Roadmap for the Perfect Recruiting Process

If someone was to ask you to describe and diagram, in detail, your company’s recruitment process, could you do it? I don’t mean simply creating a job requisition, posting a job, reading resumes, interviewing and making offers. I’m talking about the entire process, including:

  • Building a comprehensive workforce plan
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  • Understanding true costs per hire from different sources
  • Planning a budget and expenditures
  • Building the right recruiting team (internal and external)
  • Formulating corporate marketing and branding
  • Creating a targeted recruiting strategy using the Internet, referrals, print and third-party recruiters
  • Managing or implementing technologies
  • Narrowing candidates quantitatively and qualitatively
  • Utilizing testing and assessment tools

If you are not currently examining how you work with each of these items in your current process, you should be. This article and the next three to follow in this series will help you see how you can constantly improve your overall recruiting strategy with seven easy steps. I’ll cover each of these steps in detail, starting with the first three. Step One Ask yourself if your company is currently hiring and retaining the best people to ensure the growth and strength that the executive team, the stockholders, and you are expecting. Be honest with yourself when you answer this question?? the wrong kind of paradigm can create a false sense of security. If your answer is a resounding yes, then congratulations and keep recruiting the same way, with constant analysis to see if the process needs to be changed or tweaked. For most of us it’s not as simple as that, but if your process is truly?? and I do mean truly?? working, then keep it up. If like many of us you hesitate slightly and answer maybe or no, then you need to understand why you are not hiring and retaining the best and the brightest. Step Two Block out some time in your busy schedule to write down the entire recruiting process for your company. Don’t think too hard about this. Break out the major steps that you know exist, put them on paper, and give them some type of order. If you have difficulty writing this down fairly quickly (within 30 minutes), you need to make sure you have a formal process for recruiting?? from your development of an annual workforce plan (including new hires, lateral moves, promotions, and terminations) to the creation of a requisition to the actual day the person steps into their new job. I would encourage you to have everyone in your corporation that has a part in the recruiting effort go through this process as well. And this should not be just for the human resources group, but also for hiring managers, legal, procurement, IT, marketing and the executive team. Recruitment is paramount for the success of your organization, and too many companies today often take the process for granted. Decisions are made in other parts of the organization that can directly impact your recruiting process, allowing it to be award-winning or not worth doing at all. All of the departments listed above have a part to play in the corporate recruiting process. The executive team and all hiring managers have to know their true needs for staffing and be responsive to the recruiting staff. The marketing team can be leveraging their advertising dollars to get a double hit?? branding a product for customers and the company for employment candidates. The legal, procurement and IT groups also need to be aware of how their responsiveness, or lack thereof, in some cases can undermine the best structured recruiting process. I have seen too many times decisions on contracts, vendors, pricing, and technology being made in a vacuum by people that will never have to implement or utilize the products and services they make the final decisions on. (One of my favorite stories is about a procurement representative and a corporate attorney deciding which career sites should be used and how much to spend for them with only a recommendation from the recruitment department. In the end, it is very likely the company received minimal, if any, value from what they bought and the “negotiated” terms of the contract.) Companies that can truly say they have a team focused on recruiting (that includes all of the groups listed earlier) will be successful regardless of what the economy and market throws at them. Getting all of those different mindsets together to make an informed decision on the process, costs, technology and vendors will ensure a quality recruiting process. Step Three Every organization should have a roadmap or diagram of what their recruiting process looks like, the steps along the way, and the people involved at each step. Creating one is fairly simple. When you have an open position within your company, what steps do you take to fill it? Obviously you don’t know when someone is going to quit, but you do have the data on who is likely to retire, what departments are growing, who the star performers are that are going to be promoted, and what the strategic plans for the corporation are for revenue growth. These items make up the foundation for your annual workforce plan. If I could express anything more strongly, it would be to not skip this step. A workforce plan?? updated annually, with input from across the company?? will help you budget and spend wisely. This is the foundation of improving your ROI when it comes to recruitment dollars spent. As you begin to create your recruiting process, think about what you do today and look at how it flows (remember that process that you quickly wrote down earlier?). Would a new recruiter at your company be able to look at the process as it stands and understand how it functions? Go back and fill in any holes or steps that might seem ambiguous or missing to an outside person. The process should include the person that is responsible for each phase and a timeline from creating a requisition to accepting an offer. In the next article we will explore how to judge the value of each step in your process and determine what needs improvement each year. Even with a well-thought-out and implemented recruitment process, there is always room for improvement, and often a need for justification for budget expenditures. This means knowing your true cost per hire and where you can afford to spend additional dollars on technology that will actually decrease your cost per hire. Part 3 will explore everyone’s favorite time of the year?? budget season, or how to get what you want without any available money! The final article in the series will look at how marketing’s efforts can be used to support the hiring process, as well as new, innovative and fun ways to set your recruiting process apart from your competition.

Jeff Dahltorp ( is the director of global marketing and business development for TruStar Solutions, the leader in "creating exceptional hiring strategies." He is a regular contributor to notable industry publications and is a recognized speaker at tradeshows and events. His responsibilities with TruStar Solutions include overseeing the marketing department and developing new strategic alliances. Jeff has over 10 years of business experience in the area of marketing, sales, consulting, product development and product management.