Business-driven recruiting - the Holy Grail to rule them all?

April 13, 2021

We vouch in the name of business-driven recruiting: setting up your recruitment function as a crucial growth enabler, not an overlooked support function. Without a business-driven recruitment approach, we believe companies cannot retain on a sustainable growth track. To set our approach in the right context, let’s quickly go through what business-driven recruiting most certainly is not.


NOT business-driven recruiting: recruitment as a passive support function

In many companies, recruitment is often - wrongly - seen as a passive function with no business utility. Recruiters are blamed for having a pointed fixation to slow processes. So hiring managers prefer to recruit their own staff, instead, with “minimal effort”. Worst case: to save time, the published job description is based on the previous application round - 10 years ago. Updates mean adding a few current demands to the already looong list.

Surprise! The market has changed in ten years, and recruitment fails. The hiring manager is upset (no one applied!), the recruiters are upset (they were not informed and their process has been violated!), the candidates (if any) are upset (poor process, no communication!) and no one has been hired. Now the hiring manager is in a rush, and hires an external recruitment provider to handle the job. 20 000 € and 2 months later, they have a new quality employee - and next time, they will go directly to the recruitment consultant. An expensive spiral is ready.

“New hires often come as a surprise to HR. Some managers ask for help, but most just drop off the signed employment contract. Our recruiters feel frustrated and have no ways to control our candidate experience - and still get the blame when something goes wrong.”

NOT business-driven recruiting: recruitment as a link between business and candidates

In other companies, recruiters have a little more leeway. They have proven their value in finding and hiring the right candidates, and the recruiting experience is consistent and pleasant for both hiring managers and candidates.

But: recruiting is still considered a support function, not the business-crucial enabler it is, and recruiters feel the pressure mount up on their back.

When recruiting is not steadily linked to current business needs, the company typically suffers from several clear symptoms: a chronic rush with hires, increasing recruitment costs, high recruiter turnover, several unfilled positions, understaffed projects… 

In short: predicting talent needs is difficult or impossible.

Sure, these companies have superficial hiring targets (“we need 20 FTE more this year”) and some teams might even have a good understanding of their talent gap based on potential resignations or clear project needs. But more often than not, these targets are based on growth goals, guesses, wishes or revenue target calculations (not actual, predictable needs).


“Our recruiting is mostly good, but we are constantly faced with panic recruitments and other ad hoc tasks. We are struggling to keep up with changing plans and hiring needs.”


What does business-driven recruitment look like, then?


Business-driven recruiting: recruitment as a crucial growth enabler

Business-driven recruiting teams might feel like they have found the Holy Grail. And looking for it takes hard work.

When recruiting is seen as a Crucial Growth Enabler - that it is - hiring teams and recruiters work together towards a common goal: growing teams. From talent need predictions to recruitment planning to actual hiring decisions, the teams work in unison to find, attract and hire the right talent.


Sounds simple? It is not, and it takes a lot of work to get here.

Business-driven recruiting is first and foremost a mental shift: in successful companies, recruiting is a management priority, whose success has been invested in heavily. The investment is rewarded with constantly improving results and growing teams.

Secondly, predictive planning requires accurate data sets with actionable insights and flags to guide proactive actions.

Collecting comprehensive quality data can take years, and will take months, at least. Understanding what the data is telling us will take some serious probing, too. With poor, spotted data, “insights” are guesses, at best.

Thirdly, success comes from consistent and continuous action. An intensive project-type approach will get you a flying start, but a permanent shift in working ways closes the deal.

True business-recruiter collaboration requires two-way respect, continuous iteration and trusted knowledge sharing (think: hiring needs, predicted resignations, candidate pool creation, confidential project plans, sales estimates…), which take time to be formed.

After all, no approach is a divine solution to all problems, but business-driven recruiting might be the next best thing: the best currently available approach.


“We understand our company’s business priorities and targets and know how to predict talent needs from our organisation’s different signals.”


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