Are your company's recruitment efforts strategic?


Employees are frequently the key to success for any organization—whether a single-location independent distributor or a multi-branch, multi-state conglomerate. Human resource managers and recruiters are under great pressure to attract and hire the best talent.


Recruiting also directly impacts the bottom line. A 2016 study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that the average cost per hire was $4,129. The same study found that the average time it took to fill a position was 42 days. So, for every day hiring is delayed, it costs the company $98. 

Unfilled positions, ineffective hires, and high turnover rates not only costs the company money, it reduces an organization’s ability to achieve its goals.  

Recruiting the right employees can be difficult and time-consuming. Ineffective recruiting practices result in applicants who are unqualified, lack diversity and are less likely to stick around if hired—and often excludes highly qualified candidates who weren’t aware of openings. 

So how do you increase your odds for success? It starts with a plan and strategy. Rather than using the same strategies for every position, and the same tactics you’ve always used, think more strategically. What does it mean to be “strategic”? It means identifying a problem or challenge, and systematically developing a solution to solve it. Following is an overview this process.

  1. Establish recruitment objectives.

Align recruitment objectives with the strategic objectives, mission, and values of the organization. If customer service is a high priority, stress this in the job description and interviews. If innovation and problem-solving skills are paramount, make that clear in the job description and interviews. 

Also, make your objectives very specific regarding the number of open positions, deadline for filling them, cost per hire, desired number of applicants, type of applicants desired (e.g. education, work experience, skills and abilities), job performance goals, and expected retention rates.

  1. Develop a targeted recruitment strategy for a diverse and balanced team.

Start by identifying characteristics of existing, good employees. Note the qualities and skills they have in common, and where they are lacking. Look for similar employees who can fill the gaps in your existing team. 

Focus on those who already have some exposure to and ideally a positive opinion of the company. This may include previous applicants, former employees, temporary employees, interns, current customers, and social media followers.  

Military veterans bring a blend of job skills that include leadership, discipline, and pressure-based decision-making. provides information, resources and events to connect employers with high quality veteran talent. 

Be aware of EEO laws, implement practices designed to widen and diversify the pool of candidates, and ensure selection criteria do not disproportionately exclude certain racial groups. 

Consider the value of older workers. In addition to having desirable job-related knowledge, they’re often willing to work part time and don’t need health insurance if they qualify for Medicare. Partner with AARP or other senior organizations, visit senior community centers, or post job notices in retirement communities.

  1. Follow these best practices when implementing your strategy.

Make it easy to apply. If you’re using an online form, offer the option of copying and pasting a full resume or parts of a resume. For example, if the website is too complicated or not functional, potential candidates will leave. And an inefficient application process makes a negative first impression. 

In the interview, be realistic about job expectations, treat the interviewee with respect, and of course, be professional in appearance and demeanor. Then, show your interest in viable candidates by following up shortly after the interview with an email, letter or phone call.  

Good candidates get hired quickly. By avoiding lengthy recruitment cycles and making hiring decisions promptly, you’ll avoid losing potential good employees to other employers.

  1. Measure results and evaluate the effort (refer to objectives) so you can learn from past efforts and modify your approach for the future.

Based on your objectives, did you get the number of applications you expected? If you’ve tracked the recruitment tools you used, which ones yielded the most qualified and desirable applicants? (Keep them in your strategy for next time.) What was the overall cost per hire? Did you meet your goal for the recruitment process? How long was the recruitment process? Was it too long, potentially resulting in lost hiring opportunities. Was the hiring manager satisfied with the process and the results? 

These are just a few of the questions you should ask at the conclusion of every hiring process.

  1. Report to management the impact of effective recruiting on the bottom line.

When recruiting strategies are successful, the company’s expenses are reduced through more timely searches, higher retention rates, and high-performing employees. This directly impacts the bottom line and may help HR win more support for its efforts.  


Developing an effective recruitment strategy takes a little time and expertise, but the company will be rewarded with more loyal, productive, and engaged team members. 

The NAED's Education & Development Council (EDC) has created a suite of downloadable toolkits that are available here. Look here for more recruitment best practices, candidate tip sheets, and a recruitment video that you can show candidates or play at job fairs. You’ll also find onboarding guides plus helpful links to other resources for workforce training.  


Schedule a consultation by clicking the button below and we can assist in developing your plan.


  • Share:
Michelle McNamara

Michelle McNamara

Michelle McNamara is the COO of the NAED and the Executive Director of the NAED Education and Research Foundation. In her dual roles, McNamara is responsible for implementing strategic plans to further the mission of NAED and the Foundation. Prior to 2011, she was the Vice President of NAED and the Executive Director of the NAED Foundation where she was responsible for program and project execution including direct management of multiple departments and fundraising. McNamara joined NAED in 1998 to manage educational events. McNamara began her non-profit career with The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).