chapter two

Principles of Hiring Success

Hiring Success: the ability to attract, select, and hire the best talent for any role, on demand and on budget.

What is Hiring Success? It’s a straightforward concept that is driving a movement in the talent acquisition space. It’s defined as the ability to attract, select, and hire the best talent for any role, on demand and on budget.

Companies that have experienced this routinely excel in delivering three outcomes, which we refer to as the principles behind Hiring Success: a compelling candidate experience, engaged hiring managers, and productive recruiters.

Compelling Candidate Experience

Qualified candidates suffer no lack of job opportunities. In many respects, they’re similar to prospective customers with buying power and plenty of options. These consumers aren’t just looking for a product or job, they’re searching for a delightful experience. What differentiates the former from the latter is a holistic, engaging journey from source-to-hire, and in order for recruiters to provide a compelling candidate experience, they need to think and behave like marketers.

Organizations that offer a compelling candidate experience—one in which a candidate’s time is valued and their needs transparently addressed —fare better not only in terms of hiring, but also brand reputation.

Research from the Talent Board shows that almost 50% of candidates won’t support a business or recommend their products if they had a negative experience during the recruiting process.

This means that a bad candidate experience poses three potential threats to your company: losing the talent it needs to succeed, losing credibility, and losing revenue.

The following points are essential components of any successful candidate-centric marketing strategy:


  • An Authentic Voice & Brand:

    Candidates today care a great deal about a corporation’s purpose, culture and the impact they can make. Companies must market why people should join them in an enticing but genuine manner.


  • Ease to Express Interest / Connect:

    It must be incredibly easy for candidates to connect with and apply for positions on any device they choose. The days of tedious, time-consuming application forms are long gone.


  • Speed & Ownership of Responses:

    We live in a world of short attention spans. Candidates expect timely responses at each stage of their interactions with the company and recruiters. Long periods of silence won’t be tolerated and will be shared on social media.


  • Structured Process & Discussions:

    Candidates want their time to be respected and to very clearly understand where they stand in the hiring process. Companies must have well defined hiring processes with the right number of interviewers and clear next steps.

Engaged Hiring Managers

According to recent findings from Josh Bersin, collaboration between recruiting and hiring managers is the number one indicator of high performance talent acquisition. Hiring is a team sport that requires participation from multiple stakeholders, especially hiring managers. It’s only logical that the team a candidate will potentially work with should also be involved in the hiring process.

SmartRecruiters research shows that hiring managers respond, on average, 53% faster to interview or review requests when they’re included and engaged throughout the hiring process. The ideal recruiter/hiring manager partnership can be broken down into four guiding principles:


  • Ideal Candidate Profile / Process:

    Hiring managers must define, with their recruiting peers, the job description and the ideal candidate profile (skills and past experiences) as well as the actual hiring process and evaluators involved.


  • Structured Review Scorecard:

    Hiring managers and recruiters establish a clear evaluation scorecard to be used by all members of the interview team to ensure a fair, structured and timely hiring decision.


  • Effective Communication Transition:

    There is clear ownership of candidate communication for each stage of the recruiting funnel, with hiring managers owning this once candidates have been interviewed.


  • Ownership & Communications:

    Hiring managers must own the final decision on whether to hire / pass on a candidate. As soon as decisions are made, they must be communicated quickly and clearly, especially if the answer is a NO. Hiring managers must close the YES candidates.

Productive Recruiters

There’s a widespread misconception that recruiting is an embedded part of the human resources department. In reality, the responsibilities of recruiters are categorically different from those of their colleagues in HR. At most organizations, the recruiting team is the only group of people dedicated to connecting and reeling in the next great infusion of talent.

Talent acquisition teams that are highly productive operate more like sales and marketing teams that are focused on building a qualified pool of talent that they can nurture and engage on a regular basis. Best-in-class recruiting teams exhibit the following five attributes:


  • Sales & Marketers:

    Great recruiters can effectively build talent pipelines, nurturing programs, and identify sourcing channels with the highest yield and optimize resources accordingly. Most of all, they can close candidates and convert them into new hires.


  • Strong Command of Data & Priorities:

    Great recruiting teams know “their numbers” and leverage them to not only prioritize tasks across the hiring spectrum, but also provide accurate hiring forecasts to the business.


  • Amazing Communicators:

    The best teams understand how to personally connect to and reel in talent while communicating to and engendering trust with candidates across every stage of the talent funnel.


  • Clear Processes, No Chasing:

    Every role and every candidate is run through a consistent process where next steps and owners are well-defined. Recruiters don’t misallocate their time chasing down hiring teams for feedback or decisions.


  • Integrated Workflows:

    Great TA teams have one set of integrated tools that they use across the hiring spectrum. Their workflows are not impeded by having to re-key data, nor do they lose candidates in cluttered technology stacks.

In summary, meeting all three principles of Hiring Success—a compelling candidate experience, engaged hiring managers, and productive recruiters— requires a collaborative and interdepartmental approach to hiring. It elevates the recruiting process from being a tedious, back-office function to a company-wide priority. Therefore, in order to achieve Hiring Success, it’s imperative that everyone from the C-Suite down recognize its organizational value and play an active part in making it an operational reality.

The best hiring organizations grow 3x faster than the poorest.

If all that isn’t enough to convince you, note that—according to The Boston Consulting Group—the best hiring organizations grow more than three times as fast as their lower-performing counterparts in any given industry. As the skill sets businesses need to succeed become more and more complex, that deficit will only increase. Consequently, every company will face personnel shortages. Those who overcome them will do so through Hiring Success.