How sustainable is your recruitment strategy?

Recruitment process sustainability is becoming a key focus for many companies, but this topic has only started to take hold in the last few months. In the past, the recruitment industry has focused on simply filling current positions as quickly as possible, without paying much attention to ensuring efficiency or sustainability. Due to the lack of alternative options, many companies were driven to accept the services provided by the recruitment industry. High fees, very little focus on employer brand and a very sales driven industry.

So what is a sustainable recruitment strategy?

Lets start with the definition of sustainable:

 able to be maintained at a certain rate or level."sustainable economic growth"

The important part of Wikipedia’s definition is that the strategy should be maintained. My interpretation on this is that a sustainable strategy, should be a strategy that is ready to satisfy the next set of demands, without needing to go back to the start each time.

So lets take a quick step back and look at a simplified recruitment process:

Elements like justifying the need to hire a person and the financial approval need to be completed every time. Normally these sit outside a recruitment process, but it is helpful to monitor their activity to ensure there are no major road blocks. The point that HR/Recruitment are notified, is when the process really kicks in. 

What would make this sustainable?

Talent pool - Your recruitment function/partner, should have a talent pool sitting in the wings that is ready to be considered for current and future vacancies. From this, you should be able to predict if you are going to be able to fill all your vacancies in the future, or if you need to start running campaigns to top up the number of people in your talent pool. 

Engagement - Having a talent pool on an applicant tracking system is not enough. If you do not engage your talent pool, you will not know the likeliness of them wanting to join your company. You should have a communications campaign running throughout the year to engage and update your talent pool. In order to nurture you talent pool effectively your communications campaign should use your own employer brand, after all if it is not your brand engaging the talent pool then it isn not your talent pool! 

Data - Continually understanding your talent pool and recruitment marketing channels is essential for a sustainable strategy. You need to know the most effective methods of gaining candidates and people into your talent pool and to understand the cost of doing so. Once they are in your talent pool, you need to be able to quickly use the data to find the right skills and experience to fill positions. Without understanding where your talent pools come from and who they are, there is no point in having it! 

Relationships - The ongoing relationship your hiring managers have with your recruitment function/provider is important. Your hiring managers must be able to trust your provider and be willing to share information like who they will need, when and why. Most importantly this information should be able to be provided in advance. The recruiter must understand what the hiring manager wants and should be knowledgeable enough to be seen as a strategic partner. 

Readiness - To ensure a sustainable strategy, you must be ready to react and to be flexible. Understanding your expected business for the next 6 months to 1 year is essential. This will allow you to complete workforce planning. By completing this you will have an understanding of how many people you need to recruit and when. Your recruitment function/partner should be able to use this information to have suitable talent ready, before they are required. Your recruitment function/provider must also be ready to change to align with your business. To ensure sustainability, recruitment activity and cost should be able to be flexed to suit the business needs. 

Why ensure sustainability?

By looking at your recruitment process and understanding where it can be made more sustainable, you can quickly speed up the process and improve cost efficiency. Understanding your workforce needs will make sure you know the positions you need to fill, in advance. Having a talent pool you understand, will allow you to recruit people quicker. Having a recruitment function/provider that is embedded in your business will improve cost efficiency and allow flexibility to ensure a continual fit for your business. 

Want to talk more about a sustainable recruitment strategy? Book some time in my diary for a free review of your recruitment function and suggestions on how to improve the sustainability of your recruitment strategy.


Iain Hamilton

I have had the privilege of gaining a diverse array of experience in both in-house FTSE100 and recruitment agency style positions. More recently I launced People Traction. Check out our services here.

Throughout my career I have been passionate about providing a seamless and enjoyable application process and have lead projects to design company websites, careers sites and job boards.

I have been instrumental in creating and delivering global proactive recruitment strategies and training recruitment teams in how to pro-actively resource passive and active talent. The results of delivering a pro-active recruitment strategy have shown significant reduction in time to fill, improved candidate quality and significant cost savings.

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Comment by Joel McLean on February 23, 2016 at 11:10am

Data is definitely the key for sustainable recruiting strategy. I would also suggest that you need data not only on the people who applied, were qualified, etc. - but also on what sources are driving traffic but aren't converting. This last part is the key to actually making improvements.


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