How to create a recruitment plan that will actually improve your hiring

Last updated:
February 26, 2021
December 19, 2021
min read
Adrie Smith
Table of contents

If you’re a recruiter hiring without a recruitment plan, things probably get really hectic sometimes. It’s not difficult to see how we can get lost between taking new job briefs, sourcing talent, conducting interviews, and coordinating offers for multiple vacancies.

Do you find yourself wishing you had more control over your hiring? The best way to ditch the stress is to put some time aside to evaluate your recruitment planning process. When we’re multitasking under pressure, we tend to follow the path of least resistance, using what’s always worked best. But often what worked well yesterday has morphed into a stumbling block today because the working environment has evolved.

While a recruitment plan is no magic wand, it will bring order to the chaos that can come from recruiting for several positions simultaneously.

What is a recruitment plan?

A recruitment plan is a predetermined strategy for recruiters and hiring teams to implement during the hiring process.

Having a recruitment plan in place from the beginning streamlines processes and also gives everyone a timeline to work with. As a recruiter, you can plan your work more efficiently. For line managers, it provides insight into the time to hire and to fill an opening. Once a department head knows how long a vacancy will be open, they can introduce contingency plans, if necessary.

There’s no one size fits all recruitment plan to follow because vacancies differ, and so do companies. But there are steps that make up the core of all hiring processes. It’s best to start with these core steps and build a plan that can be optimized and expanded as needed.

Recruitment strategic planning in a nutshell

Irrespective of the company or the position, every recruitment drive has the following seven components:

  1. Identifying a new vacancy
  2. Understanding the job requirements
  3. Recruitment budget
  4. Sourcing potential candidates
  5. Screening and interviews
  6. Making a job offer
  7. Hire and onboarding

In between each step could be others, but every new hire must follow this route.

Devising your recruitment plan means to come up with a strategy around these core steps that will improve your hiring. The time you invest in setting up your recruitment strategic plan will be immensely valuable to you and hiring teams in the future.

7 critical points of a long term recruitment plan

Once you have a recruitment plan in place, you want it to evolve as your company does so that you don’t have to go back to the drawing board in a year or two. See your plan as a living document that can be continually edited and updated.

To begin with, though you’ll have to do some groundwork so let’s revisit the seven core steps and build on them.

1. Identifying a new vacancy

First, determine if every job must be a new hire. A new vacancy is an excellent opportunity to conduct a gap analysis and bring in skills that are lacking. As systems and processes progress many positions change and you might not need to find a candidate with the same abilities as before. A new opening can be a great way to upskill an existing employee and give them a promotion. You can also find that the vacancy can be merged with another position, giving someone more responsibilities and a welcome raise.

2. Understanding the job requirements

Job descriptions and titles quickly become jaded and irrelevant. Make a point of checking the existing job description of every new vacancy and rewrite it if necessary. There’s little value in using an outdated job description when sourcing candidates because you won’t attract the right people. Job titles also have an impact so make sure that the title equals the requirements. New openings also open the way to adding diversity, so check your diversity targets.

3. Recruitment budget

Few things in business trigger more stress than budgeting struggles. Calculating a budget for every hire will help guide your recruitment because you’ll have to be mindful of where you incur costs. An undeveloped talent pipeline, advertising in the wrong places, and a protracted time to fill all add up to losses. Draw up a recruitment budget with the rest of the hiring team before any hiring processes begin. That way you have more control over your cost per hire and recruiting yield ratios.

4. Sourcing potential candidates

Planning where you’ll find the right candidates is essential. Not every job board works for every vacancy, and if you go the wrong route, you’ll end up losing precious time. Take some time upfront to identify where you’ll attract the best talent in the shortest time for each job. Also, don’t forget about your talent pipeline and employee referrals. With a bit of research, you could find the perfect fit without having to advertise externally.

5. Screening and interviews

If you’ve got your job description right, it will be easy to use AI recruitment during your hiring process. Not only will it save you time, but for initial screening, AI will eliminate any biases from your candidate selection process. You can load questions about qualifications, years of experience, and skills to your application process to exclude unsuitable applicants. Basic skills assessments can also be loaded to applications where relevant, particularly for technical roles. As a result, you’ll be able to set up interviews with most of the remaining candidates because you know they meet the minimum criteria.

Watch our webinar where we discuss if AI-assisted recruitment can reduce bias

6. Making a job offer

It’s imperative that the whole hiring team is on the same page when it comes to making creative job offers. More junior positions will probably require less in-depth assessment than more senior roles before a hiring decision is made. Keep the lines of communication open within the team because candidates can easily be lost if you take too long to make an offer. Discuss salary expectations with shortlisted candidates in their final interview. That will eliminate salary as a reason for a candidate turning down an offer. Once a candidate has accepted an offer, ensure that they know what the next steps are. Advise them that you’ll be engaging with them regularly until the day they start and encourage them to contact you if they have any questions or concerns.

7. Hire and onboarding

No candidate can be appointed until the day they start. There’s no problem if a candidate is immediately available, but the longer a notice period, the higher the chance of a fall-out. Even if a candidate accepts an offer, they’re under no obligation to actually start. There are instances where someone will accept an offer and then change their mind without letting you know. Make a point of engaging with candidates working their notice period regularly. Also, establish upfront who’s responsible for onboarding new employees. Research shows that proper onboarding is vital and 28% of employees quit in their first 90 days because of poor onboarding. If a new employee has a bad experience or feels ignored in the first few weeks of their tenure, you could be faced with a resignation much sooner than anticipated.

Proper planning and technology will improve your hiring practices

As much as collaborative hiring is invaluable when it comes to selecting the best candidates, having a number of people involved can create confusion and time delays. Using an ATS eliminates team confusion because everyone has access to all information in real time. Updates on progress, new applications, interview coordination and interview outcomes updated in real time keeps everyone in the loop.

An ATSs will also give you the HR metrics that you need to keep your hiring plan a living document. You can easily access real-time and historical data to identify problems in filling any role. By using predictive data, you can optimize your recruitment planning process for better future hires.

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