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How to write a recruitment policy

A recruitment policy is a standardized framework – or rulebook – that establishes a standard for all your recruitment practices and strategies as a business. The purpose of a successful recruitment policy is to ensure consistency, uniformity, and compliance especially as it pertains to labor laws and legislation.

Nikoletta Bika
Nikoletta Bika

Nikoletta holds an MSc in HR management and has written extensively about all things HR and recruiting.

Write a recruitment policy that captures your hiring philosophy and shares useful sourcing and interviewing advice with recruiters and hiring managers.

A recruitment policy is a statement on how you hire. It outlines your company’s preferred hiring practices and promotes consistency within your employee recruiting process.

To begin crafting your recruitment policy, answer these three questions:

  • Philosophy. What is your hiring philosophy?
  • Procedures. What are your recruitment procedures?
  • Standards. What are your standards for the hiring process?

Use these three elements to structure your policy to give hiring teams a head start with their recruiting.

Share your philosophy

At the beginning of your policy, set the tone for how you approach recruiting. Your opening statements express your company’s unique perspective. You could mention:

  • An action you feel strongly about that ties into your culture (for example, refusing to offer unpaid internships.)
  • An idea you’re committed to and how you adopt it (for example, using blind hiring to increase diversity.)
  • The employer brand you are aiming to build (for example, offering training programs to promote a culture of learning.)

You could also answer practical questions like:

  • What are you looking for in candidates? Are there certain values you want all hires to have? For example, Google summarizes the qualities it looks for in future employees with a simple statement:
Recruitment policy example from Google
Screenshot via Google
  • How much flexibility do recruiters and hiring managers have? Are they obliged to follow this policy’s instructions or can they choose which rules to follow?
  • What are your main recruiting tools? For example, state whether you use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to streamline your hiring. Choose the right ATS to ensure that employees actually use it.
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Outline the procedure

This section is the main body of your recruitment and selection policy. Although it’s best to leave room to adjust between different roles, recommend a series of hiring stages as a reference. Add other necessary information too.

  • Describe the pre-hiring stages. If hiring managers need to get their open job approved before they advertise, let them know who they should contact. Distinguish between internal and external hiring and offer guidelines for when each is appropriate. Instruct hiring managers to create a list of job-related criteria to evaluate candidates.
  • Outline the standard hiring process. Mention the hiring phases for different types of roles (e.g. entry-level or senior positions.) For example, you may want each candidate to clear a background check before being hired. And screening calls help disqualify candidates in all positions.
  • Mention effective tools and methods. A recruitment process needs support from the right tools, methods and techniques. For example, explain structured interviews or group interviews and for which roles they are most worthwhile. State whether you recommend panel or 1:1 interviews.
  • Clarify details. For example, what’s your policy on flying in candidates for interviews? Is there a minimum amount of time that a job ad must be advertised before you can proceed with the hiring process? You may also indicate which former employees should be considered for rehire.

If all these points turn out to be too much for one policy, consider breaking them into parts. For example, you could dedicate different policies to explain parts of each hiring stage (e.g. craft a separate background check policy.)

Set the standards

Highlight legal and equality requirements. Here are a few important ones:

  • Hiring biases. When hiring, unconscious biases may disadvantage protected groups and cause companies to miss out on quality candidates. Offer tips on how to combat biases. Encourage using structured interviews, which help mitigate biases, and set guidelines for training hiring managers on different interview techniques.
  • Data protection. Refer to your data protection policy and how it applies to your recruiting. Remind employees that they should keep candidate data and their job applications confidential throughout the hiring process.
  • Candidate experience. Candidate experience shapes your employer brand and helps you attract great candidates. Here are a few things to address in your recruitment policy to improve your candidate experience:
Design an easy application process Instruct hiring teams to keep required fields to a minimum. Candidates quit applications that involve lengthy or complicated forms.
Opt for frequent and open communication Keeping candidates updated on the hiring process makes for a good candidate experience. Set some communication deadlines as reference (e.g. schedule a second interview within 5 days.)
Offer interview feedback Most candidates would like to receive interview feedback. Clarify your policy on this: do you recommend feedback over the phone, giving positive feedback only or avoiding it altogether due to legal concerns?
Write effective job descriptions Job ads offer an opportunity to attract great candidates. Explain what you consider an effective job description and give some pointers on how to write one.
Craft a well-designed careers page Candidates go to your careers page for a friendly welcome and useful information on your culture and recruiting philosophy. Make an accessible and well-designed careers page a priority.

Your recruiting policy helps employees hire consistently and ensures candidates take part in a well-organized, fair process. Establish your recruiting philosophy, procedures and standards in a way that offers useful advice to hiring managers and recruiters and an excellent experience to all of your candidates.

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