How to maximise your hiring budget through efficient job design.

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Many hirers are eagerly awaiting their new hiring budgets to learn how many people they can hire for the period ahead.

The past financial year has been tough on delivery teams. Because when hiring freezes customer expectations do not. And when cost cutting occurs, customer obsession is frayed.

This has put a huge amount of extra pressure on an already tired squad.
You may be shocked to hear how many great employees have told us that they’ll hand in their notice if extra resources are not added.

So, when you receive your highly anticipated hiring budget, here’s how to get the most out of it…

There are 3 areas of focus here. In order to maximise your budget you need to pay attention to all three:

  1. Search
  2. Selection
  3. Retention

1. Search


Fish in barrels, not oceans. 

So much time and so many resources are wasted when your recruiter, whether it be your internal talent function or external agency, casts a wide net hoping to get lucky. 

Multiple job boards, hyperlinks and databases seems like you’re uncovering every stone though it’s the old multitasking vs. shift-tasking.

If you’re focusing on 5 different channels then you’re only giving 20% of your focus to each.

Instead – there’s much better return when you analyse your ROI per channel, improve your strategy and double down on that channel. I don’t know what this sentence means? Can you rephrase without ‘verses’.

Engage with & pipeline passive candidates.

Active candidates are those applying to your jobs, and many others. They may have been made redundant, have grown tired of their last employer or know exactly what they’re looking for which is exactly why they applied to your job and yours only…

The reality is the best hires are passive candidates and they help your budget.

People who are specifically targeted because they are doing exactly what you need are invaluable to their company and are therefore incredibly valuable to yours.

Passive candidates are harder to obtain. They require an experienced recruiter to attract them to your opportunity and harness them through an assessment process which must look different to an active candidate interview process.

If they’ve been identified and assessed properly, often passive candidates bring more to  the table than multiple hires can. So you could get lucky and get 2 hires for 1… 

Whether they take the job or not, your recruiter must cultivate relationships with passive candidates who may be interested at another time.

Finally… often the better candidates require more flexibility, so don’t limit yourself with rigid rules (Hybrid, flexi hours, milestone-based-incentives, OKRs over KPIs etc.) 

Leverage Employee Referrals (and outsource their assessment).

Encouraging your existing employees to refer candidates from their networks is a great way to save costs. You can implement an employee referral program with enticing rewards, motivating your team to help identify qualified candidates.

HOWEVER. This comes with a large grain of salt.

You know it. There are so many horror stories of hiring a friend or a friend-of-a-friend because they have passed the cultural assessment stage. Or have they?

Employee referrals are NEVER assessed appropriately. It’s a friendly-friendly interview without deep assessment based on fear of upsetting the referee. 

Do yourself a favour and employ an external party to deeply assess these candidates.

2. Selection: Streamlining the Evaluation Process     


Don’t write a Job Description, write a Job Design.

A job design comes before a job description. It is an outcome of your org structure.

Job designs quantifiably define the skills, experience and cultural fit required for each role.

Job descriptions are vague, excessive & always confused with job advertisements (your job designs billboard). 

Real Time’s Compass methodology receives such praise because it is a simple and thorough job design process which rips every job description handed to us to shreds. So your recruiter must have the skills, experience and current market knowledge to challenge your design.

Optimal Resource Allocation.

Efficient job design allows you to optimise resource allocation, ensuring that your hiring budget is spent judiciously. By evaluating your company’s needs and identifying any redundant or overlapping roles, you can streamline your workforce, eliminating unnecessary expenses.

This strategic approach not only reduces recruitment costs but also minimises expenditures associated with onboarding, training, and managing surplus staff.

Implement Structured Interviews.

If your interviewers aren’t asking every candidate the exact same questions, how are they meant to make the right decision?

How are they ensuring they’re not being fooled by great interviewees? Or pissing off great candidates because they woke up on the wrong side of the bed?

Bad hires happen when they aren’t interviewed by a consistent, strict, data-driven assessment process.

Use a structured interview format that is built from your job design. Including a standardised set of questions for all candidates in order to minimise bias, allow for better comparison among applicants and ensure you’re making the right hire!

3. Retention: 

Nurture your “A” players. 

‘“A” players are motivated by working with other A players.

They are often motivated when “B” or “C” players are removed from your company. It reinforces a culture of performance.

If they aren’t removed, A players will leave your team where more A players are present.

And if you haven’t provided growth opportunities, offered clear career paths and professional development opportunities to encourage A player growth, they will leave.

Then you’re left with the B team.

Regularly evaluate compensation:

Stay informed about market compensation trends to ensure your remuneration packages remain competitive.

There ain’t no data like live data. Talent surveys from “the big names in job boards” can be grossly inaccurate. To the point of ruining businesses who depend on this “guide” and losing their staff to better-informed competitors.

Demand that your recruiter is surveying actual candidates actually relevant to the job design so you can get a real read on what the market is paying. 

A players are much harder to replace than B players. 

Culture is cool.

Create a culture that promotes work-life balance, open communication, and collaboration. Recognize and reward employees for their contributions, providing a sense of belonging and job satisfaction.

The retention stats don’t lie….


Maximising your hiring budget whilst building high-performing teams through efficient job design requires a strategic approach that encompasses search, selection, and retention.

Remember… investing in finding the right people, making informed decisions and fostering a positive work environment ultimately leads to long-term success and cost savings in talent acquisition.

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Ellis Taylor
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