10 steps to an effective HR recruitment process

Last updated:
May 13, 2024
May 13, 2024
min read
Brendan McConnell
hr process
Table of contents

How many bad hires and conflicts has your recruitment department had over the past few years? If the answer is somewhere between “some” and “lots,” it means that there might be something wrong with your HR recruitment process. 

There are lots of potential reasons for having a poor recruitment process: from patched together recruitment tactics with no real strategy to the use of old-school techniques like reactive hiring. As the world grows and evolves, so does the world of recruitment. It is simply not good enough to use the same methods and approaches as recent as 10 years ago. If the hiring space is changing, so should your HR recruitment process.

This article offers a detailed guide into the world of HR recruitment processes, helping you to create and scale an effective program for your business. 

What is an HR recruitment process?

An HR recruitment process is a systematic series of steps that an organization undertakes to attract, screen, select, and onboard new employees. 

It’s a strategic approach that organizations develop and execute for each new position. The process typically includes the same, repeatable steps for each new hire, with slight variations depending on the type of role and ideal candidate. 

The importance of a strong recruitment process

The goal of an HR recruitment process is to ensure that the right candidates are identified, assessed, and hired in a predictable manner to meet the organization’s needs. 

Having a strong recruitment process offers a range of benefits, including:

  • Improving the quality of hire. A strong recruitment process uses a variety of tried and tested assessment methods to identify candidates who are the best fit for the role and the company culture, thereby increasing job performance and satisfaction.
  • Reducing hiring costs. Efficient recruitment strategies streamline hiring activities, reducing the time and expenses associated with filling vacancies. Recruitment is already an expensive cost center for organizations. These costs are made worse when the hiring process isn’t streamlined, and candidate targeting is ineffective. This results in wasted time and resources, and may result in poor and costly hire.
  • Enhancing the employer brand. A well-defined recruitment process that is smooth and engaging enhances the candidate experience, thereby improving the organization's reputation as an employer of choice. Employee brand is a critical factor in attracting top talent, with 72% of recruiting leaders saying it has a significant impact on hiring, and 75% of candidates saying they take it into account when job seeking.
  • Boosting employee retention. By ensuring that new hires are well-suited to their roles, a strong recruitment process can lead to higher job satisfaction and retention rates. A study by Glassdoor found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.

Without a defined and effective recruitment process, organizations will inevitably run into a slew of costly challenges. First, poor hiring decisions will become commonplace. Hiring the wrong person not only wastes the resources allocated to find that person, but it can also have cascading impacts on the rest of the team. 

Ineffective recruitment can also damage an organization’s brand by increasing the likelihood that candidates will share their negative experiences with your company online. This makes it harder to attract quality candidates. 

Left uncheck, the absence of a strong HR recruitment process can compromise an organization’s operational efficiency, reduce the quality of the workforce over time, and harm the company’s reputation in their market. 

Who are the role players in an HR recruitment process? 

Before we consider the steps in the recruitment and selection process in HRM, it’s important to identify the role players. These are all the people and third party service providers who work together to fill a role.

In smaller organizations, one person might represent more than one function. Let’s look at a typical example of the role players in an HR recruitment process:

  • Hiring manager: the person whose department needs the new hire.
  • Line manager: sub-managers within the same department.
  • Recruiter: usually affiliated with HR and responsible for the HR recruitment process.
  • Service providers like job boards and programmatic advertising and pre-employment assessment tools.
  • Applicants: people who respond to job postings.
  • Candidates: suitable applicants that are converted to the candidate shortlist.

Key considerations when creating a new HR recruitment process

We’ve already explored the impact of data in the world of HR recruitment. We now know that measuring an effective standard operating procedure is fundamental to being a good recruiter, gaining successful candidates, and thus transferring them to effective employees for the growth of your company. 

When you’re creating your HR recruitment process, it’s important to consider the key factors of your organization so you can shape your HR hiring process around them. Consider the following factors:

  • What is the size of your company?
  • What industry does your organization fall into?
  • What type of business do you work for?
  • What are the company’s long-term and short-term goals?
  • How can you hire based on those goals?

External vs. internal recruitment: which is better? 

Depending on the answers to the questions above, you may be considering which is the better route for you: external recruitment or internal recruitment.

Let’s compare the two. 

Internal recruitment: definition and benefits 

Internal recruitment is when your company attempts to fill a role from their already-existing base of employees. Promotions are an example of internal recruitment. 

 The advantages of internal recruitment are:

  • As a rule, internal recruitment is faster, improving your time-to-hire rates.
  • This method is cheaper as you’re reaching out to existing employees without the need to involve a recruiter, job boards, and so on, so forth.
  • Internal recruitment enhances employee morale and loyalty, as it comes across as a method of reward and positive reinforcement.
  • Internal recruitment lends itself to cheaper and faster training, as the employee already knows how the company works and its ethos.
  • Recruiting internally will reduce employee turnover.
  • You already know the candidate, so you’re able to play match-maker more effectively.

External recruitment: definition and benefits 

External recruiting, on the other hand, is when your organization tries to fill a vacancy with candidates who don’t currently work as an employee at the business.

If internal recruitment isn’t working out for you, you’ll need to build a HR recruitment process for external candidates. Here are the advantages of recruiting externally:

  • Sourcing new employees means a fresh outlook and new ideas.
  • You’re able to interview a wider range of candidates.
  • External recruitment heightens the chance of finding the perfect match, allowing you to recruit someone with the best experience and qualifications.

You don’t need to pick only one style of recruiting when a role crops up. You can offer it internally and externally, but it’s worth doing so in order to monitor the impact. Essentially, releasing a job description internally and externally at the same time may be tricky to stay on top of. So, it’s worth scheduling enough time for each method, and you can then compare the results.

10 steps to setting up an HR recruitment process

If you're still working on disjointed manual hiring processes, it’s time to implement new systems and procedures so that you can remain competitive in the race for talent.

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you set up your HR recruitment process from scratch. 

It’s like a recruitment process flowchart we’ve designed for you that you can integrate with your ATS.

1. Kick off with the hiring manager 

A strong recruitment process starts with tight alignment between the hiring manager and the recruitment team. Hiring managers have a clear idea of what they need in a candidate—including required hard and soft skills, experience, and personality traits. The recruiter might be able to guess who the ideal candidate persona is based on the job title and description, but it will never be as accurate and detailed as what the hiring manager has in mind.

Transferring this information from hiring manager to recruiter, therefore, is a critical first step. Recruitees should create extensive intake forms and schedule a kick off meeting with the hiring manager. This helps them gather as much information about the position as possible, and helps to clarify job requirements and ideal candidate personas. 

This first step sets the tone for the rest of the recruitment process. It helps to inform the job requirements and description. And it helps to establish criteria against which to screen and evaluate candidates. 

2. Know your job requirements

Many people don’t think about the job requirements enough when they need to fill a vacancy. Often it’s because they’re pushed for time, or because they use an outdated job description template.

This vital first step in your HR recruitment process will make or break the success of your hiring.

You must reevaluate every job description when you need to hire. Consider how the job has changed and is likely to evolve in the future. Also, have the management and group dynamics changed?

Technology has probably impacted the skills requirements as well. If your job description is incorrect, you’ll attract the wrong type of applicants.

3. Selecting the hiring team

The benefits of collaborative hiring are indisputable. It not only eliminates bias but offers different viewpoints on candidates’ suitability, strengths, and weaknesses.

Ideally, the hiring team should comprise the hiring manager, line managers or team members, a recruiter, and often a specialist in the field. This makes a great mix to see if the candidate is an excellent cultural fit, has the right skills, and will boost the team dynamics.

In smaller companies, you might not be able to select a hiring team within the same department. In that case, include employees who understand the requirements of the job and who know the company and buy into the vision.

4. Put yourself into the new hire’s shoes

Now that you know what the job responsibilities are and the type of person you’re looking for, you have to figure out how you’re going to find them. The best way to do that is to step into your ideal candidate’s head and think of how they might approach job hunting.

Ask yourself:

  • Are there plenty of people in the market with these skills and attributes? Entry-level, unskilled, or semi-skilled, and basic support and admin jobs.
  • Is this a specialist role with scarce skills? Both hard and soft skills shortages are on the increase globally.
  • Does this role require a particular kind of personality? Ability to work under extreme pressure, make unpopular decisions, etc.?
  • Where would this type of person be looking for new opportunities? Social media, online searches via job boards, likely a passive candidate, etc.
  • What will draw (and hold) this person’s attention? Probably unemployed, looking for more money, challenge, authority, etc.

Work through this process of understanding your ideal hire, and use this information to shape your sourcing strategy and messaging. 

5. Get the word out that you’re hiring

This is much easier done now that you’ve worked out where your best candidates can be found.

If you’re opting for job boards, choose those that suit your industry and requirements. If you're using Recruitee, you can create a job promotion campaign and our algorithm will recommend suitable channels for you to promote your job openings.

recommended job boards based on job description or job type
Recommended job boards based on industry, category and location in Recruitee

Tap into your talent pool and get active on social media. If you have a careers site, make sure it reflects your employer brand and integrates with your ATS.

If your potential candidate is not actively looking for a new job and also falls into the short skills category, you’ll have to become very innovative to find them. Advertising widely on job boards will be a waste of money. You’ll have to search via social media and also trawl industries and companies where they work and approach them directly. Headhunting isn’t for the faint-hearted and has to be very well planned and approached with proficiency and professionalism.

6. Refine your application process

Be readily available and approachable. Ensure that your application process is easy and interactive. Automation saves the day here. Set up automated responses that acknowledge every application, and integrate a chatbot to answer FAQ. This works wonders for your employer brand and makes applicants feel appreciated.

automated email template to candidates to improve candidate communication strategy and employer brand
Easily set up email templates for automated responses to candidates in Recruitee

Always remember that you initiated the process; you invited applications! You don’t want people responding to your invitation and then being ignored or spending excessive time trying to get their info through. If you neglect the application process, you’ll lose out on top-quality talent.

Tip: Read our article on the 9 manual actions in recruitment that you can automate

7. Candidate shortlist

If you’ve followed the above steps, you should be able to come up with a candidate shortlist quite quickly.

Shortlisting candidates must be done while they’re still interested in the job. If you ignore applicants and candidates for weeks and then suddenly contact them, they’ll probably have lost interest.

Compile your shortlist, conduct a quick screening interview (by phone or online) and then set up interview dates. Communicate all dates, times and details with the candidates and everyone on the hiring team. Advise candidates what they can expect during the interview and how much time to set aside. Remind the hiring team to compile their individual interview questions and share them so that everyone’s on the same page.

8. Interviews

Whether an interview is conducted by video conferencing, conference call or face to face, always make the candidate feel welcome and introduce them to the hiring team.

Interview questions should’ve been compiled beforehand, and someone on the hiring team must be responsible for the interview procedure to make sure that it doesn’t run overtime or deviate from the purpose.

After each interview, the hiring team should confer as soon as possible to decide if the candidate moves on to the next round of interviews, gets declined, or is made an offer. Always advise candidates who are unsuitable that their application was unsuccessful. Do that with empathy and ask if you can add them to your talent pool.

9. Employment references, assessments, and verifications

When you’re impressed by a candidate during an interview, it’s tempting to overlook this step, but don’t! Unfortunately, people are not always what they appear.

Securing the job of your dreams can be a motivator to misrepresent yourself and con your way to a job offer. The more senior the position and the more responsibility the job has, the higher the risk for your organization.

Contact past employers and ask them if they’ll give a reference. The best way to do it is to make a brief introductory call and ask them if you can send them an email with your questions. Most people gladly comply and give honest references.

Skills assessments are essential for technical roles, and psychometric assessments are excellent when you need to understand personality specifics.

10. The job offer

You can lose an excellent candidate if you approach this stage wrongly.

The most critical thing is to ensure that everyone on the hiring team is in unison about the best candidate and the salary and benefits on offer. If there’s hesitation, it must be ironed out beforehand. If a candidate wants more money than you budgeted for, discuss internally if this is negotiable or come up with some creative job offers to keep them interested.

Think carefully about who will make the offer because they must be able to negotiate with the candidate if they raise concerns. Not every candidate who looks keen during the interview process will accept an offer. Don’t be overconfident and always try to have another candidate to fall back on.

11. Onboarding

This is the one almost everyone forgets in the HR recruitment process.

It’s not necessarily a case of “yay, they’ve signed and accepted so we’ll see them next month”. You need to keep in contact with the new hire regularly and ensure that they have all the prerequisite documentation before they start. Staying in touch regularly tells the person that you’re looking forward to welcoming them as a new employee. It can also serve as a warning to you if they lose interest and decide not to start after all.

The best way to go about it is to create an employee onboarding checklist. That way, nothing falls through the cracks. On the starting date, make sure that you are there to welcome the new employee and introduce them to the rest of the team.

Closing words

The world of recruitment in HRM has changed radically and has to be structured to attract the best talent. With a well-defined HR recruitment process in place, you’ll make better hires and stop your competitors from bagging the best talent.

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