Recruitment is something that affects all companies: a leaver must be replaced by a new employee, someone going on study leave needs replacing, or the company grows and new roles open up.
Companies have pretty different takes on recruitment. Some companies take recruitment seriously, others are still learning. This affects the way that companies approach recruitment tasks and processes. At its most basic, recruitment is reactive and revolves around acute skills shortages. At its most evolved, recruitment is closely tied with business strategy and is about building clearly-defined talent pipelines. Most companies fall somewhere in-between these two extremes. Track your evolution in recruitment maturity (broken down into four distinct stages).
Level 1 – Reactive recruitment
In the early stages of recruitment maturity, we are talking about largely reactive recruitment. When you are at this stage, visibility on long-term skills shortages and/or gaps is poor or non-existent. Recruitment is never systematic or planned, but merely focuses on individual needs in that specific moment.
Reactive recruitment is characterized by the ‘post & pray’ mentality – a concept us recruiters are well-acquainted with! Post and pray means posting a job ad without too much thought, and just crossing your fingers and hoping that a star applicant will just magically find it and apply.
At this stage of recruitment maturity development, the overall recruitment competence at an organization is not typically very high. For example, there will be limited organizational knowledge of key talent segments and no strategy for passive applicants.
There is usually no documented recruitment process and/or it does not provide added value internally and /or for the applicant. Usually there is no dedicated recruiter or recruitment team: hires are handled by one HR person on top of all their other people duties.
Sure, in some cases, you might get lucky and find that the perfect application just flies in, but usually this is far from the reality. Especially in fields where demand outstrips supply, this is a highly unlikely scenario (something we are acutely aware of in the IT sector). A voracious need for talent and not enough available people means that employers are having to heavily invest in attracting and engaging the best people in order to win the war for talent.
Level 2 – Developments are beginning to take shape
When you get to stage two of your recruitment maturity journey, you have usually figured out that just randomly posting job ads is a strategy that needs to be binned. You now acknowledge that successful recruitment requires a more proactive strategy. As the name implies, this recruitment maturity phase is characterized by a drive and need for development.
There is a developing understanding of the necessity of separately targeting and communicating with different talent groups, but practical knowledge of targeting is still piecemeal. The development of the overall recruitment process is an emerging priority and the importance of a good candidate experience is acknowledged.
There is a need to increase the organization’s recruitment capacity by developing its direct search skills. At this point, it is likely that the company already has a recruitment team, or at least a recruitment professional as part of the wider HR team. When recruiting, the hiring manager and the recruiter collaborate.
Level 3 – Advanced actions
At the third stage of recruitment maturity, recruitment is clearly at a more advanced stage: we’re talking about talent acquisition rather than just recruitment. Internal direct search capability is generally high and recruiters are proactively building a talent pipeline not just for current open positions, but for more long-term talent needs.
The most important talent segments have been defined and are being targeted with customized messages. The importance of candidate experience in the recruitment process is emphasized, and hiring managers are deeply committed to recruitment. Acquiring the best talent is seen as an essential part of a manager’s job, and not an extra task that is repeatedly sidelined by other priorities.
Value-led recruitment metrics have been defined and recruitment data is monitored. Recruitment is supported by internal marketing and communications teams, culminating in recruitment marketing.
Level 4 – Evolved & thought-leading
At the final stage of recruitment maturity, we can talk about genuinely strategic recruitment. The talent pipeline is firmly on the board’s agenda and talent acquisition is part of the company’s business strategy. Recruiters are advisors who are not only involved in recruitment, but are creators of a comprehensive talent strategy. In addition to external recruitment, a holistic approach to talent development encompasses internal professional development and staff training. In addition, employer branding is an integral part of the overall business strategy – identified as strategically important at board-level.
At this stage, all long-term priority talent segments have been defined. Building and actively maintaining talent communities is a key part of recruitment and core communities are served with targeted content on a systematic basis. Recruitment is supported by professional talent communities who are already familiar with and committed to the company. The recruitment process is optimized to add value from the candidate’s point of view. Data collection enables data-based decision-making in recruitment.
People are your most important asset: it is they who ultimately are the competitive advantage at your company. In order to ensure that you have the best talent now and in the future, it is worth developing your recruitment in a more strategic direction. The winning organizations are those that reach the evolved stage in their recruitment maturity journey.