Finding the right candidate for an open position takes time. In fact, a company will search for an average of between 36 and 42 days before they fill an open role. If you’re uncertain about where and how to find qualified candidates — the process could drag on for even longer.
A recruitment strategy plan sets your organization up for success. Defining goals and creating clear value propositions gives you a roadmap that works. Let’s talk about how to create a strategic path for hiring the right candidate as quickly as possible.
What is a recruitment strategy plan?
Imagine a company with an open role as a boat out to sea. A recruiter with a plan has a compass leading them to shore. A recruiter with no plan? Well, they are a bit adrift with no guarantee to find landfall anytime soon.
The purpose of a recruitment strategy is to define exactly what you want and how you are going to find it. Your strategy will outline things like:
- Who you’re looking for. Do you want to increase the diversity of your staff? Do you need more employees who are social media savvy? What are the skill gaps within your team?
- How fast you want to grow. Are you looking to add five people to the team this year? Ten? Which roles are must-hire this quarter, and which are more nice-to-have?
- What your employer brand says about you. Are you sending a message that will attract the candidate you want?
- How your value propositions set you apart. What can your company offer that the competition can’t? How will you sell this to candidates?
- How you plan to engage candidates. What is the protocol for reaching out to a new hire? How will you identify passive candidates who might be open to your available position?
- The financial specifics. What is your budget for job board averts? Can you offer a hiring bonus to management positions?
What are some examples of recruitment strategies?
A strategic recruitment plan is a step-by-step hiring guide that is personalized to your organization. These plans look different from company to company. You may even have slightly different strategies between departments.
To strategically plan your hiring process, you need to create broad goals, then refine them with action items. For example:
- Identify hiring needs. This should be a top priority, because it will guide the rest of your process. Your specific action items might be to: increase your headcount by 10 employees this year, find more candidates with management experience, and find a part-time payroll employee.
- Create an engagement protocol. This is an outline for how to interact with both active and passive candidates. Your action plan might include posting job ads on specific sites to solicit applications (active candidates) and searching specific keywords on LinkedIn to find candidates who may not be looking (passive candidates).
- Craft an employee value proposition. This is what sets you apart from the competition. Create messaging that will appeal to the type of candidate you want. If you’re looking for people interested in the newest gadgets and technology, your recruitment strategy might include highlighting the tech clients you work with, and any in-office amenities that techies would love.
How to create a recruitment strategy to find the best talent
Before you can set a 10-point recruitment strategy plan, you need to evaluate your company’s current needs. The best way to create a strategy that works is to inventory what you already have to determine what you’re missing.
There are four main components to any solid recruitment strategy.
- Plan (Your Overall Strategy)
The planning stage requires a lot of collaboration within your organization. You want to agree on skill gaps within your organization and determine a budget. You should also have a pipeline plan, such as an applicant tracking software. Your executives, human resources, and accounting will work together to outline your overall plan.
- Attract (the Right Candidates)
This part of your recruitment process involves highlighting your company’s mission, success stories, and happy employees. You want to create a brand story online that is appealing to people looking for a long-time employer. This may involve everything from becoming more involved on LinkedIn with thought leadership blogs to creating a tab on your website that elevates your company’s charity work in the community.
Why would someone who is highly qualified love to work there? What professional and personal support do you offer employees? Attracting candidates is a year-round process, even when there are no current open roles. Start earning a good reputation now, so job seekers know who you are later.
- Source (Ideal Candidates Actively)
Sourcing isn’t just about looking for a candidate when the immediate need arises. This part of recruitment is also about building out a network that can be mutually beneficial in the future. You want to build relationships with current employees who could offer excellent referrals, take part in mixer events where you can collect contact information from industry professionals, and follow relevant social media channels to see who is at the top of their game.
You also want to build out a Boolean search strategy as a part of your sourcing plan. Narrowing down your searches with AND, OR, and NOT modifiers helps you identify more specific candidates. Job fairs and college career days can also help you build out a network that proves fruitful later.
- Engage Candidates
This is the part of recruiting where you move away from the administrative part of the selection process and start actually talking to a potential employee. You should ask yourself questions like: How many candidates will you reach out to? How many candidates do you seek to interview? Do you have a candidate scorecard or other metric to help with hiring?
You need a strategy for identifying and reaching out to passive candidates. This includes industry professionals you identify on job sites or social media who may be a great fit, but who are not actively applying for your role. What is the appropriate language for asking them if they’re interested in your company? During the engagement process, you also want to have a follow-up communication schedule. And, you want to create a way to measure the success of your engagement methods so you know when you need to switch gears — which platform yields the highest number of responses?
- Establish a Candidate Selection Process
The next step after sourcing qualified candidates is to set selection criteria to decide on a final candidate. Selecting the best candidate can become incredibly time consuming if your process isn’t structured or data-driven. If you’ve used a consistent scorecard for each candidate, it can save you hours of trying to remember which prospect is the best fit.
- Conduct Background and Reference Checks
Then, you’ll need to conduct any background or reference checks to verify work experience and education, and assessing someone’s organizational fit. During reference checks, it’s important to ask open-ended questions about performance, accolades, and difficulties to learn as much as possible about your potential hire.
- Extend an Offer
Your recruitment strategy should define who contacts the candidate and extends the offer to the chosen candidate. The first step should be to call or email your ideal candidate and extend the offer. After you receive confirmation that a candidate is accepting the role, you should follow up with an official offer letter that details your agreement in writing.
- Establish an Onboarding Process
What happens after a candidate accepts your offer can impact how prepared you and the candidate are for his or her first day. You’ll need to get the new employee set up with any technology they will need for the role, and give them any information they need to have before their first day.
Creating a recruitment process is a careful process, but the effort is worth it. With a strategic recruiting plan, you can find the best candidates for your company. And, the best candidates stick around.