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  • January 19, 2023
  • Admins

Preparing to Recruit: How to Structure a Recruitment Plan

In today’s rapidly evolving tech landscape, staying ahead of the curve means having the right talent on you team. Sites like Indeed, Monster and Career Builder have made it extremely easy to advertise job openings online. As a result, many companies post a job listing expecting the perfect candidate to come across the listing and apply. Unfortunately, very often this isn’t the case. Instead, the company’s mailbox quickly fills up with tens of applications that are not the right fit for the role, resulting in longer recruitment process and higher expenses. So how do you make sure you’re recruiting the best candidates for the job while staying within your budget? The solution is a recruitment plan. In this article we will guide you through the process of creating a comprehensive recruitment plan that will help you attract the best candidates for your organisation.

What is a recruitment plan?

A recruitment plan is a roadmap for addressing the hiring needs of an organization. It can not only optimize your hiring process and resources, but also help you stay within budget and keep track of hiring timelines.

A well-structured recruitment plan will ensure that you are hiring the right people at the right time to meet your company’s needs and achieve your business goals. It may take some time and effort upfront, but the benefits it brings to your approach to recruiting are well worth it.

Define your goals

Understanding what the goal of your organisation is plays an important part in your recruitment strategy.

One of Evolution’s clients, Fujitsu, have set ambitious diversity targets for hiring and required a full change of their hiring process in order to meet their needs. Evolution had undertaken a supplier review with Fujitsu using a traffic light system to highlight what is being done and what needs to be improved – ensuring that incremental change occurs each time. These changes include improving CV feedback time, reducing the number of interview stages and coaching hiring managers to sell Fujitsu at interview with the end goal of improving the candidate experience and Fujitsu’s reputation in the market. This is paired with market feedback and progress reports which ensure that hiring is proactive.

By developing a far more efficient hiring process with a focus on selling Fujitsu at interview, hiring has become more stream-lined and effective. The time to hire has reduced, diversity targets are being met and – through the use of regular supplier reviews – hiring keeps up with trends in the market.

Knowing your goal, as demonstrated in the example above, will inform your decision-making. After defining your goal, you can plan your actions and strategically choose the tools, social media platforms and job boards that will assist you in achieving it.

Forecast future hiring needs

Create identification process. It is important that recruiters identify the departments that have the greatest need and find the areas of greatest weakness within the company. To do this, you will need to obtain an overview of your company’s employees which you can organise into a database. The most utilised data groups include salary, experience, department, departure date, contract type.

Conduct a skill gap analysis. This will help you find out what your organisation needs from a skill based level in order to strategically execute their plans for the future.

Stay informed of any future changes within the organisation. Are you going to lose an experienced Java Developer? Be prepared to initiate the recruitment process in a timely manner to maintain continuity of operations.

Determine recruitment budget

Creating a budget for your recruitment strategy will help ease stress and streamline the hiring process. By taking into account all potential costs, such as advertising and time to fill, a budget can guide recruitment decisions and allow for better control over cost per hire and recruiting yield ratios.

To ensure success, it is advisable to develop a recruitment budget in collaboration with the hiring team before any hiring process begins.

You can calculate your recruitment budget using your average cost per hire: Add up your total recruitment expenses from the previous year and divide by the number of hires made. Then, multiply your average cost by the number of hires you plan to make in the current year.

If you do not have this information, you can use your projected internal and external recruitment costs.

Consider the following when calculating your recruitment budget:

External costs:

  • Job sourcing
  • Marketing
  • Pre-hire assessments
  • Recruitment technology
  • Job boards/ websites
  • Recruitment process outsourcing
  • Contractors

Internal costs:

  • In-house recruiting staff
  • Applicant tracking system
  • Referral rewards
  • Training costs

Get clear about the type of candidates you want to attract

Every company has a unique culture that reflects the values, vision, and goals of the organization. Employees who are a fit with the company’s culture are more likely to be engaged and motivated, and to contribute to a positive work environment.

What values do your most successful team members share? If you had to identify common themes before your top performers, what would they be? Are there differences in these answers in different departments and locations?

Create a profile for each type of candidate you’re trying to attract. Consider your applicants age range, skill set (soft or technical) and personality traits. This will help you better understand their job searching habits and target specific platforms and job boards more effectively.

Develop your sourcing strategy

Depending on your company’s needs, you can focus your efforts on different approaches. Many companies resort to traditional push strategy such as posting job openings on job boards or reaching out to potential candidates on LinkedIn, however, utilizing a pull strategy can sometimes save time and resources by attracting the right individuals to your company.

One of the most important elements of a pull strategy is developing a strong employer brand. Your employer brand represents your company’s values, culture, and work environment, and should attract the type of talent that aligns with your company’s vision and goals. By having a compelling employer brand, you can encourage top-notch candidates to actively seek out your company as a preferred employer for their next career move.

However, don’t limit yourself to just these two strategies. In certain hiring scenarios, unconventional thinking may be necessary. Be open to experimenting with new ideas while keeping your end goal and your target candidate in mind.

To illustrate this, let’s take a closer look at Evolution’s partnership with BT which required an innovative way of attracting talent. BT engaged the services of Evolution to recruit high level executives, including a Chief Product Officer and Chief Data Architect. To achieve this, Evolution highlighted an upcoming data event for businesses at Cognex in London, which BT subsequently sponsored and participated as a speaker. After the event, a dinner was organized exclusively for guests of BT. Although the dinner was not marketed as a recruitment event, BT representatives were strategically placed at each table to network and promote job opportunities within the company. As a result of this higher level engagement, the new Chief Product Officer and Chief Data Architect were both found at this event.

Other strategies for finding potential candidates may include:

  • Networking events – Use these as informal interview opportunities to determine if talent is a good match for any future roles within your business.
  • LinkedIn – Join industry groups or other networks where you could find talent that matches your company’s values and needs, and add any interesting candidates you meet at networking events. Be active to keep potential talent engaged – push company news on your newsfeed, congratulate them on any career milestones, or wish them happy birthday – it all counts down the line.
  • Leverage your existing contacts – Build employee referral programs and identify any internal influencers who could help champion your company culture and fuel recruitment efforts. Encourage team members to share any campaigns on their own channels, and incentivise those who refer high-quality talent.
  • Ads – Using traditional media for job advertising can be effective if the publication you choose is geared towards the specific type of candidate you want to attract.
  • Your website – Your website can act as an ongoing recruitment tool if you receive enough traffic. Create a dedicated career section or post job openings on your homepage.
  • Employment agencies – Employment agencies can be costly but can save you a lot of time by handling the advertising, screening and reference checks, sending you only the applications that meet your requirements. They can even handle the interviewing.

Prepare an effective job description

Draw up a job description outlining the role, responsibilities, expectations and targets you expect your chosen candidate to achieve. An effective job description should include the following elements:

  • Position title—Avoid using a title that’s unique to your company and make sure it can be understood by everyone in your industry.
  • Information about your company—A few lines to explain your business and why a candidate might be interested in working for it (e.g., mission, values, recent awards, etc.).
  • Job description—Tell candidates what contribution they will be making by summarising the most important tasks that the successful applicant will be required to perform. Be sure to highlight what makes the position unique and exciting.
  • Criteria—Before you write this section, ask yourself and other key people in your company, “What kind of person would be ideal for this post?” List the most important attributes and qualifications in order of priority.
  • Personality – Include information about a company’s culture and desired personality traits in a job advertisement can help attract the right candidates who align with the company’s values and will be a good fit within the team.
  • How to apply—Clearly state which items you want to receive (e.g., resume, references, other relevant documents) and whether you want candidates to apply in person or by mail, fax or email. If you don’t want phone calls, make that clear. Give a deadline date and time.

Splitting the job criteria into different categories can be useful for potential applicants to decide whether they are the right fit for the role and for the employer to determine who to invite to interview. For example:

  • Essential – mandatory skills, qualifications and experience required to be considered for interview
  • Desirable – preferred skills, qualifications and experience

Revise your job descriptions

Even if a specific role has been part of your company since day one, the job description should get a refresher as often as needed to accurately reflect the duties, challenges, and requirements to do it well. Gather input from individuals currently performing the role, as well as their direct supervisors, so that the written job description is a true reflection of the role.

Screen job candidates

Recruiting great candidates can be a challenge, but with effective screening processes in place, recruiters can quickly narrow down the list of applicants. The more careful you are at this stage, the less time you’ll lose at the interview stage.

Here are ways you can screen candidates before the interview:

  • Portfolio – Portfolios provide employers with a tangible representation of the candidate’s skills, previous work, and creative abilities. Seeing a portfolio can provide employers with a better understanding of the candidate’s abilities and experience.
  • Email interaction – ask your applicants for more information to help you decide if you really want to interview them. This can also help you gauge how interested they really are in the role and test their communication skills.
  • Phone screening – A short, 10-15 minute phone interview can provide valuable insight about the candidates who pass the resume screen. Develop four to six key questions that address your most important concerns. Ask the same questions of each applicant so you can better compare the results.
  • Standardised test – Tests can help you find the applicants whose skills, talents or values most closely match your ideal. Testing can assess cognitive skills, emotional intelligence, character, work preferences, etc.

Social media screening allows employers to understand a candidate’s behavioural characteristics that may not have been revealed during the interview process. But it has its risks. You can only check a candidate’s social media profiles if they are in the public domain. If their profiles are set private, you can not screen their social media profiles. Secondly, you must have good reason not to hire a candidate following a social media screening.

You can remove a candidate from the application process if they are:

  • Revealed to be part of social media groups that incite hatred or discrimination
  • Have posted disrespectful, inaccurate, or derogatory comments about a previous (or current) employer
  • Have posted confidential information from previous employers
  • Have lied about their qualifications

Interview the candidates

Once applications are coming in, shortlisting and screening candidates defines the final number to progress to interview. The interview is your opportunity to confirm the candidates’ qualifications, determine if the job matches their expectation and see if they fit in with your company culture. A CV only tells part of the story, but hearing the candidate’s tone of voice and assessing their direct answers will provide a much more detailed insight into their personality.

Depending on the job, the process can include practical tests, assessments, and second and third stage interviews, followed by feedback to let candidates know if they’re successful.

The two most commonly used types of interview questions are:

  • Behavioural questions are questions based on how you acted in a specific situations to predict your future behaviours. For example – “Give us an example of a goal you failed to meet, and how you handled the situation”.
  • Situational questions – Situational questions present a candidate with hypothetical situations they may encounter on the job, allowing you to evaluate their knowledge, abilities, and work approach. These questions often begin with phrases such as “What would you do if…?” or “How would you handle X…?”

Different types of interview have different advantages and disadvantages:

  • Individual face to face interview – Perfect if you don’t have a long list of interviewees to see. Allows you to build stronger rapport with your candidates. It can be time consuming and costly. Interviewer bias might affect the decision.
  • Telephone interview – Time efficient. Useful for assessing if the candidate is suitable for the role before face to face interview. However, you won’t be able to read the candidates body language and it’s more difficult to build strong rapport.
  • Video interview – Quicker than face to face interview. Allows you to better assess your candidates’ body language. Perfect If you have long-distance candidates to speak to. The downsides are you might run into connection issues and you have to look professional and focused unlike via the telephone.
  • Panel interview – Same as face to face interviews but with two or more interviewers in the room. Ideal for late stage of the interview process and if there are multiple people who need to meet the candidate before a decision is made. It gives you the chance to compare different opinions and eliminate personal bias. However, it can be overwhelming for the candidate and there is a risk of disagreement.
  • Assessment day – Can be used to assess larger groups of interviewees at the same time, for a range of different skills. Perfect for assessing graduates who have had no previous work experience and large numbers of candidates in a team environment. On the other hand, it requires more staff to organise and it can be difficult to build rapport with individuals.

Tailor your interviewing approach, format, and goal to align with your business strategy, industry, and the specific job position being offered. Work to your strengths and try different techniques to see what works best.

Here is how Evolution AVEVA’s growth following its acquisition by Schneider Electric by providing agile recruitment services during a transitionary period, despite a difficult climate:

Requiring mainly DotNet Developers, Evolution deployed technical specialists to provide niche knowledge on that market. From there, Evolution started a three-step process to gather the right requirements and find the right candidates. The process began with qualification calls, where fact-finding questions were asked to gain a deeper understanding of the role, the company, and the team the candidates will be working with.

Once a clear understanding of the unique characteristics of the role, company, and team was established, the role was marketed to Evolution’s database of over 2 million unique candidates, as well as leveraging their consultants’ existing networks. A shortlist of candidates was quickly prepared, and interviews began. Evolution arranged all the interviews for the client, allowing for efficient and successful candidate selection. Using WhatsApp as the main communication tool enabled rapid, proactive action in response to potential challenges. Regular check-ins with both the candidate and the client ensured that both parties were well-looked during the onboarding and probation period. Close attention to detail, even after the candidate has been placed, allowed Evolution to continue to grow and nurture a growth-minded relationship with both the candidate and the client.

Offer the job

Making and accepting a job offer is usually the last step in the hiring process before onboarding and beginning a new position. Here is an outline of the steps to follow when making a job offer to a selected candidate:
  • Be proactive – Most candidates who are actively job seeking may apply to multiple positions at one time. When possible, consider contacting candidates the same day as their final interview or within one day of making your decision.
  • Make a phone call to offer a candidate a position – This allows you to share mutual excitement over the opportunity and answer questions about the new role immediately. If the candidate doesn’t answer their phone, leave a message with your contact information or email them to set up a time to talk.
  • Ask the candidate how they feel about the offer – This creates an opportunity to help them if they have any apprehensions about the process. Be sure to give them time to ask questions.
  • Provide reasons for the decision – Tell the candidate what has influenced your decision to hire them, why they fit with your organization or what new ideas you expect they’ll bring with them to the company.
  • Get an initial acceptance or rejection of the offer – Some candidate may want additional time to think before making their decision. Consider setting a deadline for their decision and communicate when you intend to send the formal offer.
  • Ask for additional feedback – Check whether the candidate has any questions you haven’t already answered. Offer your contact details so they can get in touch if they have additional questions.
  • Send an offer in writing – Send the written offer letter through email or traditional mail.

Next steps

All of these changes can be time consuming, but the end result will be worth it and it will lead to better quality hires, faster. If you are in the process of hiring and looking to create a recruitment strategy that will help you achieve your recruitment goals, Evolution’s recruitment services can help. Our team of experts can help you source top technical talent, ensuring that your hiring demands are met. We understand that every organisation is different so we take an agile approach to provide the best recruitment services to suit your needs. Browse our case studies to see the results we’ve achieved for our clients and contact our team to discuss how our services can help your organisation  achieve its goals.

Contact us today.