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By Roy Rasmussen Updated on October 12, 2021

12 Effective Employee Recruitment Strategies to Draw Top Talent

Effective employee recruitment strategies improve worker productivity and retention. Learn 12 of the best ways to recruit employees:

  1. Get help from a recruitment agency
  2. Define your ideal candidate
  3. Create a candidate scoring system
  4. Craft a well-designed job description
  5. Optimize your interview process
  6. Offer competitive compensation
  7. Build a reputation as a great brand to work for
  8. Review in-house candidates first
  9. Ask for referrals from workers and peers
  10. Include passive recruits in your talent search
  11. Partner with colleges
  12. Use smart digital recruitment tools

Use these strategies for the successful recruitment of new employees to attract and retain top talent.

1. Get Help from a Recruitment Agency

If you don’t know how to recruit employees effectively, one of the fastest shortcuts to better results is hiring a professional staffing agency

A firm experienced with employee recruitment is already in contact with qualified candidates ready to fill open positions, accelerating your hiring process. A recruitment agency also has access to a wider talent pool than you could reach with your own resources, increasing your ability to connect with top talent.

Staffing agencies charge a fee in addition to what you would normally pay workers. This extra fee can be worth it when it shortens your talent search and helps you connect with the right candidates. If you need capital to cover the costs of using a recruitment agency, consider applying for a Small Business Administration (SBA) Express loan or another form of small business financing.

2. Define Your Ideal Candidate

Whether you work with a staffing agency or do it yourself, one of the most important strategies for recruiting the best employees is creating a profile of your ideal candidate. A well-designed profile allows you to focus your recruitment efforts on candidates who best fit your needs.

An ideal candidate profile should answer questions such as:

  • What role needs to be filled?
  • Which duties does the role involve?
  • Which hard and soft skills are needed to perform these duties?
  • What experience should qualified candidates have?
  • Which educational prerequisites or professional certifications are required for this position?
  • Which qualities should a candidate in this position possess to fit with your company culture?

To answer these questions, get input from supervisors, and review which qualities your top workers in similar positions possess. To help you create your profile, you can find ideal candidate profile templates online.

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3. Create a Candidate Scoring System

To measure how well applicants align with your ideal candidate profile, you can create a candidate scorecard system. A scoring system breaks your job qualifications down into categories and then assigns a numerical value to each category based on how well a candidate meets your criteria. For example, you can use a score from 1 to 5 for each category, with 1 representing an unsatisfactory result and 5 representing an exceptional result.

You can then tally up the results in all categories to score the candidate. If you wish to give more weight to a particular category, you can use a multiplier to assign it a higher value.

Using a scoring system allows you to make a more objective evaluation of candidate qualifications. It also allows you to use digital tools to review candidate applications, which can save you time. The website for the Society for Human Resource Management provides a candidate evaluation form with a sample scoring system.

4. Craft a Well-Designed Job Description

A key to recruiting employees with the right qualifications is designing a job description geared towards attracting your ideal candidate. Aligning your job posting with your ideal candidate profile will help you grab the attention of the right target audience, while discouraging unqualified applicants.

To write an effective job description:

  • Include keywords that a qualified candidate would be likely to search on
  • Create a title that incorporates your keywords and the most important qualifications your candidate should possess
  • Rank the qualifications your candidate should possess in order of importance, and emphasize the most important ones by mentioning them first
  • Focus on desired practical skills rather than formal qualifications such as degrees
  • Include hard and soft skills
  • Distinguish between required and preferred skills
  • Highlight your best incentives to motivate qualified applicants

If you need help, you can find job description templates online.

5. Optimize Your Interview Process

The quality of your interview process helps determine the quality of your hires. Carefully planning interviews will help you identify your best applicants.

You can optimize your interview process by improving:

  • The sequence of steps in the process
  • The questions you ask during interviews
  • Your post-interview assessment process

Interview Sequence

Your interview sequence includes steps you take before, during and after interviews. 

For example, holding a meeting with hiring managers prior to a round of interviews can help assure that they know what qualities to prioritize in a candidate. Interviews themselves can involve 1, 2 or more interviews depending on the needs of the position. Map out exactly what should happen before, during and after the interview.

Interview Questions

Your interview questions should elicit information relevant to determining how well candidates match your ideal candidate profile. 

As a general rule, open-ended questions that allow the candidate to elaborate will generate more information than simple yes-or-no questions. Include questions to assess soft skills. For instance, to determine a candidate’s problem-solving ability, you might ask them to outline what steps they would take to solve a given challenge.

Post-Interview Assessment

Your post-interview assessment process should incorporate your candidate scoring system. You can also gather feedback from interviewers and candidates.

6. Offer Competitive Compensation

Nothing will attract qualified candidates more than a compelling compensation package. The payment, benefits and perks you offer can persuade top talent to join your company.

To make sure your offer is competitive, do research to find out:

  • What other companies in your market are offering for similar positions, and what they aren’t offering that could make your company stand out
  • What benefits and perks workers in your industry currently prioritize
  • What kind of compensation applicants received on their previous job
  • What part of a compensation package is most important to an individual candidate

Keep in mind that compensation is negotiable. You may be able to win over a qualified candidate by being flexible in customizing a compensation package that appeals to them.

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7. Build a Reputation as a Great Brand to Work for

A great reputation will help you attract great candidates. Take steps to build a reputation as an attractive brand to work for, such as:

  • Creating a company culture that prioritizes employees
  • Offering attractive perks
  • Delivering superior customer service to generate positive referrals
  • Contributing to community causes
  • Monitoring online employee complaints and taking steps to address any underlying causes of grievance

By building a strong reputation, you will draw top talent to you.

8. Review In-House Candidates First

One of the most efficient ways to recruit employees is to nurture your own talent. Before investing in an expensive external talent search, consider candidates who are already working for you.

You can nurture in-house candidates by keeping an eye out for employees with underutilized potential and using mentoring programs to groom them for advancement. Use periodic performance reviews as opportunities to spot rising talent. In some cases, investing in employee upskilling may expand a worker’s skill set so that they are qualified to take on greater responsibility.

9. Ask for Referrals From Workers and Peers

Another shortcut to recruitment is asking for referrals. Your own workers may know qualified candidates from previous positions they held or from other contacts in the industry. Employees who have given notice may know someone who would make a good replacement for them.

Your business peers may also know of qualified candidates. Asking around and putting the word out can uncover excellent hiring opportunities.

10. Include Passive Recruits in Your Talent Search

One of the most creative ways to recruit employees is to take the initiative to seek out qualified workers who aren’t on the job market yet. You can find information about top talent through resources such as:

  • Social media sites
  • Company websites
  • Online resumes
  • Published information about your industry

Once you’ve identified a qualified candidate, you may be able to lure them away from their current employer by extending a better offer. If they’re not currently available, you can ask them to keep you in mind, as well as ask them for referrals to other qualified candidates.

11. Partner With Colleges

Another one of the best tips on recruiting employees is to partner with colleges. Educational institutions can provide a steady source of up-and-coming young talent. A great way to tap into this resource is sponsoring a college intern program. This gives you an opportunity to recruit potential employees and train them on the job while contributing to your community.

Another way to recruit from colleges is by participating in job fairs. This can provide you ongoing access to new, talented workers who are actively seeking employment.

12. Use Smart Digital Recruitment Tools

Using the right technology can make it easier for you to recruit the right employees. Some of the most important ways you can leverage technology include:

  • Using an applicant tracking system (ATS), an app that lets you automate processes such as posting job descriptions and tracking applicants
  • Leveraging social media by using tools such as LinkedIn Recruiter, which lets you filter and contact qualified candidates
  • Posting job openings on your website

Smart use of technology will help you attract top candidates quickly and efficiently. Depending on the scale of your needs, you may wish to invest in a software upgrade so you can make better use of the latest recruitment technology.

Recruiting the Best Employees Promotes More Profitable Business

Knowing how to recruit employees effectively positions you to attract top talent and retain the workers you hire. This promotes higher productivity and saves you money on replacing workers, yielding a more profitable business model.

It’s worth your while to invest in optimizing your recruitment process. If you need to purchase recruitment software or hire a professional recruitment agency, consider tapping into small business financing resources, such as a working capital loan.

Roy is a respected, published author on topics including business coaching, small business management and business automation as well as an expert business plan writer and strategist.
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