SmartRecruiters Blog

A Guide To Getting Your 2017 Recruiting Strategy Right

It’s a new year and that means it’s time to learn from the successes and failures of 2016 by setting a fresh strategy for 2017. That means matching what you want to accomplish internally, against possible external market forces like technology shifts, behavioral shifts, supply and demand shifts, and more.

Which of these factors will help or hinder you from reaching your goals? Based on research and feedback from hundreds of SmartRecruiters customers, below are the most important things to consider as you formulate your strategy for 2017:


Markets like stability. The Brexit Vote and The Election of Donald Trump may create uncertainty and volatility in the market. People will wonder what the results from these two unforeseen events will bring. So be prepared to be agile in your strategy. Outlooks will change from month to month and quarter to quarter as businesses try to place their bets accordingly. That might mean hiring spikes in one month followed by quick and reactive slow downs the next. If you’re running recruiting at a multinational company, expect this to be even more pronounced as the European and emerging markets may feel the most impact. 2017 could feel like a rollercoaster ride, so brace yourselves and be prepared to shift at a moment’s notice.


In 2015, they became the largest population in the workforce and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Put aside the cultural differences and understand that this is the first generation of digital natives: they were born connected to the Internet on handheld devices. What this means is that they expect the technology they use in the workplace to be as user friendly as what they use in their personal lives. So when they visit your old career site that doesn’t work on their phone and asks them to spend more than 10 minutes applying to a job… you’ve lost them. Make 2017 the year you closely examine your digital apply experience and make the move to the 21st century.


The drum beat that “recruiting is marketing” has been played for years now but it still seems like only the top 5-10% of recruiting leaders are embracing it. In 2017, venture outside your HR/recruitment world and attend some marketing conferences and webinars to learn from the pros. The world of marketing is moving fast and the cost to play like the big boys is coming down considerably.

Recruiting conferences, while generally pretty good, merely scratch the surface for what’s possible in how you optimize your digital footprint for employer branding and candidate lead generation. The Marketing Insider Group published a great 2017 calendar of marketing events here. Go to at least one of them and then consider the strategies they’re deploying in the context of recruiting, then make a habit of it. You’ll be thankful you did and it will do wonders for your career in the coming decade.


We’re hearing a lot about “hiring manager engagement” these days. Maybe it’s not a surprise given that when Bersin by Deloitte published their “High Performance Talent Acquisition” study in 2014, they found the highest impact on high performance recruiting was collaboration with hiring managers. In fact, it was more impactful than all the remaining findings in their study combined.

In 2017, make a dent in improving how you work with hiring managers, paying special attention to where you can become a strategic advisor rather than an order taker. Strategic advisors educate their hiring managers on the market conditions, where the best talent is, how much they should make, how long it will take to find someone great, etc.

Strategic advisors also hold their hiring managers accountable, so measure their engagement and responsiveness so you can easily and quickly identify where there are bottlenecks. Of course having the right data makes all the difference in the world which brings us to the last point.


It’s common knowledge now that companies that rely on data driven decisions significantly outperform those that don’t. Start off 2017 with a clear idea on what data matters the most to impacting performance and then measure, measure, measure. At a high level, here are some ideas:

  1. Sourcing Analytics: understand in real time what sourcing and marketing channels are working so you can optimize the top of your recruiting funnel.
  2. Pipeline Analytics: understand your process conversion rates and time in stage/step so you can build a predictable and repeatable talent acquisition machine.
  3. Forecasting Analytics: your value is derived from whether jobs are getting filled on time, so that the required employee capacity is in place for the company to hit its goals (this is most obvious in sales recruiting). Understand your hiring plan and how you are performing against that plan in terms of % of fills on time.

I know there are many more than what is listed above, and we’d love to hear what you’re thinking about as you enter 2017. Please share in the comments section below!

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson is the Chief Sales Officer for SmartRecruiters.