Digitalizing Recruitment - Part 2: Preparations

Viktor Nordmark
3 November, 2020


Halt. Before we jump into planning and preparing, let’s set the mood with this quote by Pablo Picasso,

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

Ain’t that the truth?

But to take it down a notch, let’s hear what Jerry Brown has to say;

“The reason that everybody likes planning is that nobody has to do anything.”

Whether that’s true for pre-recruitment planning or not, is up to you to decide, whatever floats your boat. It all depends on what kind of recruiter you are; the one who eagerly jumps into planning in the hopes of finding the ultimate hire or the one who truly enjoys the “not doing anything” part. In any way, and whoever you may be, we’ll break pre-recruitment planning down for you as well as how you best can digitalize it.

Much can be said about recruitment, ask us, we’re 40 articles in and we’ve only scraped the surface. But there’s one thing that is recurrent in the hot topic that is recruitment, and that is the importance of building a steady foundation in which you can plant your recruitment seeds and start the candidate search from. A foundation that contains the elements described below, with the digitalization aspect of each step ensuing them.


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1.  The Unforgiving Timeline

In order to get everyone onboard; client, team and boss, it’s wise to share a timeline of the recruitment process. The time-frame contains every single activity from writing the job description to the onboarding stage of the new hire. It’s your best friend and your worst enemy. It will let every stakeholder know if you’re lagging behind schedule but it will also kindly remind you of what you have to do in order to achieve what you set out to do. Just remember to add buffer times in case of unexpected events. This way you’ll give yourself some leeway to put out fires at the same time as you are setting the right expectations.

1.1 The Digital Timeline

Are you still writing your timeline on a whiteboard? That’s great. It’s good to bring out a plan into the physical world. You should do that and create a digital plan. Digital project management tools have been around for a while and thus are close to being perfected. These tools enable you to invite different stakeholders into the timeline so that you all know what’s going on at this exact moment. You can add people to tasks, add feedback to ideas and completed tasks, as well as share files. They’re visually pleasing tools that, with the help of intuitive design and graphics, help you visualize your project, hence lending your mind some peace since you don’t have to keep all the tasks in mind at the same time.


2. Funding and Budgeting

The first step is to decipher how big of a budget you have. Without sufficient funds to support your activities, you risk being stuck in the “not do anything”-phase forever. The allocation of the budget will look a bit different depending on which position you are hiring for, but in general you should plan for these factors: print and digital advertising, travel expenses, possible accommodation, agency costs etc.
Depending on the extent of your budget, you will have to prioritize, but always with the target group in mind. If your preferred candidates are tech-savvy millennials then you probably should not cut down on the digital ads. If you’re hiring internally, your budget has to be aligned with the organization’s annual and longer-term business strategies.

2.1 Digitalizing Budgeting

When you’ve broken down what’s going into the budget, it’s time to make use of automation. You may prefer using good old Excel and have numerous spreadsheets to keep track of each and every part. But if you do not enjoy working with equations and formulas, you can make use of digital tools and softwares that can provide you with the same functionalities, but automated.

Budgeting tools make sure you stick to your desired budget and let you know as soon as you override it. They calculate for you and can even give you estimates of how much you can allocate to each factor. If you have data on former cost-of-hires, you can use those numbers as a foundation for the tool.

3. Position Description

Skills, cultural fit, benefits, salary, experience and geographical location are all important factors to pin down in order to create an ideal position description. It will act as your manuscript throughout the whole hiring process as well as set expectations straight both in-house and in communication with your client. But more importantly, the position description is meant to attract the right candidate.

It should include what the company is looking for in a candidate but it should also (which many recruiters forget) explain what the company has to offer the candidate. You have to, with quite few words, manage to make an alluring job description and at the same time make sure it’s inclusive. Research shows there is a distinct difference in how men, women and non-binary people respond to different types of words and phrases. So by using certain types of words your inbox may soon be filled with only male applicants and thereby you have unconsciously excluded women.


3.1 Write Position Descriptions with the Help of Digital Tools

In order to ensure you’re using unbiased language you can use AI-driven writing tools. They assist you in this by giving you suggestions on which words to use and how to construct your sentences. Another way to increase the chances of finding the right candidate is by optimizing the job ads for search engines in job boards. But to do so you need to have an understanding of what people search for when they look for that kind of job.

You can learn this by looking into the most commonly used keywords. Keyword planner tools reveal which words are popular on your topic of preference. All of this is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and it’s a whole science in itself. But by having a slight understanding of it, you can drive even more people to your job ad. People that you know are looking for that job, because they’ve searched for it themselves. In conclusion, write the job description with inclusion and Google in mind.

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4. Choosing the Most Beneficial Recruitment and Sourcing Methods

This goes without a saying; jobs differ in popularity. Therefore you have to adjust accordingly. For some jobs you receive over hundreds of applications whereas for others you receive 10. When you plan for how to recruit, make sure you are aware of the different possibilities you have to find the candidate you are looking for. As a reminder of what you have to choose from: Warm body recruitment, or mass recruitment, is used for when you need many candidates with less qualifications. Whereas targeted recruitment is used when you need candidates with specific qualifications and concentric circle recruitment means you’re hiring within your immediate network e.g the person is connected to you somehow. On top of these three methods there are a handful sourcing options that can be good to know about:

  • Boomerang employees (those who have previously worked at the company)
  • Promotions and transfers
  • Recruitment events
  • Bulletin boards
  • Word of mouth
  • Professional organizations
  • Internships and apprenticeships
  • Employment exchanges
  • Talent pool databases
  • Employee referrals
  • Direct advertising

That’s a lot! You have many methods to work with, but whichever ones you decide to go for, measure them after; budget, position, location and other factors that are specific to your circumstances.


4.1 Digitalized Sourcing Methods

There are a handful of tools that can be used for this part of the hiring process. Therefore, as you plan for which method to use, take a look online to see if there are any digital tools worth investing in that you can allocate for in your budget. To give you an idea of what is on the market, let’s have a sneak peak;


Direct Advertising

Perhaps you used the writing tool to craft the perfect job ad. But how do you know where to distribute it and how do you know where your target group is hanging out? You do because you make use of a programmatic job ad distributor. These are machine learning based tools that use big data in order to understand, for example; where a computer scientist in the age of 37 with 10 years of experience, spends her time on the web. The AI-tool then distributes the ad to social channels as well as on job ad sites. Another perk with this type of automation is that it turns off job ads that don’t get any traction. Users of these tools save 10% of their advertising budgets thanks to that feature.  

Talent Pool Databases

You are probably acquainted with the ATS (applicant tracking system). In this day and age many of these are extremely technologically advanced. The modern ATS is based on AI. Which in short means you can make use of the data in your existing talent pool database to teach the AI with it. The smarter it becomes the more advanced screenings you can conduct. You can use it to filter anything from specific skills to traits and experiences. The tool then provides you with a ranking list of which candidates are the most suitable for your criteria.



In conclusion, to plan is to be one step ahead. To plan with digital tools as assistants, is to be two steps ahead. What is so great about the digital world is that everything you put into it, whether it’s resumes or budgets, can be used again and again. But not only that, the more data you gather, the better the tools can work for you. Which in other words means that “nobody has to do anything”... Jokes aside, we scraped the surface of sourcing in this article as a little teaser for what is to come next e.g; a more thorough rundown on how to digitalize sourcing. We’ll discuss the past, the now and the future and so without further ado: stay safe!


Viktor Nordmark
3 November, 2020

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