The 4 Key Elements of Recruitment Best Practice

As a direct result of economic uncertainty and the burgeoning pace of technological development in the past 5 years recruiters have seen huge changes in market conditions, perhaps more so than during any previous 5 year period. These influences have brought about dramatic changes in the behaviour of both employers and candidates, driven by easier access to candidate data and a shorter, more succinct recruitment life cycle due to the improved efficiency that the internet provides.

These changes have taken place in what has been a continually faltering economic climate. This fluidity has made strategic planning and investment very difficult and keeping a handle on current best practice in order to keep your recruitment strategy optimised is a constantly moving target.

To help recruiters, we’ve looked carefully at the challenges these tricky conditions present and summarised 4 key elements that, if you haven’t already adopted them, should make a real difference to how effective you are as a recruitment team.

1. The smart thinking on Brand Development

Maximising your appeal to prospective candidates is bound to be high on the list and you need to make sure you cover all the bases and leverage all of the right tools to make sure you appeal to prospective candidates.

When a candidate looks at a company, it’s not just about the pay packet. Research shows that they look at a much broader picture in terms of what an employer has to offer. Job seekers want to work for companies that they appeal to them in as many ways as possible including, brand, culture, ethos, location – as well as remuneration. The first place most candidates turn to to research a company brand is social media as invariably this offers them huge insight into areas of a business that would have been impossible for them to penetrate 10 years ago. This increased transparency makes it vitally important to make your organisation the type of business that you would want to work for and that you believe would appeal to others.

Technology is also helping candidates become far more adept at interpreting job adverts and identifying the correct type of job that are the right fit for them. Many job seekers aren’t simply looking for a job, as much as a life changing opportunity to make a living working somewhere that they’ll want to go to, to fit in and feel they’re genuinely contributing. This behavioural change makes it important to develop your brand to not only suit your own target market but also to appeal to potential new employers. Thankfully, these go hand in hand and good brand development should positively influence both customer and employees, present and future.

There are lots of ways to help achieve this.

At the top of the list are the more obvious things like making sure the key job attributes are made clear, healthcare coverage, pension arrangement, flexible hours (if applicable).

Other ways to promote your brand to maximise candidate appeal include:

  • Publishing your company ethos & mission statement.

  • Create an employee blog where members of your team publish something regularly which may not be specific to your product or service delivery but still reflect positively on your brand.

  • Tweet the good stuff. Make things like staff incentive days, coporate events, team building events, charitable events are all published via social media.

  • Publish your social and environmental responsibility statement, making it clear where you stand on key matters.

  • Upload a ‘What’s It Like To work At [Your Co]’ video onto YouTube.

2. Improve Retention

The most obvious way to limit recruitment costs is to improve employee retention. Making sure that employees are a good fit from the beginning will clearly influence this. Statistics show that 82% of employees plan to leave their jobs in the next 12 months. By improving the efficiency of your recruitment process, finding the right candidates to fill the right positions definitely helps. A bad fit costs money!

Taking the steps we have listed above will go a long way to helping you find the right people and keep them for longer, providing of course that you have your house in order with regard to the management of staff and the morale of the workforce.

It is well proven that when employees feel valued and are content with their remuneration and working conditions, they are more productive and stay longer. Bad employers churn staff which increases recruitment costs, creates instability and disruption and stifles productivity. Creating an environment where people want to come to, and are happy to work at, will stay longer which pays huge dividends.

3. Limit Candidate Choice – Appear Exclusive

Technology now provides so many ways in which candidates can search for jobs, including job boards, social media networks and company career pages, it’s now easier than ever for job seekers to search for jobs meaning that they can be more selective.

To put yourself at the top of the candidates wish list, you need to create an element of exclusivity. People invariably want what they can’t have.

In the same way that certain high street brands (designer brands) command a higher price, not necessarily because the product is better quality, but because the brand value is simply perceived to be higher, the same concept can be applied to your own brand in the job market. This may sound strange , but by not making it appear that you’re ready to take on all comers and perhaps creating some obstacles for them so they get the impression that you only want the very best candidates, you increase the desirability of your brand to the candidates. The harder a candidate has to work to get a job, , the more attractive and fulfilling the position will appear.

4. Adopting a Focused Recruitment Strategy

With so much choice and so many jobs to apply for, in order to make your recruitment process as efficient as possible, you will need to make your job advert stand out from the rest and appeal to the right candidates . Sifting through hundreds of mediocre to poor candidates, wastes time and money and rarely ends up with the best result. You’re better to have fewer good quality candidates to consider than an abundance of unsuitable candidates, all because you’ve cast your net too wide. To achieve this, firstly, you need to make your job advert as clear and concise as possible. Make it succinct by fully describing the experience, skills, attributes and qualifications that you want the candidate to have so that you deter the people who are not going to be suitable.

Having written the perfect job advert, getting it in front of the best candidates is a challenge.

Recruitment Agencies

For most organisations, the first port of call to fill a vacancy is a recruitment agency. Whilst traditional agency recruitment works, there are more and more cost effective alternative springing up. These alternatives are beginning to bring the down sides of agency recruitment into sharp focus. The clear benefit is that it’s a results led option. You only pay if you hire. However, fees are invariably very high when compared with other methods.

Fixed Price Recruitment

Fixed price recruitment (also called Fixed Fee Recruitment) is a concept that has emerged over the last 5 years mainly due to advances in technology that have made this a viable option. Finding the right Fixed Fee Recruiter can deliver you the same or better results than an agency but without the high success fees. Fixed fee recruiters charge a nominal fee for placing your vacancy, regardless of whether you fill it but generally they have a significant reach and are likely to be able to get your vacancy in front of more candidates than any other method.

Most of the best of breed fixed fee recruiters also use clever technology to automatically screen candidates and, in some case, they manually screen them and deliver an accurate short list of suitable candidates, leaving only the interviewing and hiring to you.

Current Employee Referrals

A great way to recruit at a low cost is through employee referrals. Using your existing staff to develop a pool of trusted qualified candidates is also a great way to screen candidates. Current employees are less likely to suggest someone who they don’t think is a good fit and they’ll be happy that they might end up working with people they get along with already. You can ask your staff to use their own social networks to find suitable candidates.

Job Boards

When choosing job boards, think about the websites that make the most sense. Reduce your recruiting cost by only choosing the boards with the audience you need. Look for niche communities in the industry that offer opportunities for posting jobs.

Also, remember that the candidates that you want to appeal to will look for positions by choosing keywords, so you will want to make sure to use keywords that are standard for the industry, and certain phrases in the job qualifications, in order to match up with what candidates are searching for so they will find your posting.


Adopting these key elements of recruitment best practice, if you haven’t already, will have a positive impact on your organisations ability to attract and recruit the brightest stars in the talent pool whilst reducing the amount you spend on doing so. Not adopting them will almost certainly consign you to the unenviable group of high churn employers, who can never understand why they can’t quite get control if their spiralling recruitment costs and for who great staff moral and optimum productivity remains just a pipe dream.

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