Why Recruitment Is the Most Important Business Strategy

May 1, 2018

What Is Recruitment?

“Recruiting” simply means enlisting new members to join a group. This could apply to sports teams, the military, and certainly to your company.

In business, a recruiter is someone who helps people find jobs, and jobs find people. If you’re a recruiter, you could work for an organization to fill vacancies in your org chart from within the company. You could also work for a third-party staffing agency that helps place workers into open positions, both temporary and permanent. Sometimes, third-party recruiters are referred to as headhunters. Although this term is a bit passé, it hints at the essence of the role from all perspectives: to cast a wide net hunting for qualified candidates, and then to pursue and capture the best ones.

At a big-picture level, as a recruitment professional, your role is to implement your organization’s hiring strategies, including policies that encourage employee diversity and inclusion, and the practice of optimizing and promoting your employer brand.

Day to day, your role relies heavily on knowing the talent landscape (and being able to make informed decisions that will shape your hiring strategy). Once you’ve found your talent pool, you’ll also need to draw initial interest, and have strong interviewing skills to find the right person for the job. You might also find yourself giving performance tests, assisting with background checks, and fulfilling a few non-recruitment Human Resources (HR) functions, too, such as helping to retain your hires and processing promotions, transfers, and terminations.

Creative, analytical, and organizational skills are key for this job, as is having great communication skills — including the ability to tell a compelling story. What’s more, you have to be resourceful as the sourcing aspect of a traditional recruiting role is an art form in and of itself. You could tap into your own professional and personal networks. You could incentivize referrals from your existing employee base. You could play the numbers game, reaching out to candidates unsolicited through email, phone, LinkedIn’s InMail messaging, or text. You could use strategic marketing tactics to build your candidate pipeline, and continue to draw qualified job seekers, building and cementing relationships and trust. You can also use a recruiting platform, such as LinkedIn, to streamline your recruiting and hiring process. Regardless of the route you choose, in the end, you’ll want to flex your strategic sales muscles to “close deals” and have candidates accept their offers.

Are there different kinds of recruiters?

As a recruiter, you can be a generalist, particularly early in your career. But some of the most successful recruiting professionals are specialists, sticking to either a particular size of company, a specific level of employee, or a specialized industry. There are many types of recruiters specializing in many arenas, but here are a few.

Internal or Corporate Recruiters

These recruiters are on the payroll of large and  fast-growing enterprise companies and startups. They partner with hiring managers — the people who will be managing and working with their new hires — to identify target traits, skills, experience levels, and other criteria for specific open positions.

Staffing Recruiters

These recruiters typically place people in short-term (“temp”) roles or for the purpose of specific (and finite) projects. Like other recruiters, they match candidates to desired skill and experience levels. They also consider factors such as availability and hourly rates. Staffing recruiters typically work for staffing agencies. They can be sought by either employers or job seekers; their ultimate goal is to connect the two, finding a match that will fit the project.

Retained Recruiters

These recruiters work at third-party executive search firms and other agencies. Rather than recruiting on a non-exclusive, contingency basis (see below), retained recruiters are “retained” for a specific, dedicated, and exclusive search. Retained searches are commonly applied to executive-level roles, including C-suite roles such as CEO or CFO.

Contingency Recruiters

Contingency recruiters may place full-time or part-time employees, in either contract-to-hire or direct-hire opportunities. The word contingency indicates that they’re bounty-based prospectors, paid only if and when they introduced the employer to the new hire. Fees range from 15-35% of the employee’s first year’s salary. In this sense, contingency recruiters, or classic “headhunters,” compete against one another, racing to find the final, winning candidate. These searches are typically not exclusive, and there could be two or more search firms competing to make the placement.  

Outplacement Recruiters

This type of recruiting helps out-of-work job seekers — from the recently laid off employee to a stay-at-home parent returning to work — find their way back into the workforce. Outplacement recruiters typically offer non-placement services, too, as part of a staffing company that’s hired by companies to help their downsized workers find jobs after they are let go. These might include career counselling, interviewing coaching, and resume grooming.  

What’s the difference between recruiting and other talent management roles?

From the outside, corporate initiatives such as talent acquisition and talent management look very similar to recruitment. All of these functions deal with attracting, evaluating, and hiring workers at an organization. The difference can be a subtle one: it’s tactical.

If talent acquisition is an overall business strategy, then recruitment is the boots-on-the-ground, fuel injection system that lubricates the hiring-engine pipeline. And while talent acquisition is often considered an ongoing and strategic commitment to the business, recruitment is a fairly linear, straightforward process that’s main objective is to fill vacancies (and usually, as quickly as possible).

In the overwhelming majority of cases, a recruiter’s salary or fee is paid for by the employer. But there’s no question that your work benefits both employers and job seekers. For employers, you fill open roles, making smart matches to build a team and support the company. But you also serve an invaluable function for job seekers that may be looking to benefit from a resume polish, a practice interview, or a role-playing salary negotiation. Any preparation you can provide bolsters your short list of candidates for stakeholder consideration. And this is good for almost everyone in the process.

The perks of being a recruitment professional are numerous. It’s a role that can teach you highly transferable people skills, and effective tactics in communication, marketing, negotiations, and sales. Often an entry level position to start, the role can quickly lead to bigger opportunities — whether in the broader realm of Talent Management or HR, or simply up the ladder and into management. For contingency recruiters that hit their mark, the role can be extraordinarily lucrative, particularly if you constantly bring in the right candidates. Finally, you can develop a sizeable network spanning a variety of industries. As the eyes and ears of the job market, both for employer and employee, recruiters are invaluable to the process of finding, vetting, and hiring employees.

The Recruiting Process

Recruiters follow a hiring process that’s fairly standard for each applicant. Below are some suggestions for optimizing this process.

Step 1: Sync up with your hiring manager

First, partner with your hiring managers to determine staffing needs, identify vacancies, and list the requirements for each position. What are the basic skills an applicant needs in order to be considered? They should directly relate to the identified duties and responsibilities of the position. You don’t want a computer programmer who doesn’t know the latest coding.

Step 2: Write a job posting

You’ll find many resources online — and even toolkits like this — for how to write an ideal job posting. It’s best to be straightforward about what you’re looking for, and to be descriptive about what the job entails, listing both big picture objectives and day-to-day responsibilities. You might want to mention how the job impacts your company’s overall success and helps to fulfill its mission and vision. If your organization has a strong employer brand or culture, then talk about this as well, so that you attract job seekers that can see themselves at the company and disqualify people that don’t. Try to make your post engaging, while making your headline informative rather than vague. Finally, be concise; if your posting is too long, it may turn off your most qualified candidates. Up to six bullets per section is all you need.

Step 3: Source candidates and reach out

If this isn’t the first role you’re recruiting for in this industry and at this level, then chances are, you already have a database of potential candidates. Either way, you might want to tap into your network — personal or professional. Send the post and invite your contacts to share it around. Use other sourcing methods, such as LinkedIn Recruiter, too. Note that for cold outreach, it can be incredibly effective to have your hiring manager reach out instead of (or in addition to) you. Make your initial outreach friendly but concise, with a description of the role and an attention-getting subject line. And if you’re upholding a specific policy, such as helping to increase your company’s diversity, then strategize your wording carefully.

Step 4: Screen your candidates

Review resumes, first disqualifying candidates that don’t meet basic criteria. For those that qualify, you might perform in-person or phone screener interviews, administer a work assignment test, or use another evaluation method. Pare your list down to the best candidates. And now it’s time to start interviewing.   

Step 5: Begin interviewing

Most recruiters have a bank of interview questions they use, some tailored toward a specific company, culture, department, industry, and/or function. You can customize these questions to this particular candidate base. You might also add questions particular to this role. Again, you’ll find plenty of resources online that provide helpful tips and methodologies (here’s one blog post). Schedule in-person interviews with stakeholders to dig a little deeper than candidates’ resumes might reveal.

Step 6: Review your top picks

With the criteria so far met, now it’s time to pass judgment on each candidate. You can assess factors like experience, work ethic, cultural add, and professional presence (punctuality, poise, and confidence). Huddle with your hiring manager to discuss their findings — and narrow your list down to a few top picks.

Step 7: Discuss the details

If a candidate’s gotten this far, it’s probably worth knowing what the expectations are, on both ends. Open up talks for salary requirements, benefit packages, etc., even if someone else will be negotiating compensation.

Tips for Effective Recruitment

Common tactics for finding great prospects and hiring great people include:

Tip 1: Hunt down the best passive candidates

Passive candidates are people that have a job already, so they may not actively be looking for another role, but are open if something great came along. Most of the time, passive candidates are thought of as the cream of the crop among candidates: they’re successful, qualified, and highly employable. Your job is to get them to see why the opportunity you have is better for them than their current role. Woo them, dangle carrots, hint at golden eggs.

Tip 2: Use speed to your advantage

It’s been said that when it comes to the most qualified and quality candidates available at any given time, 10% of them disappear in a matter of ten days. Meanwhile, the average time it takes for companies to fill a position is around 29 days. So, the quicker you are to the draw and the less hesitant you are in the process, the better luck you’ll have finding the best candidates for the job.

Tip 3: Dig deep into your network

Job postings are great — and a well-written job description can often lead you to find your dream candidate. But they’re not your only source for talent. Sometimes, the best prospects come from using out-of-the-box thinking, such as a targeted Recruiter search or outreach to your own network. Tap old professional circles, social media boards, personal contacts, and more.

Tip 4: Know your industry

Many industry recruiters underestimate the importance of specialization and insider knowledge. If you’re recruiting inside a specific field, you should get to know the industry like the back of your hand. Use stats, industry trends, data points, and lots of conversations with people who work in the field.

Recruitment Strategies

An airtight recruitment process at your company can help you hire employees quickly, efficiently, and ahead of your competition. Done well, and the process of finding quality candidates will grow your network, open many opportunities, and help you be successful. Here are some ways to boost your strategy:

1. Increase your employee marketing budget

You’re now the face of the company to talent, so it’s important you know your company’s story, history, mission, company direction, and all the reasons that set you apart from competitors. Recruiting efforts will be rewarded tenfold by a strong employer brand, so put as many marketing dollars behind this that you can.

2. Challenge traditional thinking

The biggest companies, nonprofits, and government agencies can be set in their ways, and may have been using the same hiring processes for years, if not decades. Sell your leadership team on the benefits of updating and upgrading your recruiting tactics. Use what’s happening in the market today, use data to back up your claims, and demonstrate the specific technologies you’d like to bring on board. Show them how you’re a forward-thinking recruiter, with next-level processes that will bring the right candidates to your company.

3. Use Attraction Marketing

Consider a strategy where you bolster your own “brand” of recruitment. No longer do you have to convince people to trust the product or job or candidate you’re trying to sell them. But instead, you get your audience (whether hiring manager or job seeker) to trust you as a person. Then, you have a better shot at guiding them towards the results you want. Proceed with outreach efforts with the understanding that these are just the beginnings of conversations that may not yield fruit for a long time. In fact, keep a positive mindset about the potential of every new contact and interaction — because you never know what those seeds might bloom into later on.

4. Use smart sourcing tools and technologies

Examples of smart sourcing include automated job boards and recruitment processes, talent databases from third-party recruitment agencies and specialists, and smart social media tactics. Companies spend a lot of money on talent acquisition, particularly on sourcing and attracting top candidates. By using smart sourcing technologies, you can cut costs and give yourself a leg up.

Recruiting sing Linkedin

Every recruiter needs help at some point — whether it’s with narrowing down a talent pool, creating a pipeline of candidates, staying organized, or building an employer or personal brand. LinkedIn Talent Solutions’ products can help you manage the recruitment process, start to finish.

Here are three to get you started:

LinkedIn Recruiter

LinkedIn Recruiter gives you unparalleled access into Linkedin’s huge network of candidates. The product makes it extra easy to collaborate with your recruiting team. You can:  

Step 1: See qualified candidates

Find candidates based on skills, experience, and interests through real-time data and smart targeting. Plus, see people who viewed a job, but didn’t end up applying.

Step 2: Easily connect with candidates

Reach out to a candidate with a personalized InMail or message, or send templated messages to more than one at a time using our InMail-batch feature.

Step 3: Stay uber-organized

With our search insights tool, project folders and tags, you’ll be armed and ready with the streamlined messaging and data your leadership expects when you’re presenting your case.

Step 4: Connect Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Integrate your ATS with Recruiter, so you can access candidate records, collaboration tools, and other important data.

LinkedIn Pipeline Builder

LinkedIn Pipeline Builder is a tool used to create and edit custom landing pages with personalized messaging just for them. It works seamlessly with Recruiter and can track views and communicate with leads.

Step 1: Contact the best job seekers

Advertise job opportunities via sponsored ad content to target members based on job function, region, skills, seniority, or other criteria.

Step 2: Give a great experience

Excite candidates with landing pages personalized just for them (based on role, team, company or recruiter).

Step 3: Contact candidates

Once your leads show interest via a customized landing page, you can reach out to them to follow up.

LinkedIn Career Pages

LinkedIn Career Pages showcases your culture, brand, and job opportunities using rich media, photos, recruitment videos, and more.

Step 1: Use rich media

Use photos, video, and slideshows to tell your company story, along with tailored messaging to get the interest of just the right candidate.

Step 2: Stay informed

Access analytics to track, improve, and share how your employer brand is helping your recruitment goals.

Step 3: Get the word out

Use targeted ads to drive leads back to your customized, branded pages.

For more helpful tips on recruiting, download The 2018 Ultimate Recruiting Toolbox for Talent Pros.

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