How to Ask for More Recruiting Budget|How to Ask for More Recruiting Budget
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How to Ask for More Recruiting Budget

As a recruiter, asking your CEO, CHRO, CFO or COO for additional budget to recruit a critical position at your company or to promote your employer brand to attract and influence potential candidates may feel only slightly less painful than a root canal.

After all, without the key metrics to bolster your request and pitch, you’re seriously handicapping your efforts inside the C-Suite, which rightfully scrutinizes every penny in the fiscal budget.

Rather than relying on off-the-cuff guesstimating, doing your research, justifying the expense and fashioning an irresistible pitch will do far, far more to win over the CEO, free up budget and influence and hire talent that will make a difference.

Step 1: Do your research

Make a pit stop with your Finance or Operations teams. Don’t be afraid to ask big picture questions.

For example, if you learn that historically a typical marketing coordinator contributes a whopping $3 million in sales pipeline and your demand generation team is suddenly tasked with contributing $9 million in additional pipeline for the upcoming quarter, adding three new coordinators should feasibly help you hit your targets.

Now, slice and dice your recruiting expenses (and results) associated with job boards, meet-up events and outside recruiters. How much does it cost to get a single job application? Even more important, what is your average cost-per-hire per individual recruiting channel? Drilling down into this data can really set the table for additional budget requests.

For example, new research from Bersin by Deloitte pegs the average cost per hire in the US at just under $4,000. That’s a great benchmark to leverage in your justification. How does your cost-per-hire compare?

Bersin research also notes it takes 52 days to fill a vacant position these days. So strategically planning ahead is even more essential, as it may be almost two months before a new hire can even begin to make an impact.

Step 2: Justify the expense

Often, simply doing the math can win the day.

Knowing your cost-per-hire per individual recruiting channel can not only help you optimize your existing recruiting budget but help justify additional budget on channels that are delivering best.

For example, if you notice one job board is delivering high-quality applications or candidates at a fraction of others, it’s time to up your spend there, perhaps robbing budget from lower-performing channels, perhaps doubling down by asking for more budget.

Now, put on your marketing hat. Building, promoting and taking advantage of a strong employer brand is like recruitment budget helper. An attractive company culture, mission and work/life balance trumpeted by engaged employees across their social channels means you’ll amplify your recruiting efforts year-round while also lowering the recruiting dollars spend to find talent.

A good place to start? Make sure your careers page or Glassdoor profile is updated regularly to give job candidates an “inside look” at what it’s like to work at your company, from the benefits you offer to photos that show off company life. Launch employee engagement efforts, encouraging your workforce to post reviews about your company on Glassdoor. All this should be part of building a case for employer branding initiatives and budget.

As for the true value of employer branding, 94% of job seekers are more likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand (Glassdoor Site Survey, October 2013), which includes responding to company reviews, updating its profile and sharing updates on its culture. Finally, good employer brand can actually lower recruiting costs by 22% recruitment fees (Employer Branding Global Trends Report, May 2014).

Step 3: Make the C-Level pitch

Now comes the moment of truth. Understandably, your CEO wants facts, not a dog and pony show; real-world metrics, not guesstimates.

“If we spend x percent more sourcing additional hires in the next quarter, we should reasonably be able to deliver x more in business, sales pipeline or bookings by the following quarter!” is as compelling an argument you can make to a fiscally minded, bottom-line mindset.

Continue to seal the deal. “Based on analysis, if we up our spend by x on job board x, which we’ve found is delivering 2x more qualified candidates at a 30% lower cost-per-hire, we’ll maximize our investment and really be on our way to bringing in top talent!”

Then, if you’re feeling particularly confident, close with an employer branding moment.

“Further, we’ll reduce our overall recruiting costs if we pump up our employer branding and employee engagement efforts, starting with encouragement from the top. Have YOU considered personally responding to our company reviews on Glassdoor? That will make a big difference in the eyes of job seekers. In fact 69% of job seekers say their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review…”

What bottom-line executive could resist? In short, numbers for the win! Download 15 Stats That Prove the ROI of Company Culture to learn more about asking for budget.