Thursday, 18 June 2009

Developing a Recruitment Strategy


    At the CIPD’s Recruitment conference this week, it was announced that 40% of employers are reducing the number of new recruits they are hiring this year, and most organisations are focusing on retention rather than recruiting talent (no surprise there!).  However, 73% of organisations are still facing recruitment challenges in certain areas where specialist skills are necessary (see my previous post on the cold war for talent).

So it’s a worry that only 58% of employers report having a formal resourcing strategy.  Those that don’t could do worse than consulting Nitin Nohria’s article in last month’s Harvard Business Review.  Supporting the CIPD’s findings, Nohria et al note:

“Most companies react to hiring situations as emergencies; that might explain why so many do it so poorly. When we surveyed 50 CEOs of global companies, along with a pool of executive search consultants who rated about 500 firms, we found hiring practices to be disturbingly vague: Respondents relied heavily on subjective personal preferences or on largely unquestioned organizational traditions, often based on false assumptions.

The executives we surveyed held widely differing views regarding the desirable attributes of new hires. They emphatically disagreed on whether it was best to hire insiders or outsiders, on who should be involved in the recruiting process, on what assessment tools were most suitable, and on what the keys were to successful hiring and retention.”


The authors suggest a seven step process for more effective recruitment:

  1. Anticipate the need.  They don’t use the phrase, but this is about conducting sound workforce planning.
  2. Specify the job.  Yeah, OK, most of the time – but I think there’s also an opportunity to find great people and build jobs around the people – see my previous post on job sculpting.
  3. Develop the pool.  I’m going to write more about this in my next post.
  4. Assess the candidates.  I think the authors make a good point here – that “it’s more important to choose the right assessors than to focus on the assessment technique”.
  5. Close the deal.  More good points: “Many executives in our survey think financial compensation is the linchpin in recruiting.  But closing the deal is not just about money, it’s also about demonstrating to candidates that the organisation is committed to their success.”  See my recent post on executive pay.
  6. Integrate the newcomer.
  7. Audit and review.



Not a bad process, but I think we can do better.  I’m going to follow up on my recent post about a HR 2.0 strategy by posting my suggested approach for developing an HCM strategy too.  And I think this can be used for recruitment needs as well.




  • Consulting - Research - Speaking  - Training -  Writing
  • Strategy  -  Talent  -  Engagement  -  Change and OD
  • Contact  me to  create more  value for  your business
  • jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com