Recruitment it really worth it?

One of the most common challenges I get is - ‘is it worth it? Is it worth creating a recruitment strategy?’. From personal experience, companies who take the time to review the current performance of their recruitment function and create a plan to improve, are most likely to succeed when they have a formal strategy to guide their way. Companies that simply react to business challenges can make some very expensive mistakes.

3 mistake you can make without a strategy

I need a larger team

The most common way managers think about improving the performance of a recruitment function is to increase the team in order to hire more people and to speed up delivery. This is understandable as if 2 recruiters hire 10 people per month then surely you need 3 recruiters to hire 15.  Adding extra people to your team can be a great idea, but the expense of doing so is significant and your hires will not improve productivity immediately. New team members will take time to bed in and become productive. Growing the size of your recruitment team doesn’t mean you will receive more candidates and focusing on you candidates attraction techniques can provide immediate and much greater benefit.

We need to advertise in more places

Advertising jobs has always been the cornerstone of recruitment, at least for as long as I have been around. More recently new tech has arrived to help the recruitment industry understand its data. Companies like Broadbean and Logic Melon help recruiters distribute their jobs to multiple job boards in just a few clicks and return candidates to your applicant tracking system (ATS) to be reviewed. If you decide to add extra job boards to your supplier list then this is a great way to distribute your jobs, but consider looking at the return on investment from your current job boards. You might just find out that you are receiving lots of applications but not many suitable candidates. By adding another job board you may just add extra work for your recruiters, with very little benefit.

I need to review my agency PSL

Agency PSL’s are often blamed when a recruitment function slows down. Reviewing you PSL will allow you to see suppliers that are performing well in comparison to other suppliers. After a review you can cut agencies that are not performing and replace them with new agencies who promise you the world. As part of the review you might even find that you can negotiate better rates with new suppliers providing cost efficiencies. When you add new agencies to your PSL you also add extra risk. The new agencies are not likely to purposely disappoint you but they have no experience in working with your team and are not engaged with your employer brand. You will be unable to ensure that your PSL are selling your company and jobs in a consistent way and that they are taking care over candidate quality and suitability. Often the real problems with your PSL is the method of doing business.  For example, if your jobs go out to 5 companies then the companies on your PSL only get paid for their work one fith of the time. You cannot expect your PSL to be as driven as if you had a sole provider who would get paid every time.

How a strategy avoids these challenges

A recruitment strategy drives a business to look at finding new talent proactively.  All of the challenges above are most often reactive in nature. Of course there will be time when you need to increase the size of your recruitment team and add extra suppliers. With a recruitment strategy you will say "I plan to” or “I know" rather than "I need to”. 

I plan to…increase the size of my recruitment team

During the creation of the recruitment strategy you will have undertaken workforce planning. You will understand when your peak demands are and when your business is going into growth mode. Through understanding this you will be able to hire new staff in time to ensure they are able to meet the demands of the business.
Alternatively, you might not need to increase the size of your team. By understanding the needs of the business you will be able to prepare for the increase in workload, before it arrives. There is a good likeliness that by developing a strategy that focuses on the best performing recruitment channels, developing talent pools and engaging those talent pools you will be fully prepare to meet the needs of your business without increasing the size of your recruitment team.

I know where to advertise…and where not to

During any strategy you define the audiences and stakeholders who have an impact on the success of the strategy. In researching the best channels to advertise you should speak to your current employees and look at where previous hires have come from. From this information you will be able to get a great idea of where you should advertise.
Additionally, your employees will tell you which places they avoid when looking for jobs and your ATS will provide data on channels that perform poorly. Now you will know where to advertise and where to stay away from blowing you to make the most of your time and budget.

I know what channels are most productive and cost effective

Your PSL should be considered as another channel in your recruitment strategy and should be reviewed in the same way but there is one major benefit. You get to decide the performance targets and how often they are reviewed. Often to get the best prices possible for job advertising and recruitment technology you need to sign up to minimum 12 month contracts. This is not so with your PSL, you can set performance targets and regularly cut suppliers who do not perform and encourage your top performers to continue if not improve. By reducing your PSL the top performing suppliers will have less competition, will see more opportunity to do business and so will dedicate more resources on providing the best service possible. If you are going to have a PSL keep it small and well managed as it will likely be the most expensive cost per hire in your recruitment strategy.

Proactive is the future

The world of talent attraction is never straight forward but is one of the most important aspects of most businesses. If your business needs people to win business, deliver services, create products or to retain business then you will not last long without people. Many leaders do not want the headache of recruitment which is why it is important to create strategy that will deliver the people they need in a way that they can trust their recruitment function to deliver. The best way to gain a leaders trust in your recruitment function is to engage them in a strategy which shows you are prepared for the future and are delivering the most cost efficient and highest quality services possible. 
So get out there and either create your own strategy or engage a strategy consultancy. Prove to your business leaders that your function is ready for the future and prove that your are a valued partner to your business.


Iain Hamilton

I have had the privilege of gaining a diverse array of experience in both in-house FTSE100 and recruitment agency style positions. More recently I launced People Traction. Check out our services here.

Throughout my career I have been passionate about providing a seamless and enjoyable application process and have lead projects to design company websites, careers sites and job boards.

I have been instrumental in creating and delivering global proactive recruitment strategies and training recruitment teams in how to pro-actively resource passive and active talent. The results of delivering a pro-active recruitment strategy have shown significant reduction in time to fill, improved candidate quality and significant cost savings.

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