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10 Employee Recruitment Strategies to Optimise Your Hiring Process

Published May 26, 2020 (last updated on June 26, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Content Writer


It’s important for any business to have the most effective recruitment strategies and practises in place in order to engage and retain top talent. With more and more opportunity out there for job seekers, it’s imperative that you stand out from the crowd. Here are Peninsula’s top 10 recruitment strategies you can use to optimise your hiring process this year.

1.   Develop Employer Brand

Creating and maintaining a strong employer brand is probably one of the most important factors when trying to attract, secure and retain great talent. Your employer brand should reflect your culture and values and outline your Employee Value Proposition (EVP): Ask yourself, Why do or should candidates want to work for my business? What does your business offer?. For example, at Peninsula we offer employee incentives like volunteering days, incentive trips and additional days of leave to name a few.

Another important part of a brand is its reputation. It’s important to consider what clients and employees (current or former) say about you – having positive reviews on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed and Seek can help build your brand significantly. If you do get a bad review the key is acknowledgement, leave a reply or ask them to follow up with you personally.

Finally, who doesn’t want to work for an award-winning company? It’s important to celebrate these and make them known through your website and social media.

2.  Social Media

Social media can be a powerful tool to be used in your recruitment strategy. Depending on your industry, social media may be the best way to attract candidates. like the technology and media industries. Due to the time spent on social media by many people, and the individualised nature of social media, it makes sense to advertise or share your job positions to people who fit into your targeted pool of candidates.

There are several sites that can be used including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, which we use to build the brand, share content and shine a light on the culture at Peninsula. Then there is LinkedIn, a professional network with over 660 million users in more than 200 countries, it can be used to post jobs, content such as articles, business updates and achievements or to reach out to passive candidates.

3.  Use Niche Job Boards

Niche job boards are job boards that specialise in a certain field. For example, Ethical Jobs focuses on jobs in the not-for-profit sector. They can be a great way to tap into talent that you might not find through the traditional routes, especially when it comes to more specialised job vacancies. There are a lot of niche job boards out there, some industry specific, some state specific, even some designed for those returning to work. So, it is important to know which one it is you’re looking for. Always do your research, ask experts in the field if they know or can recommend any, reach out to your hiring managers, employees or even candidates.

4.  Consider University Recruitment/Boards

University and college recruiting can prove valuable to your recruitment strategy depending on what it is you’re recruiting for. If you have (like Peninsula does) a graduate programme, then using a university or college job board can help you reach your target demographic.

Careers fairs are also something we regularly take part in; they are a great way to engage with students and graduates but also can be beneficial in promoting your brand.  A lot of careers fairs are free or low cost, only take up half a day, and most are degree specific which can help you better target prospective employees.

5.  Ensure the Accuracy of Your Job Ads

It is crucial that your ad is easy to read as and contains a succinct description of the role. Whatever you are posting, whether it’s your own website, Seek or a niche job board, never underestimate the importance of having an accurate job description.

Make sure your job ads are accurate, especially for more technical roles and check you have used the correct jargon. It is a good idea to speak with hiring managers and run ads past them to make sure it says the right thing. Further, don’t embellish the culture, earnings or company benefits. Keep them relevant and to the point, don’t overload it with information. Finally, always make sure to spell check and proofread adverts as a job ad is often a candidate’s first impression of your company so make sure it is a good one and make sure they want to click “Apply”!

6.  Reach Out to Passive Candidates

Applications are great but they don’t always bring exactly what you are looking for, that’s why it’s important to reach out to potential candidates who are not actively in the job market but have great experience for what you need (referred to as passive candidates).

Reaching out to these candidates can be done through social media like LinkedIn, Seek Talent Search or even through candidates you already have in your database. Make sure you send personalised reach outs, keep them engaging, stress the EVPs in your business-like culture or career progression to grab their attention, and maintain a quick response rate. Consider offering referral fees – even if they are not interested, they might know someone who is.

7.  Recruiting Agencies

Even for an internal recruitment team, it may seem odd to reach out to recruitment agencies, because that’s their job, right? However, sometimes engaging with agencies can be a great way to fill a difficult-to-fill role.

Often recruitment agencies specialise in an area e.g. sales professionals. This means they have great market knowledge and large networks of skilled professionals which can often produce top candidates. Recruiting agencies are also a great way to fill those confidential roles: the new role that might upset someone; the senior leadership role that you don’t want to be common knowledge yet; and so on. Giving this task to an agency means that they can advertise, headhunt and start interviewing for you discreetly and confidentially.

8.  Employee Referral Program

It could be said that Employee Referral Programs are an underrated recruitment strategy. Having a program in place can often contribute to better quality candidates, especially in harder to fill roles, lower turnover rates, shorter hiring and onboarding times – and often at a lower cost to the business. You already have a workforce of skilled employees that have their own network of friends, family or ex-colleagues with the skills you’re looking for – a referral program can leverage this.

At Peninsula we promote employee referrals for most roles, advertising them internally and even offer monetary incentives for any that are successful. In fact 93 of our hires last year came from Employee referrals, nearly 20% of our total hires for the year!

9.  Applicant Tracking System

To get the best out of your recruitment strategy consider investing in an applicant tracking system (ATS). Not only will it save you time and money in the long run, it can dramatically improve your recruitment process and candidate experience.

At Peninsula we use JobAdder in all aspects of our recruitment, from posting job adverts, sorting applications, scheduling interviews and searching passive candidates. An ATS can also allow you to gather metrics and data which ultimately provides opportunity for process improvement. There are a lot on the market but what’s best for you will depend on your company size and budget.

10. Improve Interview Process

It’s incredibly important to have a good interview process. If it’s too long you risk candidates dropping out, if it’s too short you risk hiring someone too soon. Firstly, keep the application process simple, a complicated process can put people off.

Secondly, be innovative with your process. Video interviews are becoming increasingly popular, if you’re recruiting distantly, using Zoom to interview can cut costs and increase the speed of hiring.

Finally, agree on the process with hiring managers and outlay it to candidates from the beginning to set expectations. The number of stages can depend on the role but ideally keep it to three stages or less.

Communication really is key: stay in touch with candidates; try to give feedback both positive or negative within a few days; and, even if the hiring managers don’t have a decision, touch base anyway and give them an update. Also be sure to ask candidates for their feedback, regardless if they were successfully hired or not. On average most active candidates will be off the market within 10 days so be sure not to delay.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Recruiting Strategy?

A recruiting strategy is effectively your plan of action, the steps you will take to attract, engage, onboard and retain candidates for open opportunities within your business.

Why Is a Recruitment Strategy Necessary?

It’s important for any business to have a recruitment strategy, employees really can make or break a business so it’s key to put in place strategies and practices to allow you to find the top candidates in the market and that will ultimately contribute to business growth and efficiency.

How Do You Develop a Recruitment Strategy?
  1. Decide on business need, what is it you need to recruit for?
  2. Check out your competitors, are they recruiting and how do they do it, what do they offer, what salary are they paying?
  3. Have a strong idea of your employer brand – keep your strategy aligned throughout.
  4. Develop ‘Job descriptions’ – job title, responsibilities, salary, reporting line etc. Know what you want from each role.
  5. Decide on your recruitment budget, this will ultimately determine the best strategies for you and your search.
  6. Decide where best to spend your budget. Is it on technology? Social media such as LinkedIn Recruiter? Advertisements?
  7. Put into place a recruitment process, this may include an ATS and interview structures.
  8. Identify how best to attract the talent you are looking for; volume or more junior roles might get enough response from advertising alone or suit an assessment centre. Niche roles might need niche advertising or the assistance of recruitment agencies. Is it best to reach out to passive candidates? Or put an Employee referral scheme into place?
  9. Sometimes unfortunately it is about trial and error – find out what worked and what didn’t, collate feedback from everyone involved.
  10. Improve your process!
How Do You Attract the Best Candidates?

Develop a fantastic employer brand, write a killer job ad to attract the best applications, and reach out to top tier passive candidates. Remember attracting and hiring top candidates are two different things, always provide the best possible candidate experience!

How Can I Improve My Recruitment Skills?

Reflect on your previous recruitment processes and which candidates were selected (Did the candidates stay with the business or did they have the skills you wanted?). Ask for feedback from candidates and managers on what they found good and what could be improved. Reach out to senior staff members in your team or other recruiters in your network. Read recruitment blogs, books and listen to podcasts. Become an industry expert, take time to find out about what you are recruiting for.

Any Advice on How to Recruit Employees on a Tight Budget?

Ask for employee referrals, there’s a good chance someone in the business knows someone right for the role! Save on advertising by posting the job out to your network through LinkedIn or other social media avenues. If possible, look through your database and re-engage old candidates or even ex-employees (make sure if you are maintaining a database you comply with any privacy legislation).

What Are the Modern Methods of Recruitment?
  • Social Media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram
  • Head hunting – reaching out to passive candidates
  • Video Interviewing
  • Use an ATS
  • Employee Referrals
  • Networking events – Career fairs, seminars etc
How Do You Recruit for a Start-up?
  • Build your company brand – develop your culture, values, EVP, and social media!
  • Put in place a hiring process and a tracking system – if it’s not an ATS yet, at least use excel for now.
  • Plan what roles are needed in your business and find out everything you can about them – where will they sit, who will they report to, what will the day to day look like, what’s the interview process for the role?
  • Advertise! If your budget is limited, do it through your own website and social media channels to start with
  • Reach out to passive candidates, put an employee referrals programme in place, consider talent from within!

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