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Improving recruitment and selection: A guide for hiring teams

Your recruitment process is likely the first touchpoint that a candidate has with your organisation, and their experience is being shaped from this point. 

Our guide takes a look at the context of the challenges you may be facing within your hiring teams, and suggests strategies to help you improve the recruitment and selection process in HRM.

12 minutes

Written by The Access Group

Adam is an experienced Human Resources & Software consultant working with HR and Payroll specialists in all sectors. Adam supports customers to understand and leverage technologies that help them improve people processes and inform decision-making, ensuring they're able to demonstrate the strategic value of HR and how it can contribute to the bottom line. Adam has particular expertise in helping organisations improve the candidate experience, and demonstrate ROI from their recruitment and selection process.

By Adam Barrett

HR and Payroll Solution Specialist

Adam is an experienced Human Resources & Software consultant working with HR and Payroll specialists in all sectors. Adam supports customers to understand and leverage technologies that help them improve key people processes and inform decision-making, ensuring they're able to demonstrate the strategic value of HR and how these things can contribute to the bottom line. 

What is recruitment and selection? 

Recruitment and selection are two essential HR processes that involve attracting and hiring the right candidates in the right roles.  

Around three quarters (76% percent) of hiring managers say that hiring the right candidates is their greatest challenge right now. Additionally, things like candidate sourcing, hiring freezes, skills gaps, talent shortages, burned out employees and pressure to control costs amidst economic difficulties is leading to the need to build more resilience into recruitment and selection methods. 

Your recruitment process is likely the first touchpoint that a candidate has with your organisation, and their experience is being shaped from this point. With 4 in 5 (80%) candidates who experience an unsatisfactory recruitment process saying they openly tell others about it, a poor experience means you may not just lose one potential candidate, but deter others from applying in future. 

Our guide takes a look at the context of the challenges you may be facing within your hiring teams, and suggests strategies to help you improve the recruitment and selection process in HRM. 

By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce

The context 

The recruitment landscape is changing further. Millennials are set to make up three quarters (75%) of the workforce by 2025, and with this comes the need to ensure that recruitment methods are designed to attract them. The current workforce also includes a growing number of Gen Zers, who aren’t just as tech savvy and connected as the Millennial generation, but will be expecting the tech they use to search for, and apply for jobs, to reflect the technology they use day-to-day. This diverse workforce represents an exciting opportunity for organisations to leverage the varied skills and experience available when it comes to recruitment and selection. Understanding what motivates your workforce is essential to attracting candidates from a diverse talent pool, and ensuring you can help maximise their effectiveness as employees and potential leaders.  

Take a look at our recruitment software for HR professionals

Our HR and Payroll specialist Adam Barrett recently spoke about the importance of ensuring a return on investment is made from your applicant tracking system:

Register here to watch the full webinar and be kept up to date about future webinars

What is the difference between recruitment and selection? 

The difference between recruitment and selection is in the process. Recruitment is the proactive process of identifying, attracting and sourcing the best candidates to fill vacancies. The ultimate goal of recruitment is to build a diverse talent pool for selection.  

Whereas selection is the process of assessing and choosing the right candidates for a role during the recruitment phase. Selection involves a series of steps which may include looking at qualifications, skills, experience, cultural fit and other interview criteria to find the best match for your job requirements and your organisation’s values.  

76% of hiring managers say hiring the RIGHT candidates is their greatest challenge

The impact of poor recruitment and selection processes 

The process of recruitment and selection is an important one within the HR function, and is responsible for reducing attrition, improving retention and cutting or optimising recruitment costs. 

Research shows that around 1 in 5 new hires are either a bad fit for the organisation that employed them or they regretted their decision within the first 18 months resulting in lack of productivity and lost revenue. In addition, the total cost of replacing an employee is often the equivalent to 6-9 months of their salary.

There are also intangible effects to unfilled vacancies too. From the additional workload and pressures put on the wider team expected to deliver the same amount of work with fewer people, potentially leading to reduced engagement and increased frustration. Longer term, there are risks of employee burnout, wellbeing issues and ultimately a snowball effect in turns of employee turnover to consider. In critical areas like customer service, having unfilled vacancies or wrongly filled roles can lead to poor service, reduced sales, and ultimately loss of reputation and revenue.  

All of these things can lead to organisations becoming more vulnerable, opening up the potential for competitors to take advantage of the weakness or gap in the market.  

92% of candidates have experienced poor recruiting practices

Why is recruitment and selection important? 

With budgets being tighter than ever, HR will need to be able to show ROI on recruitment strategies. When done right, recruitment and selection can contribute to organisational success with a positive impact on productivity, team dynamics and improving cost per hire. Smart recruitment technologies help employers to hire the right candidates more efficiently, speeding up ROI from recruitment efforts. Here are some reasons why recruitment and selection is important: 

  • Right hire, right time 

With more control of your recruitment and selection process, you can start making better decisions. With the right technology, you can ensure you keep all candidate's data stored securely and in one place giving you total visibility of recruitment and hiring.  Applicant tracking systems allow you to continually improve your hiring processes, with tools such as screening, questionnaires and evaluations to make better hiring decisions. With advanced reporting, you can continually develop on your hiring decisions, increasing efficiencies and ensuring you hire the right people in the right roles.

Take a look at our article on choosing the right applicant tracking system for your business.

60% of candidates quit in the middle of filling out job applications because they’re too long

  • Reduce time to hire 

This is a major KPI for our customers.  This involves being able to reduce bottlenecks in the recruitment process. Many hiring managers don’t know how long their average process is from requisition to employment. An applicant tracking system or recruitment software helps to gather this data and help set KPIs, reviewing where your bottlenecks are and where you can reduce the time to hire. Additionally, with integrated onboarding software, you can shorten a new employee’s time to productivity as well as helping them feel engaged from the start. 

  • Reduce cost to hire 

If you’ve got the right data, you can see where you’re investing your recruitment budgets – from agencies to job boards so you can see where you can cut back or invest more, driving greater efficiencies. 

72% of candidates share their bad interview experiences with others

What are some recruitment and selection methods? 

Ultimately,  strong employer brand,  a competitive candidate package and a culture of reward and recognition are all good methods for improving recruitment and selection processes. These methods act as a win-win, supporting retention strategies too.

Our HR and Payroll specialist Adam Barrett recently spoke about how it's important for applicant tracking systems to meet both candidate and organisation needs:

Register here to watch the full webinar and be kept up to date about future webinars

Take a look at some more recruitment and selection methods: 

  • Define your culture and build your employer brand 

An employer brand refers to the perception that current employees and potential candidates have of your organisation. It’s how you market your company to jobseekers, how you present externally, and how you respond to those who leave reviews. Companies with a weak employer brand spend almost twice as much on cost per hire than those with a strong employer brand. 

Company culture is often what makes up an employer brand and can be as important to your candidates as salary. 72% of candidates say they need to understand the work culture, before they will accept an offer. 

A successful employer brand will usually have achieved this by turning employees into advocates. 

Our article ‘Top strategies to attract the best talent’ looks at how to implement effective employer branding in more detail.  

  • Highlight and welcome diversity 

Diversity and inclusion is a big priority in recruitment and selection. More organisations are beginning to invest in strategies and technology to support their efforts and ensure they’re hiring talent from a range of backgrounds and at all levels of seniority.  

According to one report, diverse companies are likely to outperform non-diverse companies on profitability. This is likely due to the variety of viewpoints, creativity, problem-solving ability and range of perspectives that diversity brings. It undoubtedly helps with employer branding and developing culture too. To reap the benefits of a diverse workforce, employers must ensure that their recruitment strategies are designed to reach candidates regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or socio-economic background. Whilst most organisations recognise the importance of a diverse workforce, it’s likely that many still lack the ability to ensure diverse hiring is occurring within the recruitment and selection process. 

  • Promote your flexible workspace 

With remote and flexible working now commonplace in many industries, we’ve seen a shift when it comes to the range of geographical regions of applicants. Remote working has now extended the talent pool for many in traditional ‘white collar’, office based jobs. Research shows that the ability to offer flexible working has helped support diverse recruitment with the ability to attract and retain talent in underrepresented groups. 

This shift however is leading to increased competition in some sectors, with the volume of applicants per role in some industries being at a record high. Those applying for jobs are competing with not only those in their own region, but with professionals with similar skills around the country. Having easier and more automated ways to sort through CVs is important to be able to identify talent more quickly. 

  • Display learning and development opportunities  

Career progression is important to all, but in particular with Millennials who, according to research would rather work for a company offering better development opportunities, than those offering an initially attractive salary. Job hopping is increasing amongst the younger working population too, so not having a strong culture of learning or opportunities for progression could also impact retention too, impacting your overall cost per hire. 

So how are you enabling employees to progress; what training do you offer them? If learning culture is strong, encourage employees to share their stories and experiences externally. 

  • Offer employee benefits 

Employee benefits like salary sacrifice schemes, lifestyle and discount benefits and financial or health and wellbeing benefits can help differentiate you from your competition during the recruitment process. If it comes down to a similar rate of pay for a similar role (assuming you’re benchmarking your roles against similar sized businesses in your industry), whether your candidate accepts or not, could be down to the additional benefits you offer.  

For many hourly-rate staff  dealing with cost of living increases, it may be helpful for them to be able to pull down their income as they’re earning it. Offering a way to access earned pay, on-demand at a time of real need, could be a key differentiator from the competition and also supports the financial wellbeing of employees.  

  • Recognise and reward employees 

Demonstrating to candidates that your organisation recognises and appropriately rewards employees is becoming a key differentiator in the hiring process. Recognition and reward is no longer just about bonuses, but about acknowledging the work of employees and developing a culture of engagement which can also act as a strong recruitment tool.  

  • Improve onboarding  

Better, more efficient onboarding can save on recruitment and selection costs as well as improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by 70%. HR can leverage onboarding technologies to help create a positive, unique and memorable candidate experience from the start of an employee’s journey and help them hit the ground running.  

  • Targeted recruitment outreach 

An effective recruitment and selection strategy needs goals in order to effectively measure ROI of your recruitment efforts to demonstrate business impact and measure improvement. 

Tracking your recruiting ROI not only provides measurable milestones for your team, but also helps to increase business impact and prove the value of recruitment to senior leadership. 

Having recruiting data within a unified platform allows you to get richer insights to make more informed decisions that deliver more predictable hiring results. So if you can see where you're performing best with regards to the job boards you use for finding the best candidates for example, you can invest your money in the right areas.  

These actionable reports ensure better visibility, smarter automation, and also a faster time to hire. It also allows you to spot any bottlenecks in your recruitment processes in order to improve them. 

  • HR software with integrated recruitment and selection tools 

Having the right HR technology has become the leading step in effectively driving recruitment strategies. Cloud-based HR software allows us to engage with a workforce that is now anywhere and everywhere, and needing information at their fingertips.  

Integrated, automated software, along with the ability to work on a unified platform, has made adapting to new ways of working and collaboration faster and easier. It's all about making things simple, fast, transparent and organised to improve the candidate experience and enhance the quality of an end-to-end recruitment and selection process. 

Using recruitment software can transform the way that organisations hire, saving a lot of time. The benefits, such as the tools in PeopleXD, are in things like the ability to post job descriptions, linking through to the applicant tracking system, with push notifications to internal job boards or external aggregators like LinkedIn. Tools like this help reduce the cost of using recruitment agencies, whilst speeding up time to hire and driving faster ROI.

Candidates spend an average of 3-4 hours submitting a single job application

Ensuring you have a careers portal which is mobile friendly is more important than ever, with the majority of Millennials applying for jobs on their phones. Ensuring you have a consumer grade app will drive the kind of candidate experience that Millennials and other potential candidates are looking for.  

Integration between HR systems, rather than a siloed application for recruitment, is now also part of successful recruitment and selection. As your candidates are applying on your applicant tracking system, for example, their data can integrate directly through into your other HR systems, meaning when you're ready to onboard them, you already have their baseline information. With this, you can automatically send out requests for screening, emergency contact details or push out mandatory training, policies and other information to candidates once they’ve accepted a role to help them get ‘day-one’ ready, capturing all relevant details in one integrated online portal.  

In summary, technology modernises the overall recruitment and selection process. Creating a positive candidate experience gives organisations a much better chance to attract and retain talent. In today's competitive marketplace, it’s all about building a workplace where people thrive, working on the right things at the right time for the right reasons, and giving back maximum ROI for the business and stakeholders.  

Discover how recruitment and selection can integrate with HR software

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