Recruitment Planning 101: How to Get Started

Published December 10, 2021
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Hiring the right employees is an important key to success for organizations of all sizes. Putting a plan in place that can be implemented based on your company's staffing needs can help ensure that your company's approach to recruiting is a strategic one that helps source quality candidates and identify individuals who may be good fits to work for the business.

Step-by-Step: The Recruitment Planning Process

Developing a strategic recruiting process requires continually considering an organization's staffing needs and taking steps to source a pipeline of qualified candidates on an ongoing basis. This approach will meet the organization's needs better than reactively waiting for an opening, then starting to look for candidates who might be able to fill it.

1. Align Recruiting With Business Goals

Before you start building a recruiting plan, make sure you know the organization's overall and HR goals and objectives. You need that information so you can be sure that your recruitment plan is strategically aligned with the business as a whole, as well as the human resources function. For example:

  • If your organization is committing to leading the way in terms of innovation, then recruiting efforts will need to focus on attracting innovation-minded candidates.
  • If the company is committed to diversity and inclusion, then recruiting will need to expand to recruit a more diverse candidate pool, as well as prospective employees who prioritize inclusivity.
  • If the business is seeking to expand its remote workforce, then its approach to recruiting will need to prioritize finding candidates who prefer working from home versus working on-site at a company.

2. Identify Current and Future Staffing Needs

Before you can develop a recruiting plan, you need to know your company's current hiring needs, as well as what they are likely to be in the future. This step involves both short-term and long-term planning.

  • Verify key metrics, such as how many employees the company has now and in what roles, how many open positions there are, the average amount of overtime employees work each week, and employee turnover statistics.
  • Review demographics of the current workforce, taking into consideration which roles are filled by team members who are expected to retire soon or are otherwise likely to leave the company in the near future.
  • Identify business plans that will impact staffing needs, such as plans to grow or contract, and what that will look like (adding new locations, launching new products, closing locations, discontinuing lines of business).
  • Use that information to identify positions that need to be filled now, jobs that will likely need to be filled within the next three to six months, and roles that may need to be filled within the next year and beyond.

3. Ensure Job Descriptions Are Current

Work with HR and management to ensure that the job descriptions for any positions that will be included in the recruitment plan are current and accurately reflect what is involved in doing the job. This is necessary so recruiters will be able to provide prospective employees with accurate information about the jobs that need to be filled.

  • Prioritize getting job descriptions updated for the positions that need to be filled immediately, with the next priority being positions that will need to be filled within the next six months.
  • If the company will be adding new roles within that timeframe, you'll also need to prioritize getting job descriptions created for those roles (since there aren't existing ones to update).
  • Next, focus on longer-term staffing, to ensure that proper job documentation is in place for positions that you expect to need to fill after taking care of staffing needs for the next six months.

4. Build a Metrics-Based Recruiting Plan

Every organization has unique staffing needs, so there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach that will work for all businesses. Building out your specific plan will require reviewing key metrics that impact what sources to use and how long you can expect it to take to fill open positions. This information can help you set appropriate timelines and establish reasonable expectations within the company for how long it takes to bring on new hires.

  • Pull data on the recruiting sources you have used in the past and look at the success rate of each, so you can determine which sources are best to use for the various types of jobs available at your organization.
  • Consider yield ratios, such as how many qualified applicants typically come in from each source for each role, as well as how many interviews are scheduled, jobs are offered, positions are accepted, and employees are successfully hired.
  • Review other key factors, such as how long it typically takes to fill open positions, and the amount of time that elapses from job offers being extended until the selected employee's first day of work.
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5. Streamline the Recruiting Process

Once you have a clear picture of current and expected future staffing needs and a good idea about key statistics about how the process has worked in the past, the next step is to consider what can be done to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the recruiting process. This involves considering what is working well, what needs to be improved, and how things can be streamlined.

  • If your company doesn't have a good applicant tracking system in place, invest in a system that handles the complete flow of applications through screening, interviewing, selection, and conversion to active employees.
  • Review the entire recruiting process, looking to see if there are ways to streamline things for candidates, such as adopting a short-form initial application for employment, or a way to easily reactivate applications after a certain timeframe.
  • Consider ways to streamline internally as well, such as improved candidate keyword searches, incorporating technology into initial interviews, improving the background screening process, and automating pre-employment assessments.

6. Clarify Procedures and Responsibilities

Evaluate the processes and procedures currently used for recruiting to see if they can be improved or clarified. Often there is confusion regarding what steps need to be taken to authorize recruiting to begin, or how involved departmental managers should be in sourcing candidates. Review the process with all stakeholders to identify areas where clarification may be needed or changes will be beneficial.

  • Conduct focus groups with stakeholders involved in recruiting and hiring to identify areas that need to be clarified. The focus should be to identify aspects of the process that are confusing or unclear.
  • Write and publish simple procedures that clearly spell out what department managers are responsible for and what the recruiting staff is expected to handle, so there is no confusion regarding who needs to do what.
  • Create any forms that may be required to authorize filling a job, as well as job aids or checklists that those who are involved in recruiting can use to ensure they're appropriately following the procedures.

Example Recruitment Planning Template

While the process of recruitment planning won't be exactly the same in every company, starting with a template can be really helpful. The printable recruitment planning template below can provide a good starting point, as you can easily edit it to meet your company's specific needs. To access the customizable template, just click the image below. It will open as a PDF file that you can edit, save, and print. Feel free to work from this document, or use it to create a worksheet of your own.

Get Ready to Recruit

By applying the suggestions above and adapting the printable template to your organization's needs, you'll be preparing to implement a strategically aligned recruiting process in your organization. If the company has been very reactive when it comes to recruiting, you may find that it takes a good bit of effort to get things into place. The time you and the rest of the team invest now will be well worth it in the end. Your company will benefit from having a streamlined recruiting process that meets the needs of candidates and internal team members alike. Soon, you'll be on the way to attracting the talent that your organization needs to thrive in today's highly competitive business environment.

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Recruitment Planning 101: How to Get Started