Sunday, June 28, 2009

Recruitment Strategy Development Approach

Recruiterguy believes that many companies do not understand how to approach developing a recruitment strategy. The Human Resource Department is pulled in many directions and formal recruitment strategy development can be pushed back until it’s too late. Then the decision is made to “do the same thing we did last year.” This is a very costly way of recruiting because recruiting is a very fluid dynamic, unlike benefits or compensation where you may have black and white contracts or ranges.

In addition to cost, why is developing an effective recruiting strategy important?

What is a business’ most important resource? Many times I have heard intellectual property or capital as the response to that question. Those resources certainly are important. Who controls or develops those resources? Who meets or interfaces with your clients? Who manages your capital? Who sets the marketing direction? Who develops new intellectual properties to keep you ahead of your competition? Who manages the people? People. Shouldn’t the attraction and retention of people who can make positive, measurable impacts be a priority? If it is a priority, shouldn’t there be a formal plan to attract them? This is one of those quiet fundamentals that determine whether your company will be wildly successful or another company that will simply run its course.

What is the first step? How do we develop a budget? How do we decide what resources to use? The purpose of this blog is to get you started. After this blog, we will not answer why develop a recruitment strategy any longer. We will focus on the work – and it is a lot of worthwhile work. In our last blog of the RecruiterGuy recruitment strategy development series of blogs, we will put it all together for the budget.

In developing a recruitment strategy, the first step is to take inventory. What is your culture? Do you like very creative people or very steady conservative people or someone in between? Will you agree that someone who is an Impact Performer in a very creative environment may be very frustrated in a very conservative environment? Of course they will. Therefore, in order for someone to be an impact performer in your business, everyone has to agree on your culture – or in a larger company, in that division or department.

What do you feel was crazy successful in your recruitment effort last year? What was not so successful? Why not? How did the economy affect your recruitment effort? Has it changed now? Is management the same or have you had a management change or “shake-up”? If so, how does the new management want to approach recruitment? Did you have a recruitment budget last year? If so, how did you do versus your budget? If you “blew your recruitment budget”, what did you learn from that experience? Did you track the sources of candidates you hired? What worked and what did not work? In the 1980’s, I once had a large company tell me that they were not going to use my contingent services any longer because I did not introduce enough candidates to them. However all five IT professionals that I introduced to them the prior year were hired by that manager. The manager was a little upset to find out that the Human Resource recruiter refused to work with me any longer. Not sure what metric they were using. Later they did come back as a client.

One way of approaching your sourcing strategy is to understand the levels of new positions that are in the budget for the next year. Begin at the higher level positions. Ask the CEO/CFO/COO if there are internal candidates who are being considered for those positions? If so, do they want to backfill the position the internal candidate is leaving? Work backwards until you finally reach the level where someone will be hired from the outside. Obviously you can’t tell the lower level managers that they will lose someone prior to the interviewing process. In seemingly casual conversations with them you can get a sense if they believe someone is prepared to move up. Just get them used to you asking those kinds of questions by doing so regularly. If you do that what other benefit do they gain? You are casually coaching them on succession planning. See how something simple may impact your recruitment strategy? If the C-level manager is seeking someone outside of the organization, do they have someone in mind? Do they have a method of sourcing that they prefer or are they leaving that up to you?

How is your employee retention? Do you have one or more managers who typically have more difficulty keeping employees than other managers? Do your executives understand the cost and social impacts of having to continually recruit for the same positions? What are you doing differently to improve retention? Are those costs included in your recruitment budget? In order for them to attract the needed attention, shouldn’t they be included in that budget?

Once you have a handle on these areas, it’s time to consider sourcing for the different levels. We will discuss the sourcing plan in our next blog on Monday, July 6, 2009.