8 Questions to Ask to Determine the Best Practices You Need to Implement

I received an email recently asking for articles on recruiting best practices within immature companies. It’s a solid request but broad in scope because, depending on who you ask, “recruiting best practices” will vary with the number of people you ask. What I feel are best practices may differ significantly from someone else’s. I say this because it was the lack of quality recruiting practices I experienced that ultimately drove me out of recruiting and into what I do now. There is a school of thought that small companies need to approach recruiting best practices differently from large companies.

At a high level I disagree. I believe that a company, regardless of size or maturity, needs quality, effective recruiting practices and has the ability to implement them. In determining what these best practices are for your company, a number of questions need to be asked and evaluated. That said, there are some issues early stage companies deal with that large companies don’t, and vice versa.

I suspect that if I asked 100 recruiters what they consider to be best practices in recruiting I’d get similar responses at a high level and different responses at a granular level. For example, if I asked recruiters whether or not candidates should receive a response to job inquiries, I believe they’d all say “yes” (high level). Where many people would differ is in answering the (granular level) question, “How should I respond and in what timeframe?” Elaine Orler wrote a post recently telling a story of an individual at a large company who asked each of his recruiting departments around the world a question with a negative consequence to get ideas on how to make the candidate experience better. It was a very interesting approach to get his recruiters to look at issues in a new way. The bottom line is that overall there are practices that we can probably agree are positive for our organizations. How they’re implemented is where we may differ in our approaches.

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Regardless of the practices you implement and the way you choose to implement them, they need to align with your answers to the questions I pose below. There are some questions that will be more appropriate given the size and maturity of your company, but in general there are certain questions you need to be asking to begin the process. This list is not comprehensive, but will give you a good jumping-off point.

  1. What is your business strategy?
  2. Is what you do in your work aligned with that business strategy, and is everyone in the company aligned with it?
  3. Is your executive team operating according to the company mission, vision, and strategy?
  4. What is your turnover rate? What is turnover costing? Why are you having turnover?
  5. What is the experience we want our candidates left with?
  6. What are the common denominators that appear in our successful and unsuccessful employees?
  7. Are we clear on our culture and are we hiring to people who fit that culture, as opposed to just having the right skills and abilities?
  8. Are our recruiters partners with our hiring managers? Do our hiring managers see the value in the recruiters?

The questions I’ve posed are imperative to begin to determine not only your recruitment strategy but also the best practices that follow and align with this strategy. Remember that your talent strategy (which includes recruiting best practices) needs to align with your business strategy. Without this alignment you won’t truly have “recruiting best practices.”

Carol Schultz is a pioneer in the recruitment process optimization and career strategy industries. She has built a client base of countless individuals and myriad companies from early stage pre-IPOs to publicly traded companies. She uses 20 years of recruiting experience where she honed her industry expertise and formed an intrinsic understanding of successful recruiting processes and the critical nature of alignment with corporate goals and objectives.

She takes a thoughtful approach to talent and focuses all her time on assessing, analyzing, and deploying recruiting strategies and processes that work. Her consulting and training company, VerticalElevation.com offers a fresh approach to talent strategy and incorporates the executive management team’s core values so they permeate every aspect of the hiring process. As an advisor and coach to corporations, she makes a stand for best practices to attract and retain the best and the brightest.


2 Comments on “8 Questions to Ask to Determine the Best Practices You Need to Implement

  1. Thanks Carol.

    As a guide to the principles of best recruiting practices, I again present my Agile Recruiting Manifesto:

    Manifesto for Agile Recruiting
    (This was “sampled” from the Agile SW Development Manifesto. -kh)

    We are uncovering better ways of hiring people by doing it and helping others do it.
    Through this work we have come to value:
    • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    • Quick, quality hires over comprehensive documentation
    • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    • Responding to change over following a plan
    That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

    Principles behind the Agile Recruiting Manifesto
    We follow these principles:
    • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of quality hires.
    • Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
    • Deliver quality hires frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
    • Internal customers and recruiters must work together daily throughout the project.
    • Build projects around motivated individuals.
    • Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
    • The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a recruiting team is face-to-face conversation.
    • A quality hire which is on-time and within budget is the primary measure of progress.
    • Agile processes promote sustainable employee development.
    • The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
    • Continuous attention to professional excellence and first-class service enhances agility.
    • Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work NOT done–is essential.
    • The best requirements, processes, and hires emerge from self-organizing teams.
    • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

    I challenge staffing organizations to adopt, implement, and maintain these policies and principles. Don’t know how? I’ll be happy to show you.


    Keith Halperin

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