3 Tips For a Better Recruiting Budget

Three workers sitting around a table discussing budgets and taking notes

A common misconception in recruiting is that budgets are created only once a year. While you might submit a plan on a given day, the legwork that goes into budgeting is ongoing. And it touches all aspects of talent acquisition—from the people doing the work, to the job seekers you’ll eventually hire, as well as how the work gets done.

The goal of your recruiting budget is to maximise your efforts while minimising dollars spent. The outcome corresponds directly with your people, process and product and how well these things work together—so how can you budget more effectively all year long?

Here are three tips to help you get started:

Determine your human needs

Budget-wise, people represent a huge variable — both those you employ and those you’re looking to recruit. Before creating this line item, you need to make a few key decisions: How will you be hiring? How many hires will you need to make over the next 12 to 18 months? Will you rely solely on an internal team, or will you outsource to a staffing agency? If both, how will you divide that spend?

These are big questions to answer; ultimately, they depend on the size of your company and your organisational objectives. You’ll also need to determine whether you have the right people in place on your existing team to help grow your workforce.

For example, according to SHRM, most recruiters average 30 to 40 open requisitions at a given time. If you need to make 1,000 hires in the first half of the year, but only half of your current recruiters can handle such a sizeable workload, it might be time to add to your team (another budgetary concern).

Refine your recruiting process

After you’ve determined your people landscape, it’s time to focus on your processes. That means figuring out what to stop, start and continue doing. Change is constant when people are your business, and it can be hard to analyse your processes when you’re steeped in them.

Given the personal nature of work, it can also pay to bring in third-party support. This gives you the opportunity to evaluate and improve your processes without offending anyone. Otherwise, you run the risk of disenfranchising ‘Tom’ when you dismantle his onboarding process, or ‘Jen’ when you overhaul her interviewing matrix. Factoring third-party help into your budget helps you stay optimised and up to date, without having to reallocate funds later to fix things.

Whatever approach you choose, ensure you fully understand the inputs, outputs, throughputs and bottlenecks in each moment of your recruiting process — down to the micro-moments that make or break the candidate experience. This line of sight lets you think outside the box, reconfigure what needs immediate attention, and stay attuned moving forward.

Reevaluate your technology

When budgeting around your tech stack, remember that technology exists to help humans. If and when it stops helping, it’s time to make a change. You’re not married to any one technology, despite what the contract might say. If there’s a solution on the market that is better and cheaper than the one you’re currently using, it’s worth exploring.

Keep in mind that there isn’t one perfect applicant tracking system (ATS); rather, there’s the ideal ATS for you and your organisation right now. That doesn’t mean it will be the ideal one forever—but by including tech needs in your budget, you get to reconsider all aspects of recruiting when the time comes to revise it.

When evaluating your tech spend, work your way through the various technologies to find out which ones are actually being used by the team. Do you rely on all solutions equally? Do some carry more weight than others? Does each perform to the best of its ability? Technology often becomes disposable without constant innovation, but that’s your vendors’ responsibility—not yours. There are line items in every recruiting budget that go underutilised, so don’t feel bad when you discover dust accumulating on a few.

Budgeting effectively requires ongoing introspection and analysis on the part of the organisation. But by planning ahead, you can ensure goals are met throughout the year—not just at the end of the financial year.

William Tincup is the President of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. Find him online Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Indeed.

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