processes, minimising bureaucracy, and being responsive to candidates.
  • Startups excel in leveraging employer branding to attract candidates, and enterprises can benefit by enhancing their brand image.

On the other hand, startups can learn from the bigger players on the following:

  • Enterprises have structured and scalable processes. Implementing standardised processes, investing in technology, and establishing robust processes can help startups efficiently manage their growing recruitment needs and support long-term talent acquisition strategies.
  • Enterprises have a strong brand all around, startups can learn from their methods of getting their brand seen, by putting their team members forward.

So what to take from this?

Hire slow and fire fast is the mantra to live by. Forbes clarifies that slow means to be selective, and fast means to be decisive. By investing in resources and time to design the right recruitment process and recruitment strategy behind it. Remember the context recruitment operates in and make sure to win with an of in-house and agency recruiters onboard. This is the best way to keep the gate and only let those pass that will take your company to the next level.



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