How to Improve Recruiting: Begin with a SWOT Analysis

By Tom McGuire | March 29, 2021

What is the best way to begin improving the speed, quality, and diversity of your recruitment and selection process?  A straight forward and effective way to quickly analyze your current situation is to put a SWOT framework for recruiting strategy to use. This framework is easy to use and identifies both internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external (opportunities and threats) factors that are affecting your current talent acquisition results.

Step number one is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your company’s current recruitment and selection process.  The eleven factors below are bolded within a positive statement about them.  After reading each statement, simply note whether or not that statement is mostly true or not for your recruitment situation.  It is better in this exercise to lean conservative in your judgment and to not over-estimate effectiveness where there is doubt – but do give credit where credit is due!  It is then very simple to separate the factors into respective strengths and weaknesses. Here we go:

  1. The recruiting organization commonly has good visibility into the hiring needs (timing, quantity, quality, etc.) of the company’s business plan.
  2. Accurate and complete job information up front routinely results in a qualified candidate that closely match requirements.
  3. There is discipline around segmenting sourcing efforts according to the role’s criticality and market availability of talent sought.
  4. The right talent to meet business requirements is consistently sourced by utilizing a strategic mix of sourcing channels.
  5. The applicant tracking system and other technology greatly enhances the ability to execute the recruitment process.
  6. The ability to measure big recruitment metrics (quality, speed, diversity, cost), and course correct to improve them, is well instituted.
  7. Closing hires and engaging them through their start date results in minimal talent loss.
  8. Hiring manager relationships and responsiveness enable seamless process execution.
  9. Organization agility enables recruiter workload and mix to be optimized for productivity.
  10. Administrative steps that recruiters must invest time in are minimal.
  11. Management is highly engaged with and supports the recruiting function.

(It is also easy to add to these factors, as long as additions have comparable importance in terms of how they might impact your particular recruiting results.)

Next, following the same approach as above, identify the external opportunities and threats posed by the talent marketplace and your talent competitors by reading these statements and categorizing them:

  1. The overall reputation of the company is an asset in the marketplace.
  2. The current employer brand is designed to project what is important to targeted candidates and differentiates our company from the competition for talent.
  3. The recruiting process appropriately addresses the realities of the current economic climate.
  4. Supply and demand for talent the company needs most are manageable.
  5. Talent requirements for the business can be equally met across geographies.
  6. Regulatory issues in locations where talent must be sourced are stable.

Following this exercise, stand back and see what you have uncovered.  

The internal strengths you have identified can be used to take advantage of applicable external opportunities and to help minimize threats that are being faced.  The biggest value will often be in isolating weaknesses. Addressing weaknesses is at the heart of your near-term recruiting strategy with the goal being to minimize, neutralize or, ideally, reverse them. Reversing a weakness adds to the strengths that will enable opportunistic activities and decrease risk.

Identifying the “what” is the first step toward organizing to improve the recruiting process.  Diving deeper into the “why” (weaknesses exist), and how to correct them is the focus of internal consulting teams or expert 3rd party talent acquisition process improvement experts.

This simple tool can add to your insight on how to attract top talent and improve the results of your human resources organization.


You may also want to read Recruitment Audit Tips: 3 Suggestions for Success and Talent Acquisition Audit: Six Signs that You Need One

Contact us to learn more about how Talent Growth Advisors' Recruitment Audit helps you self-fund your talent acquisition improvement efforts!

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