Evaluating Your Recruiting Strategy — Think Like a Marketer

How effective is your recruiting strategy? How do you know?

We know that attracting and retaining top talent is a competitive advantage for organizations—talent drives growth. And in a candidate’s market like the one we’re currently experiencing, the competition for that talent is fierce.

Recruiting should be viewed as an extension of your marketing and sales efforts. Attracting top talent is no different from attracting and closing ideal customers, and your strategy needs to incorporate all levels of the funnel—from demand generation (sourcing and attracting candidates) all the way through to close (hiring a candidate who achieves results).

It’s fairly common for organizations to view recruiting as a separate function, owned by HR and defined by rigid process. As an alternative, we strongly recommend that you approach talent with carefully crafted messages (marketing), lead them through a funnel as you qualify them and build interest (turning a marketing qualified lead to a sales qualified lead), and then close them on the opportunity (sales).

If your organization is looking to assess the effectiveness of your recruiting strategy, there are 3 main areas you can evaluate:

  1. Cost. What is the time to hire? What is the time cost of coordinating interviews? What’s the opportunity cost of not having someone in the role? What is the marketing budget for attracting candidates?
  2. Targeting. Is your recruiting partner targeting the profile of candidate you need? How much proactive outreach are they doing to passive candidates?
  3. Results. Do your new hires hit their targets within the first 3 - 6 months? Do they add value to their teams? Do they show leadership potential?

If you review your data and find that your recruiting strategy is not as effective as you'd like, there are a number of areas to look to when adjusting your approach.

Invest in proactive outreach to targeted candidates. We’ve seen a lot of organizations use a “post and pray” approach to sourcing candidates, where they post an online ad and wait for applicants. This approach doesn’t reach the passive candidates who are currently delivering exceptional results for their employers (and not looking at job boards). Craft a marketing message that highlights your employee value proposition, and reach out to passive candidates.

Think about your ideal candidate persona. Like marketing and sales, recruiting is all about attracting and then closing an ideal customer—in this case your customer is your internal talent. Throughout the recruitment process, you should be positioning your opportunity as a marketing message, and then approaching the interview process like a sales professional. Sell your candidates the vision and mission, and paint the picture of how working for you will help solve their pain and improve their lives.

Evaluate your recruiting capability. Who owns recruiting, and what partners do you engage? In many organizations, internal recruiters don’t have the expertise or bandwidth to recruit for every role, and are not positioned to do the work of marketing and selling the opportunity to your ideal candidate persona. Enterprise companies often work with a handful of retained partners for their legal, financial, marketing, and operations needs—look for recruiting agencies that specialize in your industry and the roles you need, and develop partnerships. Those specialists can help you target the right profile, market your opportunity, and coach you through the interviewing/selling process.

Ultimately, people are the most important and valuable assets for an organization. If your recruiting efforts aren’t generating the caliber of candidates you need to drive your business forward, it may be time to reevaluate your tactics and try something new. We recommend that you get your top marketers together with your top sales professionals, and treat your recruiting challenges the same way they approach acquiring and closing new customers.