4 cornerstones of a solid recruitment policy

Last updated:
April 26, 2022
April 26, 2022
min read
Bev Campling
recruitment policy
Table of contents

A recruitment policy is a framework that clearly outlines all your business’s recruitment methods and practices. The purpose of a recruitment policy is to promote consistency, transparency, compliance, and adherence to labor laws and legislation.

The bottom line is: no business can afford to be without a recruitment policy. The only difference between small and large companies is the scope and complexity of the recruitment policies they need to implement.

A small business can get away with a document comprising of only a few pages, whereas large companies need a comprehensive policy with sub-policies and addendums. However, regardless of the size of the business, a solid recruitment policy is necessary for success. 

Many view the recruitment and selection processes as adjacent to core business functions, but that’s a common myth. It’s one of the most important functions in any organization, no matter the size or industry.

Hiring the right candidates to maintain the success of any business is crucial. And the work that goes into selecting your future employees is at the heart of success.

This means that you should always have a pipeline of potential candidates to accommodate restructuring, expansion, resignations, and retirements. Sound overbearing? Without a recruitment policy in place, it can be easy for everything to snowball, leading to poor decision-making and burn-out.

That’s why a solid recruitment and selection process policy is fundamental. So, let’s dive into all things recruitment policies scattered with strategy and expert insight.

What is a recruitment policy?

At its core, a recruitment policy simply answers how you hire candidates. It revolves around your company’s hiring strategy and process. 

Your recruitment policy should revolve around your procedures, standards, and philosophy. All 3 components play key roles, so it’s crucial to include them in your recruitment policy.  

The importance of a recruitment policy 

When every employee within your facility is using a recruitment policy, you know that there’s a strong level of consistency. Everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet, and there’s no deviation from the policy. 

But the benefits don’t end there. Your recruitment policy will impact your candidates, too. They should all experience the same process and culture. Using a recruitment policy and ensuring it’s well-implemented means that every candidate will receive the same treatment and process. That level of consistency is critical for hiring success.  

Components of a recruitment policy 

As we mentioned, a recruitment policy should revolve around 3 critical components: your hiring procedures, your standards, and your philosophy. But what do each of these components mean? And what do you need to dig into for a successful recruitment policy? We’ve got the answers. 

Your procedures

Your procedures should make up a large chunk of your recruitment policy. There’s a level of customization depending on the role, so we advise using a few examples from varying roles and levels to clarify the procedures. 

The key elements you’ll need to include are:

1. Your pre-hiring methods

Do hiring managers need to seek approval before advertising a vacancy? Do they need to speak to specific teams or employees? Will the pre-hiring process alter when hiring internally versus externally?

And what criteria will candidates need to hit in order to move onto the next stage? What are some non-negotiables that every employee must demonstrate within the company? Ensure you’ve outlined these clearly and succinctly.

Remember, too, to relate back to your company’s overall ethos and values, as these will play a large role in the answers to these questions. 

2. Your hiring process

Every organization will have a unique hiring process. There will be similarities in all of them, but equally, there will be areas that are bespoke to your company.

Further, the hiring process may adjust depending on the role, team, and seniority levels of the vacancy. Are trial tasks necessary? How many interviews will you conduct?

Map out an overall hiring process, and distinguish the more specific processes depending on variables that may adjust the previous process.

3. Your hiring toolbox and methods

What tools do you use for recruitment? An ATS? Social media? A company careers site? List the tools you use for hiring in this section with a short sentence explaining what they’re used for.

For further clarification, you can add company rules revolving around each tool.
The methods you use to hire someone are equally as important. Do you, for example, conduct telephone interviews? Collaborative hiring?

Think, too, about the smaller details. Does your organization have a minimum and maximum advertising time before making a hiring decision? What’s your stance on internet interviewing? Should candidates be allowed to apply from other countries? 

Your standards

Your standards play a key role in maintaining consistency within recruitment at your company. They tend to explain your equality, diversity, and legal requirements. 

  1. How do you reduce and recognize bias
  2. What is your EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) statement? 
  3. How will you handle data protection and GDPR in recruitment?

What is a recruitment and selection process?

A recruitment and selection process, collectively, are the steps that any team or business takes to attract, qualify, and ultimately hire new employees. For every business and every role, this process will look different.

However, having certain policies in place will help standardize these processes to ensure the best caliber of talent is reviewed.

Traditionally, there are 7 steps in a recruitment and selection process:

  1. Recruiting internally: Many organizations choose to advertise their vacancy internally, before posting to any external sources. Internal recruitment can be a great talent source for larger businesses with employees looking for internal mobility.
  2. Recruiting externally: After advertising internally, the job usually goes live across a number of paid and free job boards and candidate channels. The listing will usually be kept live as candidates are qualified by the recruitment team.
  3. Screening applications: The set recruitment team will review candidate applications as they come through their portal or ATS. Traditionally, the recruiter will select candidates to move forward in the process based on qualities agreed with the hiring manager. Those who do not make the cut will be informed that they have not made it further.
  4. Phone or video screening: The recruiter will arrange a phone or video screening with candidates who fit the initial qualifications. A further selection will be made at this point to determine which candidates will move on in the process to meet the hiring manager or team.
  5. Selection tests: Job trials, psychometric tests for recruitment, and other selection tests are not uncommon in many selection processes. These usually help test the skill level, experience, and cultural fit of a candidate to help narrow the selection of candidates.
  6. In-person interview: Many processes include one or more in-person interviews with candidates. These are usually held with the hiring manager or team and are coordinated by the recruiter.
  7. Reference checks: Reference checks should be a standard last step in any recruitment process. These help the decisionmakers verify the candidates’ skill and experience to avoid fraud and ensure the quality of hire.

With so many recruitment process steps and a degree of customization across businesses, it’s important for teams to develop policies around their recruitment and candidate selection.

Companies usually develop policies around each of these steps in the recruitment process to establish consistency and ensure all candidates are assessed equally.

Below we will discuss a couple of guiding principles that should be followed when developing your own recruitment process steps and drafting policies.

Typically, policies are built around four key cornerstones:

  • Your hiring philosophy
  • Your hiring processes
  • Your hiring standards
  • Your hiring vision.

Ensure that your recruitment policy is complete

Implementing a recruitment or hiring policy takes careful planning as well as consultation with all hiring stakeholders.

You don’t want to compile and execute a tailored policy only to find further down the line that crucial elements have been omitted or misstated.

Make sure that your hiring policy allows for changes and amendments as your business evolves.

Also, have a designated person or position in the company take responsibility for managing and regularly reviewing your policy to ensure that it is correctly implemented. Depending on the size of your company, this can be your HR manager or a C-suite stakeholder.

Four cornerstones of a good recruitment policy

Your brand must be reflected in your recruitment policy and integrated with each cornerstone. Each cornerstone must be expanded on to mirror the uniqueness of your business brand:

1. Hiring philosophy

Your hiring philosophy is the starting point of your hiring policy.

The opening statements must define your company’s distinctive standpoint and attitude. This will include your brand purpose as well as your company values and ethics.

You need to expand on what your brand has already achieved and still wants to achieve to improve the experience and lives of your customers.

Your brand purpose must be clear, compelling and written with the intent to draw the attention of the type of people you want to attract.

Your company values and ethics must reflect transparency and honesty. There’s little value in taking a stand on specific issues on paper while acting differently in practice.

Whether it’s a commitment to uplifting communities, up-skilling unskilled or semi-skilled workers or ensuring diversity in the workplace, be sure to practice what you preach.

2. Hiring practices

Your hiring practices make up the bulk of your recruitment or hiring policy. Recruitment selection and process policies can be vast and differ from one company to another, but all begin with a vacancy.

Introduce procedures for new roles and replacement roles that include:

  • The salary budget must be agreed and approved before a candidate search begins.
  • Indicate who’s ultimately responsible for the approval of new hires because a new hire must be approved before a candidate search begins.
  • Indicate who’s responsible for writing a comprehensive job description.
  • Indicate whether the candidate search will be managed internally, or outsourced to external recruiters.
  • Indicate who must be on each hiring team and where each role-player steps into the hiring process.
  • Establish an interview process and how interviews will be conducted, e.g. remote interviews, one on one interviews, or panel interviews.
  • Establish at what stage reference checks, skills assessments, psychometric tests and other verifications must be done.
  • Indicate who’s responsible for job offers, negotiations with candidates and on boarding new hires.
  • Indicate how candidate searches are projected on the company website, social media and other hiring platforms.

In between these necessary recruitment steps, your company might need a whole lot more. You can also implement separate steps for different vacancies like entry-level, skilled, mid-management, senior management, and executive.

Make sure that your ATS can accommodate for customizing your talent pipeline based on these requirements and that you can customize user’s roles and access to facilitate differing responsibilities.

Always keep in mind that as much as your company conducts candidate searches, applicants will judge your company by what you project and how they’re treated. Make sure your hiring practices reflect this.

3. Hiring standards

Your hiring standards embrace transparency, compliance, and adherence to labor laws and legislation.

It’s vital that your hiring policy adheres to all local labor laws and legislation. Labor laws can be tricky, especially if you run your business in more than one country or across states. 

If you’re unsure of what laws apply it’s best to let a labor lawyer run through your policy document before you release it.

In this section, you also want to cover issues like hiring biases, illegal interview questions, data protection and the confidentiality of candidate information, and the employment of non-citizens.

And then there are your own internal standards like whether your company allows the hiring of relatives of existing staff or whether you’ll give first preference to existing staff when a new vacancy comes up.

The hiring of relatives can lead to compromising situations or conflicts of interest, but some companies are successful family businesses, so it depends on your company’s circumstances.

It’s usually accepted practice to give existing staff the opportunity to apply for vacancies before a candidate search begins, but it isn’t always practical.

Employees in small and even medium companies might not have the depth of experience required for every vacancy.

Considering these rules and practices will help you determine your own hiring standards.

4. Hiring vision

Your hiring vision is the conclusion of your hiring policy.

Regard your hiring vision as your company’s overall goals. Where is your business headed and what type of people do you want to attract to help you achieve your vision?

Your hiring vision should complement your hiring philosophy. By closing your hiring policy with your hiring vision, you’re closing the circle that encompasses and illuminates your unique brand.

Apart from product and business development and growth, your hiring vision should also include how you see your employees growing and developing.

As much as you hire staff to do the job that they get paid for, you also want to gain employee buy-in if you want your business to succeed.

By having a hiring vision that sees employees benefiting from being employed by your company, you earn their loyalty and buy-in to your company brand.

Happy employees will promote their employer brand, often even long after they’ve left the company to move on to bigger things.

No price can be put on customer loyalty, and at the end of the day, your employees are your customers as well. Don’t forget to include both employee and candidate experience in your hiring policy.

An ATS simplifies your recruitment policy

Writing a recruitment policy takes time and dedication, so you want to ensure that your policy is being implemented in all departments and branches of your company.

By signing up for an ATS, you’re also investing in a real-time system that will allow you to manage the continued use and implementation of your hiring policy.

An ATS brings your entire recruitment process into one space that’s accessible to all team members in real time. This includes the practical elements of your hiring policy.

With an ATS, you can easily track the progress of all vacancies as well as the actions taken by individual team members. This will help you establish solid oversight and help audit whether or not your policies are being respected in practice.

Better still, you’ll have easy access to different reports at any time you need them. By integrating your hiring policy with an ATS, you’ll be able to manage both your hiring process and hiring team from your desktop or mobile device. An ATS brings all four corners of your recruitment policy out of the filing system and into practice.

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