6 Critical Steps in the Recruitment Process

The recruitment process has many moving parts and interlocking pieces, and when they aren’t working properly, the end result will be poor quality hires, lingering turnover problems, and a lower return on investment in recruiting effort and budget. The most effective recruiters today know the critical steps in the recruitment process, how to recognize problems with them, and how to make improvements that get results.

In a competitive job market riddled with skill shortages and passive candidates who aren’t actively looking at your company’s website career page, Facebook newsfeed or Twitter stream, every step of the recruitment process takes on added importance. But there are some steps in recruiting that are critical to successful hiring and retention outcomes, and these merit extra attention and improvement efforts

Figure Out Who Your Target Candidates Are

A successful recruitment process starts with a focus on the right type of candidates for the openings. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there” was written with the recruitment process in mind. For the best end result, you need to know who you’re looking for. To know how to best coordinate your recruiting tasks and activities, analyze the job description and talk to hiring managers about skills and experience levels, culture fit, and employment brand. Consider if you’ll target active job seekers or passive candidates, or a combination of both.

This is a critical beginning and planning – the success of the rest of the recruitment process depends on it. Knowing what types of candidates you need to hire guides you in sourcing (think college recruiting versus reaching out to industry professionals in technical forums and at association events).

Know Where Your Target Candidates Spend Time

When you know what types of candidates you need to hire, the next step is finding out where they spend their time so you can best position yourself and your recruiting message. For example, if you need top information technology graduates, knowing which schools graduate the most top IT students is vital to reaching those graduates. Check with the schools’ career placement offices and IT professors about how to get compelling information about your organization into their hands for students and graduates. If you need experienced financial industry professionals, find out what blogs, forums, and social media attract finance professionals so you can plan to participate there to get to know candidates better and inform them of your openings.

Candidate Engagement

An important factor in recruiting success is attracting candidates to your organization. To best do that, recruiters and employers must do more than just promote their employment brand. They need to know what top candidates are looking for in employers and career opportunities and tailor their recruiting messages accordingly. This type of critical recruiting information comes from engaging candidates through discussions via Google Hangouts, at industry conferences, surveys, and social media.

Candidate engagement is not just cold calling qualified candidates to talk about the benefits of working for your organization. It involves building a relationship, offering valuable insights, and finding out what top candidates want from their careers, employers, and work environments. Managing this kind of dialogue is what engagement is all about.
Find Out How Your Candidates Search for Jobs

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In order to be able to get in front of and next to the types of candidates that you’ve identified as right for your openings, you need to know how they search for jobs. Knowing how the candidates you need search for jobs takes some research. Talking to candidates in your talent community or pipeline about what they do when they start a job search is a good way to begin. Talking to existing employees about what they did when they were looking for a job before they started with your company is another good way to get this information. Going to social media and posing the question “How do you search for a job?” is yet another good source.

In “Knock ‘Em Dead 2013: The Ultimate Job Search Guide,” Martin Yale discusses how to integrate social networking into every aspect of job search. In his blog post “Find the Job You Like Through People You Like,” career change consultant and author Duncan Mathison discusses similar networking themes and their importance in job search and career advancement. Networking in today’s business environment and job market is much different than it was even ten years ago, and job seekers have a multitude of ways to make professional connections when looking for a job. Finding out how the candidates you need are networking is important to recruiting success.

Present Compelling Information

When recruiters and employers need qualified candidates for their open positions, they must present their companies and their opportunities in engaging and compelling ways. To get candidates interested in working at your organization, there must be easy ways to find out positive information about your jobs, your company, and your industry. To be most effective, the recruitment process must include identifying information candidates look for during their job searches, and making sure it’s available in a variety of formats such as mobile, social media, and print. That means sending quality printed material after phone conversations with top candidates, providing information of value on company websites such as employee testimonials about what it’s like to work there, participating in discussion of career paths and opportunities in social media, and using rich, descriptive job overviews rather than boring job descriptions.

Job seekers, whether active or passive, have many avenues to research your company and will seek and find information about your company culture and work environment in blogs, social media, and ratings sites. The recruitment process must include proactive tactics to participate in these venues to influence the information in them. Simple techniques such as monitoring Google Alerts with your company name to see where your company is being discussed and asking people in social media where they learn about your company help you tune in to the best ways to tell your company’s story to attract top talent.

Success Factors

If your recruitment process isn’t producing the results you need, leaving positions open too long, or failing to find the best candidates, take a look at each critical step to see where to make improvements. Analyze the recruitment process, looking at goals, how to measure success, and who is accountable, and make the changes needed to improve results.


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