Recruitment Strategy

The Key to Your Talent Search

Your recruitment strategy is the most important step in a company's quest to find top talent. Attracting top talent is how a company succeeds, in good times or bad...especially the bad times. So why do so many companies skip this critical step?

Typical Recruitment Strategy - The Perfect Bad Example

I your company is anything like the ones I have worked with in the past your strategy is something like the following;

  1. The Job Description - Once an order to fill a position is authorized, the hiring manager is asked to write a job description. That hiring manager then appoints someone in the department to write the job description. Usually someone just pulls the last one written for the position and changes around a few words. It is often just a list of what qualifications and experience someone thinks needs to be included on a resume. Everyone is happy it is done and gives their blessing.

  2. Gathering Candidates - The next step is to gather candidates, this is done either with a 3rd party vendor, a job board or by placing ads in newspapers and online. In good times you get a few, often bad, resumes. In bad times you get tons of resumes, good and bad.

  3. Resume Screening Process - Here's the really fun part. This is tedious work and often nobody is trained to do it properly. What ends up happening is the low man on the totem pole gets to sort through the pile of resumes looking for a couple that have the right keywords. No analysis of career path. No examination of skill sets. It is just matching keywords, job titles and years experience. Once four to six reasonable ones are found, the job is considered done.

  4. Phone Screens - Now it's time to call the candidates and see if they are as good as they seem on paper. Usually a short conversation by an internal recruiter or someone from HR. The questions verify are geared to verify information on the resume and more than likely just to feel out the candidate and their personality for fit within the company. If there are at least three candidates left after this the mission is still on track.

  5. Interviews - Finally it is time to interview. The candidates come in and meet with a hiring manager, supervisor and/or peers. None of these people has ever been trained to interview. Each has their own agenda and maybe a set of questions regarding experience and qualifications.

  6. Selection - At this point each interviewer essentially votes on their preference and if there is no clear favorite, the hiring manager breaks the tie. Everyone is just glad the process is over so they can go back to work!

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Most of the problems here are related to going through a mechanical process rather than implementing a well thought out recruitment strategy. It is an exercise in filling a position rather than a thoughtful strategic plan on how to improve the company. Important but mundane tasks like screening resumes and writing job descriptions are delegated to junior people without the insight or experience to discern important criteria needed for the position. The achievement is not to better the business but to fill the seat.

Creating an Effective Recruitment Strategy

A successful hire is the result of a carefully thought out strategy. This means before the process is even started, someone, probably the hiring manager needs to answer some of the 'big' questions about the position. The big questions are about how this candidate needs to contribute to the company and how it will be measured. There needs to be a Why and How included in the What at the start of the process.

For example, there are 3 reasons why a company hires an employee; to make money, save money or implement/improve a process. So how is this employee going to impact one or two of these areas? Why is it this position that will perform these functions? Why is the person in this position critical to the mission of the project or company? How is this person expected to be measured? You can see the pattern here.

Integrating the How and Why into the Process

Once these questions are answered, they need to be included in the ads placed online and in news papers. This will do two things for your company. It will differentiate you from the numerous other companies trying to hire the same to person. Also, if you can relay the importance of the position to a candidate, you clearly understand why it is important to the company. I'll also bet you get a better quality of resumes. Good candidates don't run from a challenge, bad ones do.

Once you are in the screening process and interview process, ask the how and why questions to the candidate, either directly in the interview or indirectly in examining the resume. Look at the progression of responsibility. Look for someone who has worked in the right kind of environment. Ask questions and challenge the candidate in an interview to explain how they would react to being asked to perform with the Why's and How's of the opportunity.

End Result

When you have fully integrated the whys and hows into your recruitment strategy, you will see a few things start to happen.

  • Improved understanding of the importance of any position and be able to explain the importance to a candidate.
  • Attract a higher caliber of candidates with your advertisements
  • Screening and interview process and skills will be clarified and it will improve the likelihood of a good decisions
  • Clear recognition of which candidate best answers the what, why and how for the job, resulting in better hires for the company.

Then and only the will you have an effective recruitment strategy that will deliver you top candidates and make your company a success.

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