Creating a recruitment plan from scratch
Given that recruitment activities take place throughout the year and may involve many individuals, trying to coordinate all your efforts can be a challenge – and it can be tricky to know where to start.
A recruitment plan is a roadmap that outlines and describes your district’s recruitment goals, what activities you’ll undertake to reach those goals, and how everyone on your team will be involved.
Why you need a recruitment plan
A recruitment plan allows you to take a proactive approach to planning rather than scrambling to fill vacant positions.
When you’re guided by a plan, your actions will be more focused and deliberate, and as a result, you’re more likely to fill your vacancies sooner than later. In a nutshell, a recruitment plan:
- keeps you organized so you’re not simply reacting at the last minute to fill vacancies,
- identifies and describes the strategies and tactics you’re using, which you can fine tune to make future efforts more effective,
- ensures you’re investing your time and money wisely to achieve a specific goal,
- helps you manage your recruitment budget and
- provides evidence to management and the board that you’re being strategic in your work.
A six-step recruitment plan
We’ve put together a simple six-step framework for creating a recruitment plan. It involves:
Understanding your current workforce
How well do you know the employees in your organization? How many employees typically leave in a year? How many employees are nearing retirement age?
The first step in developing a recruitment plan is getting a better understanding of your current workforce. It also helps to have a sense of your district’s historical employment trends (you might be able to get this data from your HRIS system or EDAS (BCPSEA’s Employment Data and Analysis System).
A good place to start is by looking for answers to these questions:
- What demographic trends can you identify in your current workforce?
- What are your employees’ goals and motivations right now and in the near future? For example, are they planning to retire? Wanting to transfer schools? Taking a leave of absence or reducing their FTE?
- How do you gather this information? Are there specific times of the year that employees inform you about their plans, such as if they’re retiring or coming back next year?
- How many employees are on leave, and how many plan on returning to work?
- How many teachers are on the on-call list? How many of these teachers are willing or capable of taking on full-time or part-time assignments when they arise?
Identifying your staffing needs
In this step, you’re estimating your future staffing needs. You can use the demographic data you gathered when assessing your current workforce to estimate how many staff are planning to retire or transfer out of your district.
You may also want to consider student enrollment in your district. Are your schools offering new programming like early French immersion, which may be drawing students from other districts? What about your on-call teacher pool or your anticipated failure-to-fill days? How do these affect your staffing needs?
Setting your goals
A good understanding of your workforce and staffing needs can tell you how many employees you need to hire, when you need to hire them, and what specific positions need to be filled. A firm grasp of these needs will help you define your recruitment goals.
When setting goals, you may find that using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Timely) framework helpful when defining your goals.
An example of a SMART goal is “Recruit three French immersion teachers from career fairs in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec by April 30, 2019 to fill anticipated vacancies occurring the next school year.”
Developing and implementing strategies
Now that you’ve set your SMART goals, figure out the strategies you’ll implement to reach your goals. When devising your strategies, think about the six stages of the candidate journey – the process by which a candidate first hears of your district through to when they are hired – and determine what strategies you have in place for each stage.
- Identify the recruitment strategies you plan to use to raise awareness of your district and its job openings and target ideal candidates.
- Develop a recruitment schedule based on the time you think you’ll need to implement the recruitment plan – from developing job postings to notifying the successful candidates that they have a position in your district.
The articles on the BC Education HR Portal offer many practical ideas for recruiting candidates at each stage of their candidate journey – from building your brand as an employer to writing compelling job postings and attending career fairs.
You’ll also want to decide how you want to measure your success at implementing these strategies and reaching your hiring goals. For example, you may discover that you’re not receiving as many applications as you were a few years ago and not as many as neighbouring districts. Your goal may be to increase the average number of applications per posting. To gauge the effectiveness of your strategy in getting more applications, you may want to track the number of applications you receive for each position as a success measure.
Once you’ve established baselines for your data, you can track and record the outcomes of your strategies to determine if your strategies are working. For example, you could track source of hire—that is, the recruitment channel or source through which your hires come from. When you review this metric, you may notice that attending career fairs at universities in smaller communities yields more hires than events in major cities. As a result, you may want to adjust your recruitment strategy to focus more on smaller universities.
Organizing all your data
Tracking data from a variety of sources can get complicated, which is why you want to develop a data collection and analysis framework.
You’ll want to establish a system to collect, categorize, analyze and report data on key metrics. Programs like Microsoft Excel can be used for this task, or you may want to consider an enterprise HRIS system if you need more features to track your large workforce.
Many of these software programs have built-in features to collect and analyze data for the purpose of recruitment and managing employee data. A simple Google search will reveal many options at different price points that might suit your district’s specific needs– from tracking applicants through to maintaining employee data. If you’re still unsure, call your neighbouring districts to see what system they use.
Measuring, reassessing and re-evaluating strategies
It’s good practice to regularly step back to evaluate the outcomes of your recruitment strategies. This will help you see trends in your recruitment efforts and reveal which strategies and tactics work and which don’t.
For example, you may want to examine how your strategies affected the following:
- Were you able to fill positions? How long did it take? How much did it cost?
- How many positions remain unfilled? And why?
- What could you do better during your next major recruitment cycle?
While there are certain times of the year where you will be more actively recruiting, a recruitment plan is an active process that grows and evolves over time. Repeat the cycle throughout the year as you engage in ongoing recruitment efforts, improve on current strategies, try out new approaches – and commit to always monitoring and reviewing the data.
- Read more about the candidate journey and how it applies to your recruitment process.