When you speak to most in-house recruiters they will tell you that their day to day concerns are time to hire and cost of hire. These are not strategic recruitment objectives however – they are just a reaction to the demands of the business to fill seats and do it at the lowest possible cost.
So what is strategic recruiting? It’s probably best summarised as “using recruitment to deliver business objectives”. I am arguing that although reducing cost of hire should increase profit and satisfy the key objective of most companies (which is to deliver returns to shareholders) in fact it could be reducing long-term returns if the people hired are not the right fit.
The starting point for a recruitment strategy has to be the business objectives, and using these to determine what candidates are most likely to fulfil these objectives. For example if your company prides itself on customer service, you need to hire people that have those skills not just in customer service roles, but also in support roles – so they provide excellent service to their internal customers and the company lives and breathes the customer service ideal.
So the objectives drive your definition of what a great hire looks like for your organisation – which should be different to what would make a great hire for another company, or even your competitors. A good strategy gives you a point of differentiation from the other players in the market – and this should be reflected in your employer brand and your employee value proposition (which is the rewards and benefits employers can offer an employee in return for his productivity).
A good strategy has to be measurable: otherwise there is no way of knowing if you are achieving it or not. I suspect this is the reason why cost of hire and time to hire are so commonly key objectives for recruitment departments. They are easily measured, and what is measured is generally what is managed. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be measured, but they are secondary concerns. Make sure you are hiring the people that will deliver your objectives first, that they fit your company’s definition of ‘great’. Then make sure you are delivering that at the lowest possible cost, and at the greatest possible speed.
So what can you measure? Some of the key things that would show you are doing a good job would be performance reviews, retention rates, and employee satisfaction. If you are not being measured on these factors, get the data and report it. If you get managed on what is measured, you can influence your objectives by controlling the information you report.