Blog Recruitment Performance The 5 Most Critical Recruitment Tactics in 2021
Header for our blog on critical recruitment tactics


There are 5 primary recruitment tactics that every business and company recruiter should place at the heart of their direct hire recruitment strategy if they want it to consistently succeed.


I have looked at a lot of research and recruitment data in the last 10 years, and worked closely with over 500 hundred organisations of all shapes and sizes. In this time, I’ve noticed there are most definitely direct correlations between the tactics and strategies used by organisations that consistently perform well, and create an effective direct hire strategy.


These have obviously changed over the years as new influences infiltrate the recruitment landscape and human behaviours change, but right now, these are the key recruitment tactics that I see associated with the most effective recruitment.


I am going to list them here at the start of this article so that you understand right from the off what we are dealing with and decide if this article is for you. What I will aim to do throughout this article is outline why each of these items is so critical in pursuit of the best results, and provide practical advice and ideas on how to address and deploy each topic effectively.

1. Choosing the correct channels to attract applicants

I am starting with this topic, because it is so fundamentally important to an effective direct hire and talent attraction strategy and yet surprisingly it gets very little coverage or airtime in the recruitment press.


Think about it, if the job advert is not placed in the correct channels, then those prospective applicants, even those that are actively looking, are not going to find you. Because there is such a diverse range of media channels available to consider advertising your jobs on, it can be difficult to know which is most likely to work for you and will give you the best value for money.


Understanding recruitment tactics


To execute an effective media buying strategy, you must do your homework. That begins by first understanding the behaviours of the job searching candidates that you want to engage with.


Extensive research on this topic has concluded that there are two primary elements over and above anything else that determine which channels are most likely to succeed and that should influence your media buying decisions.


  1. Volume of relevant visitor traffic within the channel
  2. The media channels that are performing best for the specific role you are recruiting for within major search engines; specifically Google


Neither of these should come as a shock, but when was the last time that you actually researched the demographics and relevant visitor data of the niche board you are considering before posting a job onto it? Or ran a search on Google to identify which channel was performing best for that specific job title and location? Well, what is most shocking is that statistically, over 90% of you don’t do any or extremely little due diligence before making your media buying decisions.


Depending on whose data you are looking at, somewhere between 70-80% of all job-related searches start on Google. This represents a very good starting point for channel selection. If you are going to adopt this strategy, then you need to consider doing this each and every time that you are recruiting for a challenging or difficult to fill the role. However, because this is a multi-channel approach, covering several of the best channel options is recommended, and this could seriously push the price of advertising up.


Writing as a recruitment tactic


The recruitment tactic for this might be to find a multi-media reseller, as a starting point, and for the price of a couple of job boards, you can look to get your job advert onto all the leading job advertising channels, social media and aggregators for the same price. This will potentially get your job advertised across all the most visited media channels and give you exceptional value for money, especially when compared to buying directly from each job board.


Job board network logos like reed, totaljobs and jobsite


2. Optimising application and retention rates

There are key metrics that can be monitored at each stage of the recruitment life-cycle, and that should be monitored closely and used to establish the effectiveness of your strategy at each specific stage and to act as a guide to optimising outcomes.


During the talent attraction stages, there are two key objectives that I wish to focus on.

  1. Increasing visibility and applicant traffic to your job advert within each channel
  2. Convert more views of your job advert into actual applications


A gif of a man typing on a keyboard on a computer


All search engines have a programmed algorithm to determine what appears at the top of page one of the results and what appears last. On the majority of job advertising media by appearing on page one of the results you will generate up to four times as many views of prospective candidates as you would if your job advert appeared on page two.


There is also a direct correlation between the quality and relevance of candidates dropping out of the job search at the bottom of the first page of results, emphasising the importance of applying keyword optimisation techniques.


Once a candidate has found your job, the objective turns to convert the view into an actual application. This metric can be used to establish the quality of the copywriting and the effectiveness of your job adverts. It is the combination of structure, style, tone and of course the strength of the proposition, that will determine whether your job advert is successful in turning views into genuine prospects.


eBook Download Banner on how to write a job advert


3. Enhancing the candidate experience

Let’s assume that you posted your job advert on the right channels and have not only been found but that you have successfully persuaded a number of suitable candidates to apply for your vacancy. What happens next will begin to establish the candidates’ experience of engaging with your brand, and this will massively contribute to the successful applicants’ decision to either accept or decline a subsequent offer of employment.


Candidate redirects

Many companies using recruitment platforms such as ATS systems or HR Recruitment modules use a process called apply by URL. This is the terminology used to describe the process of redirecting a candidate from an advert to another page on a different website. This is usually a careers page on the client’s own website.


The undeniable issue with this process is applicant drop-off rates that vary between 50-85% and have undoubted correlations between the best quality prospects and those most likely to drop out. In fact, research by The Recruiting Unblog found 45% of those searching for jobs on Facebook will immediately drop-off if they’re taken away from the platform.


Over 90% of all applications come from people already in work and the vast majority of these people can be described as passive applicants, with low levels of commitment to moving jobs. They demonstrate specific behaviours such as very short search times of less than 20 minutes on average and can easily drop out of the application process when presented with any unexpected tasks, so soon in the process.


Gif of statistic that 90% of applications are from people already in work


CV parsing

Selecting a recruitment system /platform that is able to parse CVs and profiles straight into the campaign management system from a wide range of the most likely channels is absolutely key in avoiding the major loss of the best quality applicants.



Once the application is received, it’s all about communication. This starts with a personalised, yet automated response to each and every applicant, to acknowledge receipt of their application and should also be used as an excellent opportunity to furnish each applicant with additional information about the company, the role and most importantly about the opportunity.


By far the most powerful recruitment tactic that you have to assist you, ahead of actually speaking to or meeting the applicants, is video. Video provides windows into your organisation and culture and is statistically proved to influence attraction and retention rates significantly more than any other communication media. When delivered effectively, this will ultimately strengthen the interest that applicants have in the role and contribute towards a better retention rate.


A woman on a video call with a man in a headset


As you begin the screening and selection process, it’s all about the quality and delivery of your communications and choosing the right moment to completely humanise the experience. Humanising the engagement level in both tone of language and ultimately by moving to a telephone, skype or video call as soon as is practical, should be a priority, especially on harder to fill roles.


The interview

Finally, the interview process itself needs to strike the right balance between screening and selling the opportunity and to support this an interview strategy should be adopted. This might include a company presentation, a tour of the facility and pre-arranged introductions to certain members of the team.


4. Choosing the right Recruitment System

Selecting the right recruitment system should not be confused with HR Systems that offer onboarding and employee management features. The primary objectives of attracting and then managing talent through a screening and selection process up to the point of offer should never drop out of focus and should drive your choice of tech for this purpose.


The right talent attraction and recruitment campaign management system will enable you to operate an intelligent screening and management process that will be time-efficient, cost-effective and enable you to consistently deliver the best outcomes. It should help to avoid duplication of effort, reduce time spent on laborious and repetitive administration tasks, help to avoid subconscious bias and enable an effective and positive candidate experience that enhances and protect your brand.


A cloud-based service that utilises CV parsing, candidate grading, video profiling, behavioural profiling, integrated application forms and the automation of email and SMS messaging is key.



However, the ultimate test of how good a recruitment talent attraction and campaign management service is can be determined by whether the vendor is willing to be measured against key recruitment metrics such as application numbers, applicant quality, tie to offer, fulfilment rates and of course overall customer satisfaction. If a service really is as good as they say it is, then ask them to prove it. If it’s that good, why wouldn’t they want to share these with you and be measured against them?


5. Measure to improve

Any business that is committed to delivering a best-in-class recruitment service must measure key metrics regularly and make plans to improve.


Applicant source, applicant quality, candidate experience, fill rates, time to offer, etc can all contribute towards an ongoing commitment to making improvements and will help to keep those people responsible to the recruitment of staff accountable.


It is important to remember that many facets of the recruitment lifecycle are susceptible to change, and by measuring key metrics it increases the chance of you identifying both positive and negative changes that affect your recruitment outcomes and respond to them accordingly.


What’s next?

If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution for these recruitment tactics, Smart Recruit Online is an easy-to-use talent acquisition platform that helps you with everything from choosing the right job advertising channels, to measuring and improving your recruitment performance. Interested? Book in a demo with us and we’ll show you the ropes.

Banner to book a demo with SRO

Mark Stephens

April 4, 2021

Mark has worked in and researched the HR & Recruitment landscape for over 20 years. His key focuses are how recruitment technology, evidence-based processes, and human behavioural science can be used to optimise recruitment performance. He is a serial entrepreneur, previous winner of the prestigious Chambers of Commerce 'Innovation in Business' award, and founder of Smart Recruit Online Ltd, and Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK Ltd (Corpwell).

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