Recruiting processes are often developed in silos and only implemented sporadically by hiring managers, making it easy for the process to break down. Without a well-defined process, you risk using hiring practices as varied as your individual hiring managers, which wreaks havoc on your employer brand. Here’s how to develop and implement a strategic recruitment process at your organization.
To develop a recruiting process that can be implemented consistently across the organization, look side to side to see how it integrates with the rest of your workforce planning processes, says Robin Schooling, managing partner and principal of HR and people strategy at Peridus Group. “A recruitment process, far too often, is built in a silo instead of looking end to end across the entirety of the business,” she says.
Your recruiting process should align with other aspects of your talent strategy. Here’s how to develop and implement a strategic recruitment process at your organization.
Start With Your Overarching Talent Strategy
Your recruiting strategy should point back to and support your organizational strategy. You have to be aware of your organization’s overall goals and the role recruiting plays in achieving them.
What processes and behaviors make that strategy come to life? What skills and talents do your organization need now? Six months from now? In a year?
Examine how recruiting affects other parts of your talent strategy, and vice versa. If you have an internal upskilling program, for instance, your recruiting strategy might focus on recruiting for soft skills such as adaptability and critical thinking, while relying on training new employees for specialized technical skills. This strategy affects the type of candidates you need to attract and where you might find them.
Once you’ve defined what successful recruitment looks like in the larger context, you need to establish high standards for implementation. Take candidate experience into account, too, as you develop policies and processes. “If managers are not held to a certain standard, they’ll interview a candidate, and it may be seven days before you talk to them again,” says Anthony Hayes, national director of talent management at The Mice Groups Inc. “That's unfair to the candidate and actually costs the business money both in opportunity and reputation.” He suggests a policy of following up with candidates within 24 hours of an interview.
The biggest behavioral gaps come from individual managers who do the hiring where that’s not their primary job. To encourage buy-in, reach out to these managers for input when developing your process. Once the process is in place, it’s important that you focus on training and maintain a line of communication with hiring managers. Here are some steps you can take:
- Train hiring managers on your process.
- Offer support as they implement it
- Remain available to help them
- Offer feedback on strengths and weaknesses
As they use the process for more hires, it becomes ingrained, like muscle memory. Be accessible to these managers, and always point them back to how the process supports your overarching talent strategy.
Remember that even after you have a well-defined process, there’s always room for improvement. “Find out what you’re really good at and what you’re really bad at,” Hayes says. “Have a blind panel of current employees take surveys to see what worked in the interview, what they liked and what they disliked.”
Cascade Organizational Outcomes Down to Each Role
Part of a well-defined recruiting process includes consistent and easily understandable job descriptions. Be specific about your ideal outcomes for each role and how they support your overarching organizational goals. “Hiring managers automatically start thinking about the person they want, or they just supply a list of job duties,” says Carl Bradford, owner and talent acquisition executive consultant at Bradford Consulting. “Define what the person is going to do on the job that would make the person successful in the job.”
Having clear outcomes supports a more objective interview process since you know what success looks like for each position. You can develop a base set of questions for interviews, such as asking candidates to share accomplishments that could point to success on the job. Using consistent interview questions makes the process easier on your hiring managers and results in more regulated hiring outcomes.
Clearly defined outcomes attract better candidates, make it easier for recruiters to do outreach and lead to a more consistent interview process. Bradford uses performance-based hiring processes at his firm to help clients align their recruitment strategies with their overall organizational goals.
Develop a Consistent and Authentic EVP
Your employee value proposition, or EVP, should attract candidates who will thrive in your organization. In the past, organizations have hired for “culture fit,” but that can’t objectively be pinned down and often results in hiring based on our biases and homogeneity.
Instead of taking a candidate’s “vibe” into account when making a decision, develop a highly targeted employee value proposition so you only attract candidates who will thrive at your organization. For instance, if your organization’s work style is to work independently in cubicles with little to no interaction with your colleagues, Schooling says, a candidate who thrives on interpersonal interactions probably wouldn’t be happy in that environment and isn’t likely to stay. If you define this workstyle clearly on the front end, however, only people who can see themselves succeeding in that environment will apply. The key questions to answer are “how do I get my work done, and is this environment conducive to me getting my work done?” Schooling says. “As an applicant, if I’m given that information, I make the decision that this works for me or not.”
Define what makes each individual role attractive to a candidate, and focus on intrinsic motivators. Extrinsic motivators, which are usually highlighted in postings about open positions, include items that employees have no control over, including benefits, pay and holidays. Intrinsic motivators, on the other hand, can be influenced by the individual, like a challenging work environment or opportunities for professional development.
“Both are important, but it’s intrinsic that’s key,” Bradford says. “Reach back and look at the successful outcomes. Those are the things you want people to do, and those are the things that you tell them in your EVP.” Highlight motivators that appeal to a sense of purpose, like specific ways the role contributes to the organization’s mission.