Businesses grow and thrive as a result of contributions from teams and individuals. To achieve this in competitive industries, securing top talent is crucial.

Whether it’s managers or frontline personnel, organizations benefit from adding the best and brightest professionals to their ranks. Attracting and retaining them, however, requires a well-crafted recruitment strategy.

To help you build the cornerstone of your talent acquisition efforts, I’ll discuss how to formulate a plan of action and share some best practices that’ll maximize its results.

What is a recruitment strategy?

A recruitment strategy is a comprehensive plan designed to identify, attract, and hire the most qualified candidates for a given position in a company. It’s a systematic approach to acquiring talent and leverages various channels, tools, and methods to source and select individuals who align with your organization’s goals and values.

Some tactics even take into account job satisfaction, which is a key component in retaining high-caliber professionals for the long term.

Why you need a recruitment strategy

A well-rounded recruitment strategy offers multiple advantages for your company.

Quality talent acquisition

With a honed strategy, you can more quickly identify applicants equipped with the right skills, qualifications, and values. Then, to entice them into your company, you can implement targeted initiatives. This precise approach results in a higher-quality workforce.

Time and cost efficiency

Recruitment is expensive. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average cost per hire in 2022 was close to $4,700. Further, when decision-makers and managers support HR by screening, meeting, and interviewing candidates, it takes time away from furthering company goals.

A strategic approach, however, streamlines the hiring process. Since resources are focused on the most effective channels, that proper allocation reduces the time and money spent on recruitment.

Enhanced employer brand

Employer branding is vital to attracting qualified talent. It entails building an image that expresses why being a part of your organization is valuable, then communicating it to audiences.

A smart recruitment strategy leverages employer branding to showcase workplace culture and how employees view you. This makes you more appealing to top-tier professionals.

Engage passive candidates

Although employed individuals may not actively look for better opportunities, these passive candidates include highly skilled individuals, so you should work to add them to your ranks. Capturing their attention can be difficult, but strategic recruitment efforts across various channels and strong employer branding can help overcome this obstacle.

Reduced turnover

Being deliberate in recruiting and hiring means going after not just talented individuals but those whose values align with your company’s.

With workplace culture being one of the top reasons employees change jobs — standing at 25%, according to LinkedIn’s survey participants — a strategy that promotes your organization’s principles can contribute to their satisfaction and, in turn, reduce turnover.

Adaptability to market changes

A well-designed recruitment strategy allows you to adjust and respond to industry trends, changes in the job market, and your organization’s evolving needs. For instance, developing a strong employer brand and making the company a sought-after workplace can cushion you from the effects of talent shortages.

Keeping up with rapid growth, meanwhile, entails bringing in more skilled individuals, and a comprehensive plan can help you tap readily available talent.

18 Ways to recruit top talent

Before you can devise a recruitment strategy though, it’s important to learn how to realize its full potential. Here are some best practices that can help maximize your plan’s efforts.

1. Leverage your network

Networking helps fill 85% of job openings, making it an extremely effective tool for talent sourcing. So, take advantage of your personal and professional network; it’s an on-hand talent pool that you can dip into at any time.

Reach out to industry contacts, trade groups, and associations when trying to fill a specific position. Provide details and ask for feedback about desired candidates as well.

The possibility of finding someone through this method who’s already in your industry is high, and your network will also attest to their reputation and skill.

2. Utilize multiple channels

Source talent from a diverse set of recruitment channels to reach wider audiences and secure fruitful results. These include:

Online channels

  • Job boards
  • Social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • Industry forums
  • Your website’s careers page
  • Search engines

Offline channels

  • Word-of-mouth and employee referrals
  • University events
  • Job fairs and career expos
  • Industry conferences
  • Trade shows

Note, though, that the most effective channels will depend on your industry, audience, and the vacancy you’re hiring for. For instance, a person fit for a technical role, like a programmer, will probably be more active in forums related to their field.

3. Discover talent early

There are countless outstanding job candidates, but you can narrow that pool by spotting young, promising individuals and investing in their development.

Recruit through colleges and universities, then offer internships that let you see how well candidates function in professional environments. If they show qualities that help them succeed, you can present a job opportunity to have them join your workforce.  

Hiring for company fit first and then unlocking their potential through technical training lets you fill key roles and build a competent team whose values align with yours.

4. Strengthen internal branding

Internal branding entails instilling your organization’s values and culture among current employees. Happy workers are more likely to become loyal brand ambassadors who talk about their experiences with people they know and refer talent to your organization. That can greatly aid your recruitment efforts, as 88% of people trust brand recommendations from individuals they’re close to.

This also enhances your employer branding, which, as previously discussed, is another vital component of attracting and acquiring quality prospects.

5. Start an employee referral program

Your existing workforce understands your culture best, so they’re able to gauge how well a prospect they know would fit into the company.

Since your efforts involve compelling employees to recruit promising candidates (see previous point), you can motivate them further by offering incentives through internal referral programs. For example, they could enjoy a financial reward for each referral hired and an additional one if the new worker stays for 90 days, six months, etc.

6. Take advantage of social media

More than three-quarters (79%) of job seekers use social media when searching for employment, making it a powerful platform for your recruitment efforts. It can serve as the stage for various activities, such as:

  • Networking: Reaching out to professionals and joining specific online groups
  • Promoting job openings: Through social posts, job listings, or paid advertising 
  • Employer branding: Showcasing your workplace culture and employees
  • Job applications: LinkedIn allows prospects to send applications directly through the platform

Since social media also provides a glimpse of an individual’s professional profile, interests, lifestyle, and more, it’s a powerful tool that eases candidate screening. By sifting through an applicant’s online presence, you can grasp if they’re a good fit for your company.

7. Personalize your messaging

Generic communications can quickly dissuade prospects from engaging, especially if you’re reaching out directly. For a genuine and respectful approach, tailor your message to each candidate and include something of interest to them.

Making a positive first impression is crucial for immediately establishing a strong connection, so do your research and learn about the individual first.

8. Carefully craft job listings

The quality of your job listings greatly influence the success of your recruitment efforts, so be thorough and keep potential applicants properly informed. Include details such as:

  • The company’s expectations
  • The job’s responsibilities
  • The required hard and soft skills
  • What software or tools the role will use
  • Transparent compensation information
  • Team setup (work hours, work-from-home vs. on-site schedules, etc.)
  • The availability of growth opportunities

Insert keywords as well to improve search engine optimization (SEO), help your listings rank on Google, and boost their visibility. They even aid with readability, allowing prospects who merely scan to focus on terms that stand out.

9. Provide competitive compensation packages

Competitive employment packages are a critical part of a fruitful recruitment strategy, because 62% of workers select an employer based on how attractive the compensation is.

Candidates value pay transparency as well, so make information on salary ranges and benefits readily available. In fact, one-third of job seekers say they want to know how much an employer is willing to offer before deciding to attend an interview.

10. Optimize onboarding

Designing an optimal onboarding experience ensures smooth transitions for new hires and improves their retention by 82%. To build a top-notch process, make sure you:

    • Prepare in advance: Set up your new hire’s accounts and access rights before their first day.
  • Mentor them: Assign someone who’ll guide new hires through the company’s processes and culture, manage their expectations, and provide feedback.
  • Introduce them to existing teams: Although individuals typically work on one team, having them interact with others gives them a better overview of the organization and how it functions.
  • Provide training and development: This helps new hires acclimate to the job quicker and opens advancement opportunities.
  • Follow up: Check on the new employee at regular intervals, such as every three months, to ensure onboarding went well.  

11. Offer continuous learning

An overwhelming 94% of employees say they’ll stick with an organization longer if it invests in their careers, so provide training and continuous learning programs to showcase your commitment to their growth.

Offering advancement opportunities will not only retain more current and future employees but also attract fresh talent looking for an environment where they can flourish.

12. Allow flexible work arrangements

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the expectations of the modern workforce have evolved, and flexibility now reigns supreme. These days, 51% of professionals desire the convenience of a fully remote job, while 46% would like a hybrid setup.

Since a large chunk of talent covet these options, embracing their needs and allowing greater scheduling freedom will increase your chances of attracting high-caliber candidates.

13. Be consistent

Building relationships and attracting prospects entails maintaining regular, transparent communication throughout the recruitment process.

For instance, if your online efforts involve posting about employer branding and job listings, people may be left with questions about your company or the application process. In those situations, you need to address their concerns and expectations and provide feedback.

The same applies to offline channels. Once prospects engage with you or give their details, it’s up to you to stay in touch regularly to provide them with a smooth experience. 

14. Launch diversity and inclusion initiatives

Diversity and inclusion are vital for your recruitment strategy, since 76% of job seekers say they’re key factors when evaluating organizations and job offers. So, actively pursue these elements and build dynamic teams to attract more talent. Use inclusive messaging, join communities, and be active on various platforms.

Your diversity indicators will rely on considerations like gender, ethnicity, age, etc., so take them into account when crafting your plan.

15. Streamline your processes

Your recruitment process strongly influences the candidate experience, so efficient procedures can greatly support your efforts. Here are some tips to streamline your actions.

Set up a transparent application process

Long, complex application processes have led to 60% of job hunters abandoning submission. To prevent this from happening:

  • Set up a dedicated careers page that prospects can access through your website or social profiles.
  • For candidates acquired through offline channels, initiate contact. Once they leave their details or express interest, outline their next steps.

After, communicate how the procedure will unfold and share information such as:

  • The required documentation they need to prepare
  • Where they’ll submit these requirements
  • When they’ll have interviews
  • Whether they’ll undergo any assessments
  • How long the whole process will take

Consistently update them about their application status as well.

Make it mobile-friendly

Appcast found that 67% of job applications were completed on mobile devices. Since candidates love convenience and accessibility, it’s of utmost importance that you make your recruitment process mobile-friendly:

  • Optimize your website and other relevant landing pages to maximize page load speeds
  • Use readable fonts
  • Allow prospects to submit their requirements online
  • Build a browser-based online application process 
  • Use interfaces that adjust to an applicant’s device
  • Conduct initial interviews through video conferencing platforms

This supports a smooth process not only for potential employees but for the recruiter as well.

16. Include online assessments

Nowadays, recruitment is primarily conducted virtually, which can make it more difficult to evaluate a candidate’s skills and job fit.

Thankfully, web-based assessments can address this issue, so incorporate them into your recruitment process. They’re a reliable gauge of whether an individual is qualified for a role, and using them early on in your application procedures can save you time and money.

However, it’s important to use the right ones. ProfileXT, for example, measures a prospect’s core behaviors to match them with appropriate roles. The Customer Service Profile, meanwhile, indicates whether a person is suited for a customer service position.

17. Measure your recruitment efforts

You should build your recruitment strategy on specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. To achieve that end, establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and determine the actions that influence them.

Here are some examples to give you a clearer idea:

  • Attract [X] number of applicants for a specific position: You can add interactive elements such as videos, employee testimonials, and calls to action to your job listings and ramp up employer branding efforts.
  • Refine sourcing channel efficiency: This measures how many qualified candidates are acquired through your recruitment channels and compares a single talent source to all of them combined. It determines where to focus your resources and efforts.
  • Reduce cost per hire: Cost per hire pits your overall recruitment expenses against the total number of hires. You can lower it by optimizing your sourcing channel efficiency to identify which portals draw in fewer candidates and prioritize those that perform well instead.

18. Capitalize on technology

Investing in HR tools can bolster your recruitment efforts. Some automate and streamline processes to enhance overall efficiency, while others provide analytics that measure performance and enable data-driven decision-making.

Overall, this technology improves the candidate experience, lightens your workload, and lets you easily adjust your recruitment approach as needed. Look for solutions like:

  • Applicant tracking systems (ATS): These assist in building candidate profiles and skill mapping, as well as managing talent pools and referrals. Some also handle data reporting for you.
  • Video conferencing software: These facilitate convenient virtual interviews and meetings.
  • Training and onboarding tools: These let you build learning programs, manage employee training, and simplify onboarding.

How to build your recruitment strategy

Now that you’re equipped to obtain the best results from your recruitment efforts, it’s time to develop a comprehensive strategy. Here’s a basic overview of what the process entails.

Step 1: Assess your current workforce

Before you can form a plan of action, you need to understand your current talent pool and determine what gaps to address.

For example, do you need a developer who can give your website an overhaul and regularly maintain it? Or, does your manager shoulder too many responsibilities, resulting in a need for an assistant? Is employee turnover an issue at your company?

By identifying your top concerns, you can determine the skills and qualities necessary to succeed, then create a profile of the perfect candidate. That enables you to align your messaging so it resonates with the right people and tailor your strategy for current and future hiring needs.

Step 2: Define clear objectives

Your company goals will drive your recruitment approach, so you must establish clear, narrow objectives.

During this process, consider your budget, the team’s involvement, and the number of hires you need. These factors will influence your ability to achieve the goals you set. Answer the following questions to hone in on your key objectives:

  • Will your strategy cover future hiring needs? If so, how far ahead will you plan for?
  • If turnover is a pressing issue, have you connected with candidates who can potentially fill positions as they empty?
  • Do you wish to gather prospects for new, future roles before hiring becomes an immediate concern?

Step 3: Establish key performance indicators (KPIs)

As previously mentioned, your recruitment strategy should set SMART goals to serve as its foundation. In this step, your aim is to assign KPIs that gauge the success of your recruitment efforts and define the actions that impact them (like the examples I gave earlier).

Step 4: Choose a recruitment channel

Since sourcing channel effectiveness varies according to industry, audience, or the position you’re hiring for, this step requires research. Find out where potential candidates are most active, then leverage that channel for your networking, job advertising, and employer branding efforts, whether it be online or offline.

Step 5: Identify supporting tools

Certain instruments, like an ATS, streamline the recruitment process while others improve the results of your efforts. The right tools will depend on your chosen channels:

  • For online initiatives, utilize search engine optimization (SEO) to boost the visibility of your job listings and employer branding campaigns. Paid social media advertising is also an option that enables more targeted activities.
  • Referral programs incentivize your employees’ recruitment efforts and encourage them to look to their family, friends, and peers for potential hires. Interactive presentations can enhance audience engagement during events as well and tempt them to learn more about job opportunities with your company.

Step 6: Initiate recruitment activities

At this point, all that’s left is to implement your devised strategy across your chosen recruitment channels. Once it’s underway, be sure to measure and analyze your progress at regular intervals.

Make calculated adjustments after learning what does and doesn’t work for your initiatives and objectives.

FAQs about recruitment strategies

To cap off this recruitment guide, I’ll answer some common questions people have about the process.

How can I measure the success of my recruitment strategy?

Besides KPIs, HR tools possess reporting and analytics capabilities that can quantify the effectiveness of your recruitment efforts. From there, you can make data-backed alterations to your overall strategy.

What is the best way to attract passive candidates?

Similar to active job seekers, you can capture the attention of passive candidates through multiple methods, such as:

  • Create and nurture a positive workplace culture that you and your employees actively promote
  • Stay active on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • Continuously network and build professional relationships
  • Offer attractive learning and development opportunities that enhance job satisfaction and retention

How do I ensure diversity in my hires?

To incorporate diversity and inclusion into your overall strategy, implement measures such as:

  • Blind recruitment practices
  • Diversity training
  • Nurturing inclusive workplace environments
  • Recruitment through various channels
  • Using inclusive messaging

Base your diversity indicators on factors like age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, etc., to ensure you cast a wide net.

How can I improve the candidate experience?

To craft a seamless recruitment experience for your prospective hires, keep these tips in mind:

  • Maintain transparent, timely, and personalized communications
  • Set up straightforward application processes
  • Optimize your employee onboarding
  • Invest in candidates’ training and development
  • Follow up and gather feedback that helps improve your process

Wrapping up — A comprehensive recruitment strategy attracts top-tier talent

A well-crafted recruitment strategy is a prerequisite for enticing and securing top talent in competitive business landscapes and job markets. When developing your own, make sure you follow a systematic approach and adopt practices that:

  • Streamline your recruitment processes
  • Provide smooth candidate experiences
  • Nurture and establish professional relationships
  • Promote a positive workplace culture
  • Maximize your brand visibility
  • Regularly assess the results of your efforts

By keeping these aspects in mind, you’re sure to attract high-caliber professionals, enhance the quality of your workforce, and help your company succeed in the long term.

About the Author: Rachel