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What is Recruitment Planning?

Recruitment planning refers to the process of creating a blueprint that guides professionals through the recruiting process, and helps them find and hire the best talent. Recruitment planning addresses methods for handling each step of the hiring process, and then goes on to outline strategies for what should happen after a candidate is hired.

Recruitment Planning Diagram

When recruiters are scrambling to find talent to fill open positions, they may not necessarily have the time to think ahead and consider how impactful recruitment planning can be or how it will make their jobs much easier in the future. That’s why we’ve created everything you need to know about recruitment planning.

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Benefits of Recruitment Planning

It can be time consuming for companies to do recruitment planning, but it is time well spent. There are several benefits of recruitment planning, such as:

Reducing costs

During the recruitment planning process, recruiters define what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate and measure all talent against these standards. As a result, recruiters can focus on applicant quality over quantity, while saving the company money because they aren't wasting resources on applicants that won’t be the right fit.

Cutting time to fill positions

Recruitment planning can significantly cut the time spent filling positions, since recruiters have a clear picture of what type of candidates they're looking for and how they're going to find them. This strategy can be especially helpful with positions that usually take more time to fill because they require candidates with managerial-level experience or specialized skills.

Increasing quality of applicants 

Although writing high-quality job descriptions alone can go a long way toward attracting quality applicants, this can be a hit-or-miss proposition. By creating a recruitment plan, companies end up with targeted types of candidates defined, so they take the steps necessary to find those candidates. As a result, recruitment planning helps to increase the quality of candidates for any given position, thus making the recruiting process more efficient.

Meeting diversity recruitment goals 

Companies that have set up DEI goals can use their recruitment planning to help them attract the demographics they want represented in their organizations. Incorporating diversity recruiting strategies to the overall planning process allows companies to actively look for talent from underrepresented groups, rather than leaving it to chance when applications come in.

Boosting quality of hires 

As the quality of applicants is raised through the recruitment planning process, so is the quality of hires. The time it takes recruiters to plan and define exactly what they want in candidates leads to better quality hires, and better quality hires lead to better retention.

Recruitment Planning and Forecasting

Recruitment planning and forecasting are very closely linked, so it’s impossible to create a solid recruitment plan without also doing forecasting along with it. Recruitment forecasting is the process of determining a company’s staffing needs at any given time, so recruiters can make predictions about when they should ramp up hiring. This helps to ensure that an organization has the talent it needs when it needs it, and recruiters aren’t left rushing to find employees at the last minute. As a result, a company can avoid staffing shortages that put pressure on recruiters to fill positions quickly and lead to lower quality hires.

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Recruitment Planning Process

There are several steps that recruiters generally take during the recruitment planning process. Some of these steps include:

Creating goals 

Whether companies want to increase the diversity of their staff, reduce the cost and time it takes to hire, or address staffing needs before shortages occur, the first step of creating a recruitment plan is to determine what they want to get out of it. Setting clear goals will guide them through the hiring process and create a sense of accountability, so recruiters can determine if the plan has been successful or if adjustments are necessary.

Forecasting hiring needs

While recruitment plans don't turn hiring managers into psychics, they do provide the data that allows them to read the tea leaves and make educated guesses about when to look for new hires. That's why the recruitment planning process should include forecasting, where recruiters look at the past staffing needs of the company to effectively plan their current and future hiring efforts. This forecasting should consider factors such as the likelihood of promotions within the company and attrition rates, as well as any gaps in skills that need to be filled through hiring.

Developing a recruiting calendar

A calendar can help recruiters create a timeline that prioritizes filling specific positions in the near future. By keeping abreast of the activities of all departments in the organization, recruiters will know when management expects to bring in new staff. This allows them to create a calendar to plan their recruitment focus.

Defining ideal candidates

Every position has its own set of ideal qualifications, but every organization also has its own ideal employee. The recruitment planning process should not only define how to evaluate candidates for specific positions, but also how to evaluate ideal employees. This can be done by looking at workers that have performed the best, and determining the qualities that make them such great employees. Conversely, they can look at employees who didn't work out to determine the qualities that made them bad hires, which will help recruiters avoid applicants that miss the mark.

Creating a sourcing strategy

Not every sourcing strategy is created equally, so recruiters should find the sourcing systems that work best for their needs. What are the best places to find great talent? Which sourcing channels have yielded the best hires and which ones have not? Which sourcing strategies eat up a lot of time and money, but don’t lead to success? By asking these questions, and identifying the best channels for sourcing, recruiters can create a strong sourcing strategy that helps them hire and retain the talent they want.

Refining the selection process

Recruiters want to make sure that they've made the right decision when they choose a candidate to hire. Refining the selection process can help to accomplish this, as well as make hiring a positive candidate experience that is fair for everyone. Some of the areas where companies can improve their selection process includes the way they conduct interviews, administer assessments, handle background checks, and communicate with applicants as they move through different stages of the hiring funnel. Making every step more efficient and candidate-friendly will make it more likely that recruiters choose the best hires.

Making a budget 

Hiring can be an expensive process, so adding a budget to a recruitment plan can help companies stay on track and adjust their approach if it ends up not being cost-effective. When creating a budget, recruiters should look at the cost of posting on job boards, attending events, enlisting the help of recruiting agencies, conducting assessments, and using recruitment technologies. In addition, the budget should also consider the amount that companies spend after candidates are hired, which means looking at the costs associated with background checks, onboarding, and training.

Leveraging hiring tools

Leveraging technology can help reduce the time recruiters spend filling each position, so identifying the most relevant tools to help with the process should be part of recruitment planning. Some technologies that recruiters can consider using include:

  • Applicant tracking systems, which can help to screen resumes and cover letters, assist with interview scheduling, automate communication with candidates, and build talent pools based on specific demographics.
  • Augmented writing software, which takes the guesswork out of writing job descriptions because it helps craft posts that are most likely to get responses from the most qualified candidates.
  • Candidate relationship management software, which can work hand-in-hand with applicant tracking software because while ATS systems track current candidates, CRM software looks through applications from previous job openings to identify matches for fresh positions. 
  • Chatbots, which make companies accessible to applicants 24 hours a day by answering common questions and scheduling interviews when people visit the recruitment website.
  • Interviewing software, which helps companies conduct virtual pre-screening interviews by allowing candidates to answer questions using text, audio, or video.
  • Onboarding software, which makes it easier to help new hires by allowing them to complete certain parts of training online and easily download documents with company information they need to know.
  • Programmatic recruitment marketing platforms, which help recruiters target job ads on social media platforms and specific boards so they can attract the ideal candidates for a position.

Updating job descriptions

Accurate job descriptions contribute to hiring the right candidates and making retention more likely. Organizations need to make sure their job descriptions are a true reflection of what a position is, as well as what the company is offering in terms of benefits and culture. Also, recruiters should touch base with company managers on a regular basis to ensure that all job descriptions are current, and updates are made if the nature of a position changes over time.

Onboarding effectively

Onboarding sets the tone for the relationship new hires will have with an organization, so it's important to develop a process that sets employees up for success. Since many new workers quit within the first three months of getting hired, the onboarding process should be welcoming and informative, while demonstrating everything the company has to offer. This is the time to prove to new employees that the organization is going to deliver on everything it promised; otherwise they will become disillusioned and will look for opportunities elsewhere.

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