If your business is still in its early days, you might not think that building a recruiting team right now is a priority. But as your company grows, so too will your need to have great people hire more great people, to nurture and manage talent pipelines that are hopefully being created.
When companies start out, the existing employees are generally able to handle the initial recruitment of new people themselves, usually with the aid of technology or even by outsourcing the recruitment requirements to dedicated external HR specialists.
But then comes the day when you can’t rely on these methods to turn up top talent any longer.
The company has reached a tipping point: it has a certain number of employees and an ongoing need for new hires. It becomes apparent that the company requires an internal recruitment specialist or an internal recruiting team.
And if you hope to compete in the war for talent, the quality of your recruiting team has to outshine the competition. Remember, the standard of your recruiting team will be a reflection of the company – if you bring in the wrong team, they, in turn, will bring in the wrong employees, resulting in a potential downward spiral of disaster for your company.
So how do you put together this powerful recruiting team, one that reflects the needs of your growing company? How do you know who and how many members this recruiting team needs? How do you motivate members to keep the recruiting fires burning when they are working flat out? How do you ensure your recruiting team has company-wide buy-in to aid in their success?
We have 9 tips to help you build a winning recruiting team.
- Determine which roles you need in your HR department
- Start building your recruiting team
- Build relationships with other departments
- Train the recruiting team and develop necessary skills
- Keep the recruiting team engaged
- Distribute the workload evenly
- Know your team’s strengths and weaknesses
- Measure performance
- Don’t be afraid of innovation
1. Determine which roles you need in your HR department
The number of HR employees to staff members has traditionally followed a standard of one HR member for every 100 full-time employees. However, recent research by SHRM reveals that on average, companies with 1−250 employees have 3.40 staff-to-HR ratio, with this number falling the larger the corporation becomes. So much so, corporates with 1,001−10,000 full-time staff have a 1.03 employee-to-HR ratio.
A larger number of HR staff to employees in smaller organizations might seem a surprising statistic, but in reality, as the company grows the number of HR staff doesn’t increase at the same rate. Hence the drop off in ratio.
In smaller companies, it might be enough to have one HR generalist on board to handle all internal HR needs and recruiting. Smaller companies don’t typically need a dedicated person in HR until the company is usually over 50 employees.
In general, the bigger the HR department, the more specialized roles it encompasses. And in fast-growing companies, recruitment itself becomes a full-time job.
There are many ways you can tackle what kind of recruiter you want to hire: if the company needs a lot of tech people, consider a specialized tech recruiter. In large enterprises, you might start thinking about bringing a sourcer into the team to specialize in finding talent. Or if you want talent to come to you, you might consider hiring an employer branding specialist.
There are no hard and fast rules about who you should hire to kick start your recruiting team.
However, a good rule of thumb, when it’s just you as the sole member of HR, could be to recruit your team like this:
- Hire an HR assistant for your first employee. They handle the day to day stuff, freeing the HR generalist up to deal with the company’s strategic needs.
- Next, bring in a full-time recruiter. After all, if you want to hire the best talent there is, you want someone dedicated to the task.
- From here, hire in specialists to tackle the specific HR functions as necessary.
This is what a 6-person HR department could look like.
2. Start building your recruiting team
If you have a dedicated recruiter, at some point you’ll want to expand them to a dedicated recruiting team. How do you build a strong recruiting team? Picture your dream team if money was no object, and how they might work together:
Your potential dream team members:
- • Sourcers – people who scour the internet and tap up their networks continuously to turn up a constant stream of potential candidates.
- • Junior recruiters – the newbies on the job, the ones who do the initial screening of the potential candidates unearthed by the sourcers. They reach out to make initial contact if required or go through the available data on them.
- • Senior recruiters – senior recruiters take over from the junior recruiters and potentially see the candidates through from screening to interview to hiring.
- • Recruiting coordinators – people who schedule interviews, communicate with candidates; they keep the recruitment process moving.
- • Talent acquisition managers – responsible for closing the deal, for negotiating salaries, discussing the finer points of employment and offering the job.
Recruiting teams comprise different roles in companies in early, expansion and late stages. Companies in the expansion stage usually bring on board a recruiting coordinator to help organize the recruitment process.
3. Build relationships with other departments
No man is an island, and no recruiting team in a large organization should stand alone. The recruiting team is the face of the company; they should have total buy-in from all other departments. How else are they to know what the requirements are or where the talent is lacking or what the job entails otherwise?
To be successful at what they do, the recruiting team has to understand the overall business aims, in order to be able to help the company reach its goals. By growing your recruiting team’s presence in the company, you are doing much more than just building awareness of their function.
How to build relationships with other departments:
- • Set up meetings between your recruiting team and the other departments. How are you going to know what they need, what skills their departments are lacking, what qualities they look for in new team members, if you don’t discuss these requirements with them?
- • Support employee referral programs. By having people other than just your recruiters actively involved in bringing in top talent, you are better placed to actually bring in the best new recruits. 150 people referring potential employees is going to turn up more options than an isolated team of 5.
- ○ Offer cash rewards as incentives
- ○ unusual perks
- ○ gym memberships
- ○ more time off
- ○ whatever it is that motivates your workforce to be more involved in recruitment, give it to them.
- • Broadcast any job requirements far and wide. If you have the whole company open to referring their network to you, let them know what you’re recruiting for: a new member of the marketing team, a software developer, a cybersecurity specialist – and don’t forget to let everyone know why you need this exact person and what is at stake if you don’t find them. Get all employees invested in recruitment and it will benefit not just your recruiting team, but the company as a whole.
4. Train the recruiting team and develop necessary skills
In today’s world of recruitment, there are a vast number of approaches that recruiters can adopt to get the job done. Train your recruiting team for how you want them to carry out the job and develop their skill sets where necessary.
If you don’t train your recruiting team, you will have to make do with what you’ve got. And what you’ve got might not yield the results you want. Sometimes reactive recruitment is necessary, but most of the time you need your recruiters to be proactive and/or interactive in their approaches to finding future employees.
What to teach to your recruiting team:
- • Train your recruiting team to build relationships beyond their current networks.
- • Teach them how to source candidates away from their usual hunting grounds.
- • Show them how to sell your company brand in order to attract the type of people your company needs. Learn from your company sales team – the techniques sales use to sell to customers should be the same techniques your recruiting team uses to sell to potential employees. The company brand is a brand after all.
- • Outline the company culture so your recruiters know what aspects of it are appealing to the right kind of candidates.
- • Never assume that your recruiting team, with access to recruiting tools and software, will know how to wield said tools in order to achieve maximum success; train them to use what you’ve got.
- • But make sure your recruiting team knows not to rely on technology alone, that recruitment needs a human touch too.
5. Keep the recruiting team engaged
Engaged teams perform better. Your recruiting team should know why they’re doing what they’re doing, and they have to feel appreciated while they’re doing it.
If your recruiting team isn’t engaged, you can’t expect them to do their job to the best of their ability, meaning you won’t get the top talent your company needs.
Develop employee engagement strategies and consider setting specific rewards for your recruitment team, the same way a successful sales team earns commission.
Ways to reward the recruiting team:
- • Financial rewards
- • Experience rewards such as lunch with the boss
- • Host a recruiting team lunch or dinner
- • Give out company apparel or branded merchandise
- • Provide educational opportunities or specific career development courses that you wouldn’t normally fund
6. Distribute the workload evenly
Analyze which roles your team is recruiting for are high volume, which are hard to fill, etc. and distribute the workload among the team members.
Realize that if you set a generic open requirement of X number of hires per recruiter without knowing which roles are more troublesome than the others, you’re setting team members up for failure.
Some roles will be easy to fill while others will take longer, and if you’re viewing success as recruiters who get through their open requirements quicker than others, you’re not going to keep your team strong for long.
Distribute work evenly and reward success fairly.
7. Know your team’s strengths and weaknesses
No one recruiter recruits in the same way; each recruiter has their own specific skill set including strengths and weaknesses. Training your team to have the skill set you need them to have mitigates against having a team of poor quality recruiters, but you should harness your team members’ strengths and weaknesses, don’t create a team of identikit recruiters. Embrace diversity.
One recruiter might prefer using social media, while another favors in-person networking, for example. By ensuring your recruiting team is a diverse team with differing talents, will enable a better work environment, which will help you reach your recruitment goals.
8. Measure performance
Establish KPIs for individual team members as well as for the recruiting team as a whole. When you see that the results are not good, analyze why that can be and what you can do to improve it.
Consider building a recruiting dashboard to keep track of how the members of your team are doing and how your team is performing overall. You will gain actionable insights into where you need to improve.
Your dashboard can include a similar chart depicting different stages candidates are at in the recruitment process per role. It will help your team understand what they need to direct their efforts at.
9. Don’t be afraid of innovation
Train yourself and your recruiting team to take risks, to learn from mistakes and to embrace innovation. Treading water doing what you’ve always done is going to see you left behind competitively.
Encourage your team not to fear failure, whether it is adopting new technology, trying new interview techniques or new sourcing channels, don’t be afraid to take a risk. It’s how you’ll get ahead.
A recruitment department is essential in successfully growing a company. That’s why you need to be thoughtful about what roles you’re going to have in your recruitment team, how you’re going to build relationships across all departments and how you’re going to keep the recruitment team productive. Remember that a strong recruitment team strengthens the whole company.