By: Paul Davis on May 17th, 2017

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Recruiting Solutions: How to Gain Greater Effectiveness

Best Practices | Talent Acquisition

You would be hard pressed to find a C-level executive who does not think that successfully staffing their organization can either make or break their organization in the long run. Aside from some roles directly impacting company revenue, losing out on top talent to competitors typically signals the slow and inexorable decline of a business. Luckily, there are a number of ways organizations can improve their recruiting effectiveness to avoid this undesirable outcome.

When I consult with my clients on improving their recruiting outcomes through a recruiting effectiveness audit, I oftentimes need to start by refocusing the recruiting analysis of what’s not working to include the structure and processes in place before the job posting is ever forwarded to a recruiter or recruiting company.

While I would be the first to agree that not all recruiters are equally effective, it is dangerous for organizations to focus purely on curing the visible symptoms of ineffective recruiting; i.e. just blame the recruiters for not finding the right people fast enough. Oftentimes there are deeper issues within organizations that need to be analyzed and addressed before a cure to ineffective staffing can be applied. I have listed below some of the common steps I take when working with clients to improve their recruiting effectiveness, all of which focus on cleaning up the recruiting process before a recruiter touches the vacancy.

Confirm the Roles and Responsibilities of Participants in the Recruiting Process

It’s near impossible for strategic leaders to simultaneously be steering the organization towards the company’s goals while also being neck-deep in playing traffic cop with all of the different stakeholders in the recruiting process. If you need to fill a critical position in your company yesterday, and your team involved in the recruiting process doesn’t have a clear idea of who’s responsible for what, you’ve already set yourself up for failure. There are multiple different stakeholders in the recruiting process, and they all need to be playing from the same sheet of music or else your staffing outcomes will be a reflection of internal chaos. Typical stakeholders/participants in the staffing process include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Contracts
  • Finance
  • HR
  • Project Managers/Hiring Managers
  • Technical SMEs Required for Effective Vetting (when applicable)
  • Security (when applicable)

When is the last time that your company had representatives from these different groups all in the same room at the same time to talk about their roles in the recruiting process, who is accountable for what, how different hand-offs occur, potential areas for improvement, and gaps in information sharing?

Clearly, these are all important things to have ironed out, and getting these areas fleshed out makes organizations more effective at getting the right people in the right positions.

Document the Recruiting Process

If you’ve followed the first step and got everyone together to discuss what an effective recruiting process looks like at the organization, it’s important to document the process. This is important because:

  • People can come away from meetings having heard the same words, but having different takeaways
  • It ensures continuity of staffing operations at your organization when employees leave and/or on vacation
  • It lays the groundwork for being able to hold stakeholders in the process accountable

All of the three above reasons alone should be reason enough to document the recruiting process and associated responsibilities. If you’re serious about enhancing your recruiting process, make sure that you’ve got it documented who is responsible for what, and how the process flows.

Ensure Accurate Solicitation of Job Requirements

When I talk about enhancing recruiting with clients, I like to give an example of how you can have the fastest car in the world, but if it isn’t pointed in the right direction it won’t get to the finish line. The same concept applies to recruiting. If you send out the best recruiter or team or recruiters to find candidates for your organization, they will never find the candidates that you want unless they know where the finish line is, and what success looks like for each individual placement.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t just mean having a great template for vacancies, or know what job boards or networks to find the candidates you’re looking for at. It is most critical, in my opinion, to ensure that the hiring manager is actively engaged in the requirements solicitation portion of the recruiting process so that the recruiter isn’t just trying to find candidates who best match requirements that are listed on the vacancy announcement.

There is a narrative behind each placement, background on each situation the employee will come into, and information on what requirements are the most important and any other special considerations regarding the role. Without being able to have an effective transferal of this information from the hiring manager, a recruiter only has what’s written down to go off of. It’s certainly enough to get the process some of the way, but it is never a full solution to effective recruiting.

Address Special Consideration for the Role and Plan Ahead

Some jobs and/or work environments for certain roles are unique enough that you can’t treat recruiting for those positions the same way that you would treat it for other positions at the same company. If the role that you’re recruiting for is technical, have you made sure that a technical subject matter expert has weighed in on the requirements, and potentially provided insight on additional technical expertise knock-out questions?

Think about the impact of not doing that; how much money would you be wasting while unqualified candidates are being moved through the recruiting process and taking up the time of your team when they could be much more effectively working to provide recruiting solutions for your organization.

Organizations can often get by with the ‘standard’ recruiting process for most positions. By design, your process should be built with an aim for organizational fit and efficiency. With that said, the listing of potential characteristics of jobs that constitute as exceptions to ‘standard’ jobs a company needs to recruit for are endless.

Along the same vein, to ensure effective recruiting, it is imperative for organizations to provide an accurate and realistic job preview to candidates. If you're communicating about a role to a prospective candidate and explaining it the same way that you describe other roles, and it is not like other roles, you very well may find yourself with a hire that is not the right fit, and who is also very unhappy with how they were sold on the position. Hoping that the individual doesn’t go on Glassdoor or LinkedIn to share they unfortunate experience with your company is not a good strategy.

Ensure The Right Team Is In Place and Trained for Success

A lot of the time organizations need to fill vacancies with all possible haste, and they concurrently also have a ton of other concerns that are taking up the time of their team members that are involved in any way with the recruiting process. What companies often do not follow through on though, is actually training every single point of contact who is involved in the recruiting process and/or has direct interaction with candidates.

This is not only key to ensuring a consistent messaging of the organizational culture and values to prospective candidates, but also to reducing potential discrimination-related liability. There are so many lawsuits that organizations find themselves dealing with that could have easily been avoided if they had just provided some basic training to those who are involved in employment-related decisions, such as recruiting. If your organization doesn’t train your managers regarding your organization’s culture and values, recruiting best practices, and compliance-related areas, then you are losing out on an opportunity to make your recruiting function more effective.

If your recruiting function is more effective, your company will be more successful and profitable, so seriously and professionally approaching all of these areas makes a lot of financial sense in just about every imaginable situation. Remember, your organization has a number of opportunities to derail the recruiting process before the job announcement is ever posted. The good news is that there are ways to turn this potential liability into a strategic asset for your organization.