Get Ahead of the Game with your Recruitment Strategy

7 months ago

Tight competition in today’s hiring market requires that you take a step back and assess your recruitment strategy.

Now, more than ever, employers are finding it hard to acquire top talent. The competition is stiff, and as the old adage goes: good help is hard to find. That means your recruitment strategy is critical for your organization’s success.

The demand for qualified talent is high and the talent pool low.  To add to this, employers are facing transitioning generational drivers. The workforce today is looking for a very different workplace than that of generations before.

What does all of this mean for you and your organization? It means you need to have an engaging recruitment strategy in place. You need to know what you are going to do, when you’re going to do it and how.

Do you have a recruitment strategy?

We mean a real hiring strategy. A haphazardly written note scrawled on the side of your last department meeting minutes that says “Hire 100 more people by the end of Q4” does not constitute a plan.

Having a hiring strategy means you have gathered data on your market, you know the difficulties and challenges of recruiting today, have a developed compensation model in place, created organization charts, and established objectives for success and ideally reporting metrics to quantify success and the decisions that get made throughout the process.

Finally, have you communicated your intentions across the company?  We cannot emphasize enough the need to over-communicate your goals internally so that your current employee base is as much a resource as the means by which you will outreach to candidates.

Okay, that was a lot of work….now you can start recruiting, right?  Okay, let’s decide how you are going to actually do the recruiting. Are you going to do it organically, utilize job boards, or perhaps an RPO model?  Have you considered a strategy that includes acquisitions? Perhaps you will try all of the above and add the resources of an external search firm. Ultimately, there isn’t a right or wrong answer, but your decisions should be strategic AND ensure that the market feels as though you’re recruiting in a strategic fashion as well.  A clumsy approach to recruiting can be sniffed out quickly – don’t trip, not in this market.

Any way you do it, once you have your strategy set, you are ready to think about the rest of the process. The recruiting process is about more than just having a strategy. It is about engaging candidates, selling your organization to them and creating a desire to give you their time, energy, and passion (yes, it’s not just a job, don’t think of it as a transaction).

Planning for candidate engagement.

Having a great candidate apply for a position at your organization does not mean it is a done deal.  In fact, I’d say you are still at the starting line at best. Every communication, from when your desired candidate steps foot into your office to the second they leave counts.  Are you up for the challenge?

The first impression

We have all heard that first impressions are crucial in relationship building and that makes them an important part of your candidate engagement process. You can start by thinking about what happens when a candidate enters your office. Does your receptionist greet them? Do other employees engage and say hello, make eye contact, appear friendly and welcoming?  Are they given a seat on the couch next to the office dog? One of my clients has an adorable 3 legged dog and I love it but will your candidate? Do you have an agenda with names and titles of those interviewing them?

The pre-interview period is all about making a candidate feel welcome and comfortable. These first few minutes set the tone of the candidate’s experience while giving a glimpse into the culture and spirit of your organization.

I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is to have a candidate return from an interview and say that the client was unprepared (certainly the same is true when a client says that about a candidate).  I’ve heard horror stories that range from interviewers being late, didn’t show at all, they talked about the wrong jobs or said, “Now what job are you here for?” It’s not cute because you’re a fast-growing start up and you don’t get a “do-over” – do it right the first time and make sure your organization knows what’s happening (remember that communication thing I mentioned earlier).

If you expect a candidate to be prepared, arrive on schedule, come with thoughtful questions, and has done their research, then the same should be true of the expectations of your organization.

During the interview

The interview allows you to get to know your candidate, but it also allows your candidate a chance to get to know both you and your company.  It should go without saying, but I will anyway. Please have a plan! Please have questions prepared, please let the interviewer know who they’re interviewing and for what job (get titles right), please make sure you know what types of questions to ask and what not to ask, and prepare a mechanism to report back on your interview so you have qualitative and quantitative data to support your decisions.

This section requires much more thought than what I will discuss here – but please don’t assume your team are great interviewers and will ask the right things.  I’ve been in Search for 24 years and have interviewed probably 25,000+ people in my career and I’m still learning.

A crucial part of the interview itself will be how you approach your company’s mission statement and values. Your mission statement and values help you determine who you are looking for as a candidate, which makes your recruiting process that much smoother.  This is especially important if you are a mission driven organization and that is part of your value proposition.

What happens after the interview?

Your post-interview is the final step for you to give your candidate a look into your organization. Much like the candidate’s first impression, it sets the tone for the rest of your interactions together. Do you walk them to the elevator or door, shake their hand and thank them for coming? Have you shared your follow-up timeline with them?  Did you follow up with them as you said you would?

Remember, you interview more people than you hire.  The candidates you don’t hire should still have a positive experience with you and speak well of you in the market, further building your brand as a company.  Negative feedback travels fast and builds on itself, don’t allow that to be a factor in future recruitment efforts.

In today’s recruiting world it is essential that you not only stay on top of your hiring game but ahead of the pack. There is fierce competition to acquire the right talent, and you need to be a top choice for the best candidates. Not every candidate that walks through the door is going to be the perfect candidate for you, but everyone is a potential bridge to the ideal fit. Give your organization an advantage by putting your best foot forward. It doesn’t happen without effort.


If you are searching for qualified accounting, finance, information technology or engineering professionals around the greater Bay Area to join your team, get in touch!