To Maximize Recruitment ROI, HR Needs To Adapt to Changing Employment Landscape

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By Caryn Freeman  

Dec. 20 -- In pursuing a successful recruitment strategy, HR must be aware of the changing dynamic between employers and applicants, and what today's job seekers are looking for from an organization, Matt Singer, senior director at recruiting firm Jobvite, said during a Dec. 12 Human Capital Institute webinar.

“In the past, recruiters were really in control,” Singer said. “Job seekers really felt like every opportunity for an interview and chance to speak with a company was something special. Now things have come full circle and it's really about the job seeker.”

Singer noted that today's tech-intensive jobs have workers seeking education and training. “We are seeing a boost in the percentage of those entering the job market with advanced degrees,” he said. “We are also seeing this whole re-learn thing happening.” Workers are looking for companies that offer on-the-job training, or they are returning to school to enhance their skills, according to Singer.

“This shift in the job market has changed how we hire, the types of jobs we are hiring for and the way candidates respond,” he said

A High-Value Function

Correspondingly, Singer said, within the HR department, recruiting has become a high-value function and is now recognized by senior executives as a key role of HR.

Developing a way to use metrics that identify where companies are sourcing applicants and establishing the time it takes per hire are essential, he said. Applicant tracking systems demonstrate to the executive team that recruiters are looking at return on investment and understand their piece of the business in a strategic way, he said.

“Now more than ever recruiters should understand the metrics that matter in an organization so they are able to show ROI and demonstrate how they are able to track progress annually or quarterly,” Singer said.

Companies that aren't strengthening their recruiting strategy are getting left behind and are making a lot of common mistakes, he added.

User-Friendly Sites

Singer said it is important for businesses to have career sites that are user friendly, and have a strategy in place for how to drive traffic to the site and get candidates into the applicant tracking system. “Your organization's career site must be easy to use, with easily accessible application pages,” he said.

“You only have a few seconds to capture a candidate's attention so you really need to be thinking about how you are going to get them into your applicant tracking system and communicate your employment brand and company culture,” Singer said.

One way to do this, Singer said, is to have a career site that is easy to use on mobile devices and only requires a few clicks to arrive at the application page. “Forty percent of job seekers will abandon the site immediately if the site is not optimized for mobile devices and if they aren't able to begin the application process quickly and easily,” he said.

Develop Referral Programs

Another tactic Singer recommends is creating an in-house referral program. “By far referrals are the best way to get ROI from a recruiting standpoint,” he said.

“Statistically, what our data also show is that referral candidates hire 55 percent faster, they stay 15 percent longer and their performance level is 10 percent higher than the average employee,” Singer said. “So the No. 1 thing you should be focused on in 2014, especially if you are trying to make that shift to the strategy side of recruiting, is that you get an in-house referral program in place,” he advised.

Nurturing Recruits

Singer said what we are seeing as a result of all of the changes in the job market is an environment that is really about the candidates' needs rather than the company's.

“The shift in industries has created a more advanced job seeker,” he said. “In this job market, recruiters are going to have to spend more time nurturing candidates through the hiring process than they have had to in previous years.”


To contact the reporter on this story: Caryn Freeman in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at