Building a Recruiting Strategy for the Year

In the coming months, many recruiters will take advantage of the cyclical nature of our industry and begin to assess their existing recruiting strategy and plan for the coming year. The simplest approach to this undertaking is to break down the recruitment life cycle and evaluate each of its phases, asking key questions along the way. Following are some suggestions for getting started. Planning and Needs Identification Start with Planning and Needs Identification. As you evaluate and evolve your recruitment strategy, make sure that you consider your company’s business strategy and growth plans. The goal here is to look at overall strategy, gain an understanding of upcoming hiring needs, evaluate the success of current processes, and identify areas to improve. Key questions to ask at this stage include:

  • What are the growth goals for the coming year?
  • What has attrition been and what factors may affect future attrition?
  • What is important to the organization in terms of recruiting and how can it be measured?
  • Have we been effective in creating an employment brand?
  • Has our current infrastructure been able to support our efforts?
  • How are you tracking recruiter successes? Hiring manager responsiveness?
  • What types of people will we need to hire?

Sourcing The next phase in the recruitment life cycle is Sourcing. Once you know the types of candidates you are after, you can begin to define a plan to locate those candidates. Remember, though, that there is no silver bullet for hiring; so taking a multimedia approach will broaden your reach and increase your chances for success. As you plan your sourcing strategy, put your marketing hat on and consider the following questions:

  • What sources have historically been the most effective?
  • Where is the best place to locate your target audience?
  • Which media best reaches your target audience?
  • Which strategies will entice a candidate to apply?
  • Do you have a means for delivering new opportunities directly to prospects?
  • Is a specialized sourcing team justified?

Screening and Selection With your sourcing plan in place, it’s time to assess your Screening and Selection process. At this point, you want to evaluate whether or not you are employing fair hiring practices, and look at the best approach for screening candidates. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How can we ensure the best possible match?
  • How can we manage candidate expectations and set a realistic picture?
  • Are we going to use any type of pre-employment testing? What criteria will we use to select these tools and how are they validated?
  • What interviewing technique will our team use and is training required?
  • What have been the road blocks in our screening process?
  • What approach will we take to communicate with the candidate?
  • Are we providing every opportunity for candidates to self-identify?

Offer and Close The next phase to assess in the recruitment life cycle is the Offer and Close. Closing a candidate begins during the first contact. When assessing your current closing process, consider each contact you have with a candidate and the impact that contact will have on the outcome.

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  • What has the offer-to-acceptance rate been?
  • What factors have impacted acceptance rates?
  • What is the market for the types of candidates you seek?
  • What are your strengths as an employer? Weaknesses?
  • What strategies can be implemented to increase closure rate?
  • What methods will be used for communicating with candidates and extending offers?

Assimilation The final phase, Assimilation, sets the tone for bringing the new hire into the fold. Assimilation not only plays a role in ensuring that the new hire starts after acceptance, it shapes the employment experience. The key question to ask here is: What strategies can be used to ensure that the assimilation is successful? At one time in my career I worked with a company that prided itself in having a diverse culture, with employees representing 18 different countries of origin. Upon arriving for the first day, all new employees received a “passport” with a list of tasks to complete that included learning about the company and various cultures represented. This is just one approach to fostering a diverse work environment; you may be able to come up with ideas of your own. Metrics Finally, don’t forget Metrics. It can be argued that the recruitment life cycle begins and ends with metrics. When evaluating current efforts, metrics should always play a critical role. Reviewing data is also important as you move through your strategy to continuously improve your efforts. Finally, at the end of the cycle, reviewing metrics can help determine what was successful and where changes may be necessary. Remember that evaluating data over time (trend data) is more effective than looking at point data. When establishing metrics consider the following:

  • What data will give you a true picture of program effectiveness?
  • Are you evaluating data that addresses fair hiring practices? Cost management? Shared accountability? Results?
  • Are you considering placement quality?

Whether evaluating an existing recruitment strategy or building a new one from scratch, breaking it down into phases can turn this daunting chore into a manageable task. It is important to take a holistic approach and make sure that your recruitment plan mirrors the overall business. Most importantly, when you have your recruitment strategy in place, don’t just file it away until next year. Use it as a road map, taking stock along the way to make sure you are on course.

Kimberly Bedore ( is a consultant and public speaker who develops and implements staffing solutions for clients, resulting in increased efficiencies and significant cost savings. She uses her wide range of recruiting experience to provide companies with a wealth of information related to sourcing and sourcing strategies, recruitment training, and the implementation of solutions and metrics that enable a higher degree of staffing effectiveness.


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