Do You Have a Recruiting Strategy?

Recruiting is not a game of chance

Recruiting strategies vary by target.  For lower level positions, there is usually a larger pool of talent that is easier to find, often because they are actively looking for you.

This the old territory of job boards and contingent recruiters, now upgraded by such technology such as video interviews, SMS messaging and online assessments.

But it is still a reactive process.  When the job becomes open, the employer presses the start button, the candidates pour over the company website and the contingent recruiters throw resumes at the company wall until something sticks.

It’s like the old dating games where you get two minutes to impress each other before moving to the next table to see if you can do better.   Great if you’re running a call centre.

But as a strategy it is worthless.  Particularly if you are looking to fill a more complex role requiring a special degree of skill or leadership capabilities in someone able to impact the performance of your organization.  In that case, if you only start thinking about it when the need arises, you are already behind the eight-ball.  (If you have trouble with that one, find an older guy who used to shoot pool).

This is where you need to have established a Recruiting Strategy.  Check out these 8 Reasons to have a Talent Acquisition Strategy if you are still not convinced.

A Recruiting Strategy does two vitally important things.  It Anticipates the need and it Positions you to meet that need in the manner most likely to achieve success.


We are talking, remember, about high-value positions.  Performance in these positions can be expected to have a greater impact on the organization.  So, when that performance is falling off, or ceases altogether, or new blood is needed for a new project, rapid replacement is imperative.

Not just any replacement. The incoming talent must get up to speed and contribute quickly.  He or she is there to get you to a higher level. That in turn means the more you can anticipate the need for change, the more time you have to find the best talent and the sooner you can install it.

How can you anticipate such action?  A good leader is in constant touch with his or her team – and that trickles down from one leadership level to another.  Your Recruiting Strategy should be built on an intelligence structure that will flag issues early – a section leader talking of another job, a dissatisfied manager, an underperforming regional manager.

The intelligence function should be codified, perhaps through a committee structure that brings together leaders at many levels, specifically tasked with anticipating recruiting implications.

You should also – always – have an updated succession plan.


You cannot recruit strategically without resources.  Unless you are a multi-billion-dollar organization with your own hiring department, that means external resources.

(As an aside: even if you do have your own recruiting resources, they are often successful at lower levels of hire, but inexperienced when it comes to looking for the game-changer)

Of the two major categories of professional recruitment companies only one has value here. (Download our e-book “Retained or Contingency).  Contingency recruiting firms do not have the business model to do anything except fill a vacancy today.  We’re talking about anticipating a vacancy tomorrow.

Your strategy depends heavily on partnering with a qualified, reputable, and preferably global, retained search firm.  These firms have the appropriate business model since they work on a contract to provide the recruiting solution.

 You need to choose carefully because it has to be a partnership and a shared goal.  Engaging others to find that one leader who can make a difference demands a lot of trust. The right partner will know where to search for the positions and skill sets you need.  They will have extensive databanks of “passives” – an undeclared population of qualified professionals who have a current job but who could become interested in the appropriate approach.

They will have the necessary skills, experience and services to deliver a recruiting strategy end-to-end.   In addition to the search function that means in-depth assessment of performance and suitability, integration coaching and on-going, customized career coaching.

Your partner must also be able to work under the radar since you do not want to broadcast your situation to the competition, and/or you may be planning to replace a senior member of the team.

A Recruiting Strategy is not easy to develop, but if you have a leadership team fine-tuned to the difference between satisfactory and exceptional performance and want to keep it that way, anticipating any replacement is a good place to start.

People, not processes, build great companies.  What can be more important than working to ensure the best people are brought in at the right time, in a manner which leads to rapid contribution without the machine missing a beat.


Do you need a Recruiting Strategy? Learn more about our Executive Search Services

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