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12 min read

How To Build an Effective Recruitment Plan

Recruitment planning is a complex, and sometimes time-consuming process. But, it’s worth the investment: recruitment planning can ultimately help organizations improve candidate engagement, boost employee retention, lower time to fill and time to hire, and save on recruiting costs.

A recruitment strategy plan aligns the recruiting team and HR resources toward a common goal — one that supports the growth and priorities of the entire organization. Whether seeking to increase diversity hiring, lower turnover costs, or gain a competitive advantage, a recruitment plan gives businesses the opportunity to anticipate a business need and allocate resources accordingly. 

What is a recruitment plan?

A recruitment plan is exactly what it sounds like: a recruitment program plan for recruiting and hiring new employees. The recruitment planning process allows HR teams to align hiring goals with the overall objectives of the organization. Recruitment planning helps address and remedy skill gaps, allocate resources, and prioritize goals such as diversity hiring

A comprehensive recruitment plan typically takes a top-down approach to hiring. The process to design a recruitment plan starts by identifying the strategic hiring needs that must be addressed to support the growth of the company. Adding headcount, improving diversity, boosting employee retention, or reducing cost-to-hire are all goals that can ladder up to a company’s larger objective. 

For some businesses, a recruitment plan offers a set of guidelines and steps that can be replicated no matter what position it is you’re trying to fill. This strategy helps you identify what internal resources need to be in place before you kick off the hiring process

[Read more: Building A Recruitment Plan For Your Small Business]  

What are the benefits of a recruitment plan?

A recruitment plan or employee hiring plan provides a roadmap for achieving specific hiring priorities over a certain time period. A recruitment plan helps teams thoughtfully allocate resources, spend time on the hiring priorities with the highest impact, and build a talent pipeline that helps the company grow. 

Primarily, a recruitment plan provides a tool for strategic alignment. Connecting hiring to a larger company goal ensures that the business has the human capital it needs to be successful. By setting out hiring objectives that align with the broader company, you can allocate the right level of resources to help you meet your goals, save time, and prioritize your recruitment budget.

Recruitment plans play a big role in closing a skill gap — a mismatch in the skills that a company requires of its employees, and the skills that potential new hires possess. 

[Read more: How To Perform An Effective Skills Gap Analysis And Future Proof Your Business]

The agency recruitment plan will integrate the organization’s overarching goal into all the stages of the hiring process, helping the team stay accountable and on track through candidate sourcing, vetting, and interviewing, all the way to the final offer. For applicants, the candidate experience throughout the hiring process is smoother. Preparing a recruitment plan ultimately helps improve employer branding, as hiring teams can be transparent about what to expect and target candidates who are a better fit for the organization.

How to develop a recruitment plan

Writing a recruitment plan is a multi-step process that involves stakeholders from across the organization. The steps in the recruitment planning process can be repeated annually or bi-annually as the organization’s needs shift. Recruitment plans should be updated frequently to ensure no new skill gaps develop. 

Follow these steps to draft a recruiting plan and implementation strategy that helps achieve your hiring goals. 

Graphic showing how to develop a recruitment plan
How to develop a recruitment plan

[Download now: Free Recruitment Plan Template]

1. Define your goals

The recruitment activities action plan process starts by defining your overarching goal, which then ladders down to guide your day-to-day activities. This often starts by coordinating with senior leaders to understand the trajectory of the business. For instance, if your plan is to launch a new product line by the end of the year, you may realize you need to hire an in-house marketing expert to make the release successful. Or, if the company is going through lean times, you may need to find ways to cut costs — and look into hiring remotely, where you can take advantage of local pay scales and lower overhead costs. 

[Read more: Virtual Recruiting Guide: 13 Ideas For Success in 2021

Despite the fact that this goal might be big, try to make it as clear as possible. Here are some common goals that hiring teams articulate in support of a company’s mission: 

  • Improve diversity hiring
  • Reduce time-to-hire
  • Reduce the cost-per-hire
  • Reduce repetitive HR admin 
  • Improve employee retention
  • Build a strong talent pipeline
  • Use few external recruiting resources

Sometimes, a company’s needs may not be immediately evident. This is where skills gap analysis and other forecasting methods can help guide your recruitment process improvement plan. A skill gap analysis helps companies create a recruitment plan for hiring to identify which skills their workforce needs, but doesn’t necessarily have yet. Skills gap analyses can be used to then guide hiring priorities, create opportunities for training and development, or allocate funding for new technology or partnerships. 

Graphic showing common recruitment goals for companies
Common recruitment goals for companies

[Download: Free Skills Gap Analysis Template]  

In addition to a skills gap analysis, look at your promotion schedule to see which employees may be moving up — and opening new positions to be filled. Update your organizational chart to visualize key roles. Use this information to predict the number of roles for which you will need to hire over the next 12 months. This information will help your recruitment team and leadership teams create recruiting plans and strategies and ensure you have the right resources and budget to set your hiring process up for success. 

2. Define the positions

Next, create a list of the positions for which you are recruiting, as well as a hiring timeline for when these positions need to be filled. Depending on the size of your organization, you may need to go department by department and make a list of all the human resources needed for the year. Use your skill gaps analysis to anticipate future needs in addition to current ones. 

Not only should you identify your upcoming open roles, but you should also work with the hiring team to begin creating job descriptions. Include hard skills and soft skills in your evaluation of the role and the ideal candidate. For more, follow our guide at the link below.

[Read more: How to Write a Job Description

The timeline is a critical piece of your recruitment plan. Even in a competitive job market, it can take time to find the right candidate. The average time-to-fill ranges from 33 – 49 days, according to LinkedIn. And, if you make the wrong hire, that time can easily double. Map out the positions for which you are hiring quarter by quarter to give your team plenty of time to prepare. 

With this information in mind, you can begin to design a thoughtful hiring process that helps you achieve the goals of your hiring plan. 

Graphic showing average time to fill
How long it takes on average to find the right candidate

3. Start by planning a sourcing strategy

Your hiring process is likely to change depending on whether you’re recruiting virtually or in-person, and for a remote role or for someone on-site. Typically, however, the hiring process takes place over two phases: sourcing and screening. 

Sourcing, in a general sense, involves everything from employer branding to posting a job ad to using unique job boards or social media to reach diverse candidates. These are the activities that attract candidates to your company and encourage them to apply for an open role. Some sourcing activities are passive (e.g., employer branding) versus active (e.g., reaching out directly to individuals on LinkedIn). 

Without strategic sourcing, it’s unlikely that you will be able to attract the talent you need to achieve your hiring goal. Keep this in mind as you plan sourcing activities, which may include: 

Graphic showing how to create a candidate sourcing strategy
How to create a candidate sourcing strategy

[Read more: 13 Recruitment Strategies To Improve Your Hiring]  

Imagine that you are tasked with increasing the diversity of your leadership team. This might require a sourcing strategy that includes writing better job descriptions, reaching out to affinity groups, or soliciting employee referrals. Keep your specific list of open roles in mind as you map out your sourcing strategy. 

4. Determine your selection process

After sourcing comes candidate selection or screening. Screening begins after applications have been submitted. Candidate selection activities might include: 

Graphic showing different candidate screening methods
Different candidate screening methods

[Read more: 7 Methods For Screening Candidates To Hire Better]  

There are many methods for evaluating candidates, from blind hiring to peer interviewing. And, it can be tempting to use as many methods as possible to screen candidates. However, keep the candidate experience in mind, too. No one wants to go through a ten-step hiring process. Just optimizing this one aspect of hiring can help you achieve many of your recruitment goals (such as employee retention, saving on hiring costs, and increasing referrals). 

5. Allocate resources for employee onboarding

Include onboarding in your recruitment plan to ensure this crucial step doesn’t fall between the cracks. Great onboarding can improve employee retention by 82%, yet the majority of organizations don’t onboard well. 

Your recruitment plan should lay out the steps that take place after a new hire accepts the offer. Onboarding can take place remotely, even if the employee is planning to come to the office eventually. 

Graphic showing benefits of focusing on onboarding
Benefits of improving the onboarding experience

[Read more: Remote Onboarding: Best Practice Guide & Challenges]  

Based on the number of open positions you anticipate, allocate sufficient resources to ensure all new hires are set up for success. This can include investing in onboarding software, creating an employee handbook, and purchasing equipment in advance so new team members are ready to go from day one. 

6. Identify tools to improve processes

Pre-employment screening of candidates is one of the most time-consuming tasks that recruiters do every day. When developing your recruiting resourcing plan, identify the opportunities for software to take on manual screening and sourcing steps that take up the most time. 

AI recruitment is a growing field that is more within reach than many businesses realize. Vervoe is just one example of a tool that harnesses AI to help recruiters source and screen at scale. Vervoe uses AI-based skills assessments that let you evaluate at scale, and spend more time with high-performing candidates. We instantly auto-grade and rank candidates according to job-related skills. This gives recruiters time back to spend on what’s really important. 

Graphic showing the average time spent on each part of the hiring process
Average time spent on each part of the hiring process

7. Secure budget to support your plan

All this information can finally be translated into a recruitment budget. Your budget should cover: 

  • Sourcing costs, such as employer branding expenses, advertising on job boards, job fairs, campus recruiting costs, and agency fees (if applicable)
  • Screening costs, such as a budget to reimburse candidates for travel, background check fees, and assessment tools 
  • Onboarding costs, such as equipment costs and welcome packet costs
  • Any overhead (like the time it takes your hiring team to screen and interview candidates)

These costs will vary depending on how many positions for which you’re recruiting, whether or not you’re hiring virtually, and what recruitment software you will use to complete the process. Try to separate one-time costs from recurring costs to help senior leaders understand how your budget request specifically supports your recruiting goal. 

Graphic showing what a recruitment plan budget should cover
What a recruitment plan budget should cover

Summary and final thoughts

The process of creating a recruitment plan may seem complicated, but the results speak for themselves. The average cost of a bad hiring decision, according to the Department of Labor, is at least 30% of the individual’s first-year expected earnings. By setting your recruitment objectives early and revisiting them often, you can be clear about your hiring priorities and make an offer to the right person the first time around.

Download our free Recruitment Plan Template today and align your hiring goals with the objectives of your organization.

Emily Heaslip

Emily Heaslip

Emily Heaslip is a wordsmith extraordinaire, weaving narratives that captivate and compel audiences across digital realms. With over eight years of experience in the art of storytelling, Emily has mastered the craft of freelance copywriting, infusing SEO strategies and content marketing tactics to craft captivating tales for brands such as HelloFresh, ADAY, and BlackRock. As the founder of Emily Heaslip Copywriting, Emily channels her creative energy into delivering unparalleled copywriting services that resonate with clients and audiences alike. Her journey from journalism to global relief efforts has imbued her writing with depth and authenticity, setting her apart as a versatile writer with a unique perspective. When she's not crafting captivating content, Emily can be found mentoring budding writers, sharing her wealth of knowledge and experience to empower the next generation of storytellers. With a passion for words and a talent for communication, Emily continues to inspire and connect through the power of storytelling.

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