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An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Targeted Recruiting

What Is Targeted Recruiting?

Targeted recruiting is a process in which an organization is more strict about whom its open positions are marketed to. “Targeted” recruits may be candidates who possess very specific skills, are located in a specific area, have a disability, or are part of an under-represented demographic group (women, LGBTQ+, Hispanics, etc.).  

The four key purposes of targeted recruitment are to:

  1. Gain organizational competency in a particular discipline.

  2. Increase the number and quality of applicants, especially for difficult-to-fill positions.

  3. Ensure the organization represents various segments of society.

  4. Reduce the cost per hire.

What Is a Targeted Recruitment Strategy?

A targeted recruitment strategy is a predetermined plan to advertise job openings in specific places and ways that attract candidates with certain experience, skills, or characteristics. 

A good targeted recruitment strategy is very specific in its intent and goals and uses data to track ROIs. The strategy needs to effectively market to the type of candidate an employer desires to find in their search. It must also be implemented where the target candidates live, work, and visit online. To be successful, a targeted strategy must include regularly posting and promoting current jobs and getting potential candidates involved in the process right from the start.  

To save time and money (and to make sure it’s done legally), some organizations prefer to hire a recruitment agency or use recruiting software that specializes in targeted marketing. 

What Are the Benefits of Targeted Recruitment vs. Open Recruitment?

Targeted recruitment is efficient and allows the hiring budget to go further since it focuses spending on pre-targeted and qualified applicants, rather than on a huge pool of underqualified or uninterested applicants. Targeted recruitment also enables an organization to build its brand presence in a select, valuable area, whether geographically or industry-specific. 

Additionally, it can help build a more skilled and diverse workforce, which will:

  • Increase employee morale

  • Raise employee engagement

  • Lower the turnover rate

  • Show commitment to local communities

  • Reflect the value an organization places on representation

Open recruitment (sometimes referred to as open hiring) involves hiring individuals without regard for specific skills, backgrounds, or demographics. Open recruitment may include hiring people with a history of criminal conviction, homelessness, or lack of work experience. 

The purpose of open recruitment is to intentionally consider often-overlooked individuals for employment in roles that don’t require a specific skill set. 

The benefits of open recruitment include more than just opening the applicant pool to a wider audience. Other benefits include:

  • Improvement in diversity

  • Increases in employee retention (open hires often appreciate being given the work opportunity)

  • Quickening the recruitment process due to fewer screening steps

  • Support of local communities 

However, an open hiring strategy may mean organizations will need to place less emphasis on work history and skills and divert time and costs to training and development. 

Is Pay-for-Performance an Example of Targeted Recruitment?

Yes, pay-for-performance is an example of targeted recruitment because businesses pay only when a qualified candidate submits their job application. Rather than spending money on duration-based posts, a job recruiter using pay-for-performance can build a targeted recruitment strategy around set goals. This allows an organization to put money toward meeting those goals, tracking results, making adjustments in real-time, and measuring ROI. 

How Will Targeted Recruiting Reduce Cost per Hire?

Targeted recruiting can reduce cost per hire by making the pool of applicants smaller and saving time in the hiring process. It also reduces costs by finding high-quality candidates who are a good fit for the organization and have the potential to be loyal, long-term employees.

Three typical hiring expenses include:

  1. Recruitment costs: An $8-per-hour employee can cost ~$3,500 for the hiring process alone. 

  2. Training costs: In 2019, average training costs were $1,286 per employee each year. In addition, each employee spent an average of 42.1 hours in training.

  3. Turnover costs: It is estimated that it takes over six months on the job before a company earns back its investment on the hire of a new mid-level manager. If a new hire leaves before the six-month mark, all hiring expenses are lost, and an employer must reinvest in another hire.

Targeted recruiting reduces the costs of recruitment, training, and turnover because it focuses on a subset of high-quality hires who, when hired, are more likely to be well engaged and remain longer with their employer. 

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