How Do I Plan for Future Hiring Needs?


Even if you aren’t actively hiring all the time, talent acquisition is an ongoing activity–and an important element of that is planning for future hiring needs. As John S. Dooney, the manager of workforce analytics at the Society for Human Resource Management, has noted, “Recruiting is not a faucet that you turn off and on. You have to have an engine in place.”

There are three steps organizations can take to identify future hiring requirements and create a robust hiring engine. Companies that succeed will find they can minimize the time needed to fill open positions with qualified candidates.

#1 Combine Future Workforce Projections with Historical Hiring Analytics

To start, companies should take a look at their business plan and make estimates about the types and numbers of positions they will need to fill. Next, it is helpful to take a look at historical data. Start by analyzing which job openings tend to generate the most applicants. This information can be derived from job position analytics reports that are included in many applicant tracking systems.

Another important bit of data to consider is time-to-hire statistics. Some positions take longer to fill than others. It may be that some positions require specialized skills that are hard to find or are located in places with low unemployment rates. If your organization anticipates having hard-to-fill jobs in the future, then your team may consider publicizing those earlier than other job openings or casting the net wider when posting those jobs.

Applicant processing time is also a key consideration for workforce planning. Certain departments may take longer to select and onboard new candidates. Reviewing reports that break down processing time by department can provide useful insights for planning.

#2 Identify Which Candidate Sources Are the Most Productive

Some online job boards or social media sites may generate more applicants than others. And it can be even more complicated than that—a certain job board may be a particularly good source for one type of job or division, while a social media site may generate a better pool of applicants for a different type of position. One way to get to the bottom of this puzzle is to generate hiring reports from your applicant tracking system, which show where the best applicants have come from in the past, and how they found your job posting. With that information, it’s possible to pinpoint where to post each open position in order to obtain the largest number of promising candidates.

#3 Develop a Pipeline of Promising Candidates

When you interview applicants, there are usually several strong candidates, but unfortunately an offer can only be made to one of them. Rather than losing touch entirely with the strong contenders, some companies keep a file of promising applicants so HR can maintain contact with these individuals when new opportunities arise. A great way to create a pipeline of talent is to create an electronic archive in the organization’s applicant tracking system. With this type of tool, it’s easy to find past candidates and reach out to them via email or phone.

Planning for future workforce needs can and should be more methodical than peering into a crystal ball. With a few reports and pieces of data, it’s possible to create a hiring forecast that is optimized for factors like time to fill, quality of sources and applicant processing time. By leveraging technology, companies can easily pair these forecasts with a candidate pipeline. That translates into greater efficiency for your department, fewer open positions and a greater likelihood of hiring success.

Click here to discover how your applicant tracking system can help you increase hiring efficiency and plan for your business’ future hiring needs.


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