Six bottom-line best practices in recruiting

Recruiting strategies may flex and change with economic conditions and in reaction to competitors in the market. But there are certain best practices that are a constant benefit to every organization that adheres to them, whether the economy is up or down. Recruiting excellence has a direct, and positive, impact on the bottom line. Increasing revenue per employee and saving turnover costs are two important benefits. Here are six recruiting best practices that will make a measureable difference in your business.

One—Assess candidate and culture fit.
Go beyond the usual tactical list of competencies and required experience; hire to fit your culture and values. A better understanding of a candidate’s personality traits, motivation factors, work behavior and preferred activities is often the most important in determining a candidate’s potential success in your organization. Additionally, in making hiring decisions don’t give much weight to your personal instincts, which are sometimes accurate, but frequently not. Instead, use assessments to gain insight about candidates and eliminate subjectivity. There are many excellent assessments on the market to measure candidates’ character, values and soft skills; and quantify the data to show the cultural fit with your organization. Best practice includes hiring a neutral third party to administer the assessments, and then get a second opinion.

Two—Outsource some of the process.
In recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), an organization contracts with a provider to act as its internal recruitment function for pieces of the recruiting process, or to manage the entire function for a period of time. RPO providers do everything from profiling candidates through on-boarding new hires, providing staff, technology, procedures and reporting. RPOs increase the quality of the candidate pool, improve the time to hire rate, provide metrics, help ensure compliance, and reduce costs. They also allow your managers to focus on the right candidates. Best practice includes making sure that RPO provider and management thinking on recruitment is aligned.

Three—Establish a robust referral program.
Employees usually refer only family and friends they trust and know will fit into the culture of their organization. This makes employee referrals some of the best possible hires. Organizations like Ohio’s AmTrust Bank, which won the 2008 ERE Media Recruiting Excellence Award for innovative retention, have found that their referral programs have increased performance and retention. An effective referral program makes it easy for employees to provide information about their organization. Providing a card or flyer that explains the benefits of working for your organization helps. Best practice includes rewarding employees with something they truly value.

Four—View recruiting as a lifecycle process.
Put effective procedures in place to transition people from candidate to employee, ensuring that recruiting and on-boarding processes reflect well on your organization. Get feedback from new employees as they merge into the company culture and continue this dialogue with employees throughout their employment, and when they terminate. Best practice includes a formal and ongoing program for effective employee communication.

Five—Make retention part of your recruitment program.
Turnover is costly, with estimates running from 150 percent of annual compensation for typical employees to 400 percent or more for key people. Use metrics to identify and analyze turnover trends in your organization so that you can better predict recruitment needs and plan for succession. Best practice includes providing managers with a retention toolkit and making retention planning part of every manager’s performance goals.

Six—Keep up to date with trends.
Recruitment is riding a wave of innovation. The increased ability to make hiring decisions based on data rather than intuition is helping organizations anticipate and manage future needs and events with greater business acumen. In order to remain competitive today, you need to be creative in incorporating new ideas into your recruiting program. Best practice includes adopting social media and metrics in recruitment and ensuring flexibility in your culture in terms of benefits, work hours, work location and other areas that workers increasingly expect.

Best practices in recruiting cannot stand alone, but they are an effective start in reinforcing your culture and improving your bottom line. Align them with best practices in other areas of your organization and you’ll ensure a strong, competitive position in any market condition.

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Comment by Charles Van Heerden on October 19, 2009 at 5:10am
Kathleen, great points - particularly point 4 as lifecycle process. I would add the use of smart technology as an enabler and making the recruitment process imminently more streamlined.
Comment by Sylvia Dahlby on October 19, 2009 at 8:47pm
Great article. Note that if item #1 is done correctly, item #5 will take care of itself.
Comment by Patrick Tien on October 27, 2009 at 5:16pm
Excellent points Kathleen. The recruiting landscape is changing with Social Media and I'm glad you addressed that in #6. Social recruiting is gaining steam every day and can't be ignored much longer. I agree with many industry thought leaders that job boards will be used less and less because of social media. Further, companies need to boost their existing Employee Referral Program. We all know this is the cheapest way to hire and research shows that referred employees tend to stay longer at a company. This would help with rentention issues and at the same time, boosting morale of employees who feel they've made a positive impact on the organization by referring a good person, and getting compensated. Who wouldn't like that?


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