Get buy-in to change the recruitment processDetermine key recruitment metricsImprove your employer brandingWriting a job description for the perfect hireDon't forget to hire for cultural fitEmployment legislation and case law: stay on the right side of the lawSelect which methods of recruitment to useReduce your time to hireMake and negotiate attractive offers to candidatesOnboarding: don't fall at the last hurdle
Your people are your organisation’s success. Your company’s future depends on having employees with the right skills, abilities and values to thrive and contribute to your goals.
An effective recruitment process is vital if you want to attract and retain your ideal employees. As a recruitment consultancy, we’ve been involved in thousands of hiring processes with different employers to know what works and what doesn’t.
Our step-by-step guide will take you through what you need to do to stand out in a market where the candidate holds the cards.
Note: This is a thorough one-stop guide to the recruitment process, providing practical tips and insights, as well as references to the best external resources we’ve found for each step.
Make the most of the easy navigation menu above, to dip in-and-out of our guide.
One of the biggest challenges in making changes to improve your recruitment process is getting buy-in – be that from the board, line managers or employees.
As a recruitment agency, we know a thing or two about influencing people. In essence, it boils down to three things: belief, understanding your audience and preparing a persuasive pitch.
Compare successful business people with leading sportspeople and you’ll notice one very clear common element - the power of belief.
Highly successful individuals understand that how they approach situations plays a huge part in its outcome. Have belief in what you say and approach any discussions with confidence and enthusiasm.
Understand your audience
An MD or CEO is more likely to be persuaded by metrics such as how a change in your recruitment process will impact their sales goals. Meanwhile, a line manager may be more concerned with how a more streamlined and strategic recruitment process will result in better-skilled candidates and save them time.
Also, consider what type of personality you are dealing with. Are they an assertive, amiable, expressive, pragmatist or expressive type? Different techniques will work for each.
For more on this, check out: Personality types, communication styles and how to use them.
Prepare a persuasive pitch
Have a persuasive pitch that you adapt for each audience based on your assessment of what motivates them. It should cover why your recruitment process requires improvement, how it impacts the business and what key goals and objectives it is designed to meet.
Throughout this guide, you’ll find handy stats and guidance that will help you gain buy-in.
Less than a fifth of organisations currently measure the return on investment (ROI) of their recruiting activity.
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s Survey Report ‘Resource and Talent Planning 2017’
You can’t improve what you can’t measure and data speaks volumes in the boardroom – especially if you wish to establish credibility and present a case for further recruitment change.
Are you not sure where to begin? The CIPD’s Resources and Talent Planning Survey Report 2017 shows that these are the most common recruitment KPIs measured:
There are various methods for recording and reporting on KPIs. In SMEs, budgets are often stretched and so simple solutions like excel spreadsheets can be used (and there are plenty of free templates on the web). However, tracking and inputting all your recruitment data can be burdensome (which probably accounts for the alarmingly low rate of measuring recruitment ROI).
Luckily, there has been a rise of affordable, cloud-based HR software. With the technology costing from as little as £49 a month, it makes business sense to invest in software that can help you streamline your recruitment process, increase efficiencies and spot areas for improvement.
As anyone involved in the hiring process knows, securing the best candidates in your sector is essential to the future success of your company. Gone are the days where employers could have their pick of the best candidates. Instead, companies are faced with a skills shortage and candidates are often the ones holding the cards.
75% of candidates consider an employer brand before even applying for a job
according to LinkedIn Talent Solution
Employer branding is marketing your unique value proposition to existing staff and candidates to attract and retain your ideal employees.
Read more on the importance of employer branding here: Ignore at your peril: 5 employer branding stats
Employer branding is a relatively new hot topic in HR, so it's always a good idea to learn from consumer branding principles. We've grouped together the best and worst consumer branding campaigns.
Your EVP defines what your company offers to its employees in return for their contributions. To define your EVP, think about what your company stands for, offers and requires as an employer. This can cover issues such as:
Your employer brand is built through every touchpoint you have with employees and it needs to be consistent throughout the whole employee lifecycle including:
If any external people work on your behalf, they also need to be ‘on brand’. When using recruitment agencies, it’s vital that they leave a positive – not negative – impression of your brand, as they are often the candidate’s first touchpoint with your organisation.
As well as being professional and knowledgeable about your company, dig deep to establish how they treat candidates.
You may find this helpful: 10 red flags to look for when hiring a specialist recruitment agency.
Your website and social media channels will be the first place that potential candidates head to when weighing you up as a future employer. It’s vital that they promote what your company has to offer.
Many SMEs do not have the resources to promote themselves during the recruitment process. If this is the case, some recruiters can offer employer branding services that put your brand in front of candidates as part of their fee.
Want to know more about how to build and promote your employer brand?
This role would suit a fresh graduate, eager to get their career off the ground.
Example of an indirect discrimination in a job ad
Read Recruitment Grapevine’s, Do your job ads break the law?
Employers can often reject candidates because they don’t tick all of the boxes. However, the ‘necessary’ boxes can often seem less so when you have met the candidate and can see their potential. Aim for 8/10, not 10/10. And sack any recruitment agency that promises to deliver a Perfect Ten – these candidates don’t exist.
Gary Robinson – Sales Director
We recently wrote '9 tips for writing a job description your ideal candidate won’t bypass'.
We’ve provided a summary below, but further hints and tips are contained in the blog.
Simple job titles work best. Consider what job title your ideal candidate would search for and avoid acronyms, jargon or abbreviations.
Salary – be attractive (and don’t be vague). Money talks. According to the same guide by Totaljobs, candidates are more likely to apply to roles offering specific salaries rather than a vague ‘competitive salary’ or wide salary range.
It also pays to salary benchmark the role with online tools or by speaking to your recruitment agency.
Jobs with a salary displayed on the job advert attract up to 20% more applications
according to Totaljobs
Don’t forget your benefits (and perks). Benefits and perks are becoming increasingly more important to candidates so make sure your job advert highlights anything you offer that would be valued by your ideal employees. From pensions to flexible working and duvet days, they all help sell your employer brand.
Make it mobile friendly. Did you know that half of your candidate audience is on mobile so don’t miss out - Make sure webpages are:
Why not make your candidate’s life even easier by auto-completing details taken from job board registrations with applicant tracking software integration (ATSI)?
Showcase your employer brand. Once you’ve carried out your employer brand review, it’s time to let your brand shine in your advert:
The following are becoming increasingly important in the current fight for the best candidates:
For more on how to implement an effective strategy to attract the best talent for your business,
Before you post the job description, have you given a thought as to how you will hire for cultural fit as well as those who appear to tick all the boxes on paper?
If not, you’re not alone. All too often as recruitment specialists, we receive calls from clients who have been burnt by missing this key step of the recruitment process.
The candidate may have ticked every box on paper but been rejected at the final interview stage. Or they may have done the rejecting as they didn’t like your culture.
Or worse, too many clients ignore their hunches and hire the ‘perfect’ candidate only to find that they leave within the first few months (or the hiring manager wishes they would do so!).
This not only leaves human resources and hiring managers frustrated, but it also costs companies considerably too. Add up the wasted recruiting, salary and onboarding and it’s already a huge cost. Not to mention that happy workers are 12% more productive than unhappy workers, according to the University of Warwick.
Taken from: The REC’s ‘Perfect Match: making the right hire and the cost of getting it wrong
Cultural fit isn’t about hiring those who you’d like to go for after-work drinks with. It’s about hiring people with similar values who can complement your team.
For example, a process-driven candidate is unlikely to thrive at an organisation that values innovation and flexibility. Likewise, an employee hungry for rapid career progression is unlikely to stay the course at a company with little opportunities for promotion.
We discuss this in our blog Are you interviewing for cultural fit?
It’s therefore important that you have a sound recruitment process in place to guard against this.
It’s no use hiring the perfect candidate if an Employment Tribunal claim is just waiting to land on your desk because you failed to follow the correct procedures.
The CIPD provides useful employment legislation updates of the most relevant changes affecting employers.
As anyone in-charge of employment law compliance will know, how the courts choose to interpret legislation turns on a case’s unique facts. It’s therefore important to sign up to employment law websites. Peninsula offer employment law advice to SMEs and their blog is a great source for those wanting an easy-to-understand round-up of the latest case law and employment law updates.
Employment law is ever-changing and, with Brexit in sight, it’s going to get even more complicated. However, in the world of recruitment, the following areas are particularly topical:
Who can forget the flurry of emails hitting their inbox prior to 25th May 2018, as companies attempted to garner consent for marketing purposes?
There are six grounds on which companies can process data. The Information Commissioner’s Office has provided a useful guide to the GDPR here.
Employment status and the ‘intermediaries legislation’
The government introduced the IR35 legislation to prevent what is known as ‘disguised employment’ – whereby workers claim to be contractors for tax benefits when, for all intents and purposes, they are employees.
Gender pay gap reporting
In a landmark win for women’s rights, companies with over 250 employees must now report on differences in pay. However, this marks a headache for human resources teams.
Consider outsourcing HR legal issues
If you’re a generalist HR Manager wearing many hats (or you employ one), then staying on the right side of the law can be a major stress. One option is to outsource your HR legal issues to specialist consulting firms.
According to the CIPD’s Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey 2017, the most common methods of attracting candidates are:
Read more about the pros and cons of what remains a first port of call for many companies: Recruitment methods - the pros & cons of job boards.
Many organisations faced with a strict budget will look to save money by recruiting internally. However, in our experience, this rarely saves clients money when you factor in the recruitment team’s salaries and benefits, job ad tools, interview tools, the cost of a bad hire and more.
Of course, that’s not to say that the job can’t be done cost-effectively in-house. Internal recruitment is likely to be more successful in the following scenarios:
The CIPD’s 2017 survey supports what our own clients tell us: the more senior the position, the less effective job boards become. Instead, executive search, recruitment consultants and use of professional networking sites become more important.
If you do look to outsource some or all of your recruitment, then our recent market research has revealed that clients most value consultants that take the time to thoroughly understand their business (including their culture) and act with integrity with candidates.
Working with a specialist recruitment agency is therefore imperative, but it’s vital that you ask the right questions and perform your due diligence.
We’ve put together a blog that should help: 10 red flags to look for when hiring a specialist recruitment agency
Reducing the time to hire is essential if you want to win the war for talent in today’s candidate-driven job market.
The number of vacancies is at the highest since records began, at 829,000 (up 51,000 from the previous year)
Office for National Statistics (ONS), via The REC.
Below are our top tips to reduce your hiring process. We cover this in more detail in our blog: 7 foolproof ways to reduce time-to-hire (and avoid losing top talent).
If you’ve found the ideal candidate, don’t ruin it by taking too long to make an offer, or offering one that is not in line with their salary expectations for the role. . (If your budget truly doesn’t allow for this, there are ways around it, which we discuss below.)
Remember that a great candidate is likely to be fielding offers from different companies. If you handle the offer stage badly, it could result in:
In Cast UK’s experience, around 60% of candidates are approached with a ‘buy back’ offer from their current employers.
Before you wrote the job advert, you should have undertaken salary benchmarking. If not, now is the time to make 100% certain that the offer you make is a reasonable one.
Set a clear salary band for the role at the outset and ensure that candidates are vetted for their salary expectations for the role. It may be that their target salary is more or less once they understand the duties and responsibilities. Doing so should prevent protracted negotiations and the candidate feeling undervalued.
If you are working with a recruitment agency, you already have an advantage as they wouldn’t have put forward a candidate whose salary expectations are way above what you can offer.
We often advise clients that one thing has to give – the salary or the candidate. However, in some circumstances (where the disparity with market rates isn’t too high), benefits and perks such as career progression, flexible working, or performance-related bonuses can make all the difference. Make sure you take the time to understand what motivates that candidate.
Ensure all decision makers have time in their diaries in advance to make quick decisions on candidates. An offer should ideally be made within 24 hours and a maximum of 48 hours.
It’s worth noting that there is a fine line between good negotiation and putting a candidate off!
Once your all-star candidate has accepted your offer, the post-hire experience becomes vital. How should you handle their notice period? What does a great settling-in period look like in their first week on the new job?
You’ve already laid the groundwork, now it’s time to build on that relationship and prevent the possibility of competing offers, buy-back or early leavers.
We asked our recruitment consultants for their tips on managing the onboarding process. You can read all the best tips here: How can employers onboard new employees so they have the best start?
Below is a summary of their advice:
We hope you’ve found our guide useful.
As we’ve discussed, one of the vital steps of the recruitment process is ensuring that candidates know why to choose you over your competitors. If you’ve not already done so, you may want to download our Employer Branding Checklist, which will help you devise a strategic plan, create content that resonates with your ideal clients, and more.