A Step-by-Step Guide to the Modern Recruitment Process

Over the past three years, recruiters have experienced seismic shifts to a recruitment process that hadn’t changed in a long time. 

Not only did the pandemic reduce the size of talent acquisition teams, but the whole industry had to shift towards virtual recruiting and onboarding. According to CNBC, in 2020, 84% of recruiters adapted their hiring processes to facilitate remote communications.

Both agency and corporate recruiters have had to transform along with the changing times and learn a whole new way of doing things. Both are facing the impacts of the ongoing Great Resignation, while already operating within a fiercely competitive and candidate-driven talent market. Advanced insights, engagement tools, and best practices can optimize the experience for both recruiters and candidates. 

Each step helps move candidates through the recruitment funnel. If done right, the process can be streamlined, surface the top candidates for each role, and easily keep everyone informed and aligned.

Agency Recruiters vs. Corporate Recruiters

It’s important to note that agency recruiters and corporate recruiters have internal processes that start at different points. Because recruiting agencies must do the added work of finding and signing new clients, they are selling their own recruiting services in addition to carrying out the recruitment process for the client. 

However, from that point, the process of recruitment is the same for both. 

What triggers the recruitment process?

For agency recruiters, the process of procuring new clients and securing a contract with them precedes the actual recruitment process, whereas, for corporate recruiters, the process starts with an internal request. 

Procure new clients and set up a contract 

Agency recruiters offer a way for companies to outsource the recruiting process. Retained recruiters often have added business development responsibilities and work through the process of prospecting for clients who require help with filling an open position. 

Agency recruiters find clients by referral from existing clients. Or they comb through job sites, such as LinkedIn, to find postings that don’t have enough applicants and pitch their service to these prospective clients. Many recruitment firms also post on job sites, to notify retained recruiters of potential clients, as well as suss out the competition for placing open roles. 

PRO TIP: Many of the techniques used in account-based marketing can also improve the process of finding and securing new client accounts at recruiting agencies. 

Once a client is confirmed, agency recruiters set up a contract that outlines the client’s requirements and the job description for the open role. Retained recruiters usually receive part of the payment for their services at this stage. The contract process typically takes place via email and is finalized using DocuSign.

Receive internal requests

Corporate recruiters typically receive internal requests from hiring managers in need of new talent. Companies often have internal procedures that hiring managers use to make these requests. Procedures can include a Google form, email, or an internal chat application like Slack. Internal recruiters also need to confirm that job requests have been approved by the finance team before they initiate the recruiting process. 

What are the steps in the recruitment process?

Step 1: Determine the job requirements and create a detailed job description

Once the client greenlights new hires or the finance team approves the request for a new hire, both agency and internal recruiters enter payroll codes for the role into the applicant tracking system (ATS). Often there are multiple payroll codes for a single job request, which can be confusing. This is a manual process that is often tracked in spreadsheets. 

As a retained agency recruiter it can be difficult to immediately access the hiring manager to discuss the requirements for a specific role. Once they connect, retained recruiters talk to the hiring manager to understand the need for the desired candidate and put together a detailed job description. This part of the process is tracked using standard digital work documents or spreadsheets. 

Internal recruiters also work closely with hiring managers to understand the requirements for a new role, as well as the candidate market, to figure out what would make for a competitive job offer. It’s part of their role to build rapport with the hiring manager, in order to understand the specific skills and personality needed to suit the job.

PRO TIP: Preparing a job description often involves developing a job candidate persona, which is very similar to the marketing process of developing an ideal customer profile. You can apply sales and marketing strategies to your recruitment process.

“Outside of the job description, which anyone can look at to figure out the basics, I want to know the skill set the hiring manager is looking for. I ask them to identify what’s missing on the team from a ‘gaps’ or ‘skill set’ perspective. What type of personality has or has not worked out for them in the past? What are their tendencies around hiring?” says Ryan Beaudry, a talent acquisition manager at ZoomInfo.

Step 2: Create awareness to capture active jobseekers 

Building a solid candidate pipeline and candidate sourcing involves creating awareness about an opportunity by sharing a detailed job description on relevant job sites and social media. This feeds the talent pool with active candidates who are looking for a new role. 

Typically, both agency and corporate recruiters share the job description with their networks in the hope of getting a referral to someone who might be right for the role. 

Step 3: Reach out to passive candidates

Finding quality candidates solely from the pool of applicants to an advertised role can be difficult. This makes sourcing passive candidates critical to the recruitment process. 

Building a list of passive candidates to add to the talent pool requires recruiters to search for people based on their existing job titles, experience, region, etc. This requires a good sourcing platform with the most accurate contact data for candidates. 

Beaudry recalls a specific instance, where he was looking to fill a product manager role and had exhausted his search in LinkedIn Recruiter. “I ran a similar search on Zoominfo TalentOS and there were titles like ‘product’ or ‘product management at other companies, not specifically ‘product manager.’ Using more than one sourcing platform opens the door to find a greater variety of talent,” he says.

PRO TIP: It’s critical to ensure that diversity and inclusion are considered while sourcing candidates. Recruiters can build a pipeline of diverse candidates by using ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ filters in ZoomInfo TalentOS. 

Step 4: Target the best candidates with personalized outreach

Engaging candidates, especially cold or passive ones, requires diligence and consistency. In its 2018 study, recruiting software company Lever found that it takes at least three touchpoints before a cold candidate responds to outreach from recruiters. 

For this reason, recruitment tech solutions that minimize the administrative work greatly improve the recruitment outreach process. 

The way recruiters communicate with candidates depends on the contact data available to them. It’s critical to find platforms that accurately provide the candidate’s personal phone number and email, as well as help with automating call, email, and text outreach. 

“Every recruiter has a slightly different process, but I’ve found that the most valuable way for us to use ZoomInfo TalentOS is the exact way that salespeople use it. Making a direct-dial call to the candidate’s personal phone number cuts through the clutter and saves so much time. The same goes when it comes to scheduling meetings and interviews, instead of wasting time emailing back and forth, trying to pick a time,” says Tony Schafer, a talent acquisition manager at ZoomInfo. 

Step 5: Set up interviews with the hiring manager and perform assessments 

This part of the recruitment process involves the recruiter collecting notes on each candidate they plan to move forward, sharing the notes with the hiring manager, scheduling an interview session between the hiring manager and candidate, and then gathering feedback on how the interview went. 

Agency recruiters face the hurdle of scheduling candidate interviews without access to the hiring manager’s schedule, as well as establishing clear lines of communication because they aren’t in the same organization. 

For corporate recruiters, the challenge lies in coordinating and scheduling multi-stage candidate interviews, which can be time-consuming. Within bigger organizations, there is often a recruitment coordinator who manages this step in the recruitment process.

Step 6: Hire the best person for the job

Candidate placement is the final step of the recruitment process. Once a candidate has been determined to be a good fit, the recruiter, hiring manager and organization provide them with a job offer. If the candidate accepts the offer and passes the background check, the open role is then closed. 

For agency recruiters, the difficulty in this step lies in coordinating with hiring managers and other points of contact in the organization to get the offer out quickly. Once things have been finalized via DocuSign, they are able to collect the remaining balance on their contract with the client. 

Corporate recruiters need to make sure the candidate passes background checks and signs any clearances required by the company. Then they provide the payroll department with the candidate’s information and confirm their start date. 

Drive a great candidate experience in your recruitment process 

Your recruitment process is a reflection of your employer brand. The goal is to ensure that even candidates that don’t make it all the way through the process, still leave with a positive experience. Ultimately, the modern recruitment process strives to reach as many of the best candidates as possible, in the most efficient way, and to narrow those candidates down to the best fit for the job.