How to Optimize Your Recruitment Process for Better Hires

How can something that seems as simple as matching job seekers with skill sets become a $200 billion-dollar industry? You'd think with all the advances in recruitment technology that a recruitment process is as easy as posting a job description on various social media accounts, job boards, and websites and then watching as the position practically fills itself, right?

There is more to a well-rounded recruitment strategy than that. We're going to share the process as well as the terms and tools required for finding the right candidates for your job vacancy.

Who’s Involved in the Recruitment Process?

The recruitment process is all the steps involved in taking a candidate from a job seeker to a new employee. It’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. The selection process depends on a number of factors, like the size of your company, anticipated salary, culture, company growth, and the current economy. Each of these factors plays a role in determining the hiring process. To simplify it, let's take a look at some of the key stakeholders.

Internal Recruiters

In this scenario, a company has a rolling list of open vacancies so it makes financial sense to have an in-house recruiter or team of recruiters. This scenario is common because it keeps hiring requirements within the team who presumably knows the culture firsthand. The internal recruiter also benefits from employee referrals that they can include as potential candidates. The internal recruiter will work meticulously with the hiring manager and human resources to find the right candidate. 

External Recruiters

Agency recruiters tend to get a bad rap for being too sales-y or revenue-focused but they can act as an incredible resource in the right scenario. A company would be smart to contact an external source for any tough-to-fill or niche positions. The emphasis here is on speed, and yes, it comes at a premium like anything else. 

The beauty of using an external recruiter is that you can pick specialized agencies with a deep pool of candidates who have been pre-qualified through a screening process. If you’re hiring for a particularly technical position, specialized agencies are worth their weight in gold as they cut down on the investment required to attract and test these rare candidates. 

Often external recruiters perform the first interview and then continue to act as a touchstone between the hiring team and their candidate for the duration of the hiring process. 

Human Resources

Unlike the role of recruiter, human resources are a mandatory part of any medium to large organization. The roles of HR and recruiters are often confused but ultimately a human resources professional will hire a recruiter (or work closely with the internal recruiter) to achieve the hire while remaining in a position of seniority. Where recruiters focus on getting top talent into open roles, their responsibility stops there. Human resources, however, are responsible for the new hire for the entirety of their employment. 

When Do Recruiters Enter the Hiring Process? 

Recruitment process: Man looks over resume

By the time an internal or external recruiter enters the scene, a job description has been crafted by human resources and a meeting has happened between the hiring manager and human resources. 

The recruiter enters early on to help develop a recruitment strategy. The most important details they need to know are:

  • The particular skill set and behavioral profile ideal for the role 
  • The budget allocated for the hire
  • The ideal timeframe allocated for the hire

As an integral part of the hiring process, they will head up the screening process, provide a list of qualified candidates for the hiring manager to review, and act as a key contact for the job seeker throughout the application process.

Once an offer letter has been drafted, signed, sealed, and delivered, the recruiter's job is complete. In most cases, it's up to the hiring manager and human resources to manage referencing but occasionally external recruiters may perform some form of this, which is built into their fee.

Some Common Terms 

In keeping with my attempt at simplifying the recruitment process, here's a quick reference of commonly used terms. 


The person who handles the majority of the recruitment strategy, including screening talent, coordinating the logistics of interviews, communicating with candidates as they advance, coordinating all testing, and sending the final job offer.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) 

The software used to track, organize, and manage candidates throughout the hiring process.

Employee Referral Program 

This is when the hiring team puts out a call to the company for referrals for an open position. It's commonly rewarded with an incentive or bonus if the referral is hired.

Hiring Process 

The entire process that extends beyond the recruiter's involvement. It starts with the approval of the role and ends when a job offer has been signed.

Open Positions 

This refers to various job postings that have been made public knowledge via the website or job boards. 


When a member of the hiring team contacts former employers to get an account of the candidate's experience via a series of questions over the phone.

Automated References 

A former employer receives an invitation to answer questions online at their leisure in order to expedite the reference process and collect useful, unbiased data.

Top Talent 

The best candidates that every recruiter is competing for. 

Hiring Manager 

The hiring manager is who the new hire will work for. They work with the recruiter to qualify candidates and with human resources to onboard the new hire.

Fill Time 

How long it takes to get the person in the seat from the job posting to the job offer.

What Makes a Solid Recruitment Process?

Now we have a sense of the bare bones of an effective recruitment process but how do we optimize it for a smooth hiring experience? Recruiting pretty much comes down to these three areas:


The pre-intake is the meeting involving various members of the hiring team who are coming together to understand the most important aspects of the job description. Often the recruiter will guide the hiring manager on crafting a job description. This is quite a big component in hiring the right candidate efficiently. 

Some important points for consideration include:

  • The essential skill sets for the role
  • The range of compensation 
  • Years of experience required 
  • Some form of job analysis that decodes the ideal candidate including background, behavioral profile, work history, and education

From this information, the recruiter will be able to provide the hiring manager with a rough estimate on fill time and candidate availability as well as the cost and recommended compensation. 

Recruiters will also want to confirm how to move the interview process forward and schedule ahead of time to avoid unnecessary lag.

Post-Interview Handoff

Whether working with an internal recruiter or an external source, debriefing post-interview (or handing off) should be handled carefully. Tight communication is required between the recruiter, hiring manager, and human resources. 

While the recruiter often bears the brunt of the work during the recruitment process, hiring managers can help by pre-scheduling regular contact throughout the process with the appropriate members of the hiring team. The more clearly defined the time frames are, the better it will be for the overall hiring process. 

Supportive Tech

To reduce the "too many cooks in the kitchen” effect, it can help to automate aspects of the process by giving all members of the hiring team access to a central applicant tracking system as an effective way to keep everyone on the same page at all stages. 

Using Searchlight helps with unnecessary back-and-forth during the pre-intake and referencing process and provides all team members access to the results via its dashboard. With every member of the hiring team on the same page, it helps reduce email overload and makes gathering data as easy as a few clicks. Forbes reports that using artificial intelligence for HR led Hilton hotels to an 85% increase in speed to hire and other benefits like greater diversity.

A Connected Recruitment Process Means Better Hires

Recruitment process: Hiring team meets together, looking over paperwork

Whether you're working as a close-knit internal team or outsourcing job openings to an external recruiter, those few extra minutes in the day spent preparing can mean a lot for your business. Streamlining communication, relying on the recruitment experts to guide your process, and taking advantage of automation where possible can mean a much more effective hiring process. This leads to the ultimate candidate experience as well as a shiny new hire. 

Take a moment to identify the weak spots in your recruitment process well before you’re down to the wire and watch how it optimizes operations across the board. I hope that I’ve given you ample inspiration on how to take growing your team to the next level.

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