Recruitment SWOT Analysis

Your Guide to Successful Corporate Self-Assessment

What, pray tell, is a Recruitment SWOT Analysis? 

Why does a Recruitment SWOT Analysis matter when you’re conducting an executive search or recruiting a new executive to your existing team?

How can you best use the results to increase the quality of your hires and decrease churn?

Simply put, a Recruitment SWOT Analysis is a way to assess an organization’s strengths and weaknesses (the internal factors that affect your business), as well as opportunities and threats (the external factors that play a role in your success or failure), and to compare them to those of their competitors in order to help attract top executives and key stakeholders.   

In some cases, a Situational Analysis may suffice.  In other cases a PEST Analysis may also be warranted.   No matter what, it’s always best to start with a Recruitment SWOT Analysis which focuses on obvious direct and indirect competitors. 

Here’s Why Performing a SWOT Analysis Before an Executive Search Matters

Succinctly put, the best executives already have jobs – good ones.  Let that sink in while you recall the number of absolute top executives you know who where ever out of work for more than a heartbeat.  Doesn’t happen often does it?  When it does … it’s most often those companies with the deepest pockets that win.

Your biggest challenge is to give top executive outside your company an honestly compelling reason to join your company, and a compelling reason to stay

Because the best people, the top executive talent you crave, will be attracted to your organization, not to make more money. They will be attracted because of what your organization stands for and what it’s going to achieve. The Best will want to understand your organization’s business goals, its challenges, its assumptions, and its blind spots.

The ‘A-Players’… Top Talent … Tier-1 Executives .. they will all want to understand the organizational culture which drives the way your people interact and how work really gets done. This is why a SWOT Analysis is critical to the success of an executive search.

If you want to avoid chequebook recruitingand build an engaged high performance executive team that money alone can’t buy, you’ll want to perform a detailed SWOT Analysis. 

The best talent will ask probing questions. 

You’d better be ready to answer them.

To get the information for that level of executive engagement during discussions, Perry-Martel first goes deep inside the hiring organization to do a SWOT Analysis.

Only once they have the narrative for the engagement story can the recruiting team go out to the marketplace to present the opportunity to prospects (passive candidates) with authority and conviction. The SWOT Analysis is your base for launching a successful executive search.

So in the context of executive recruitment, competitors might mean direct competitors, indirect competitors, suppliers, and so on. After all, every organization competes for talent at the executive level!

Strengths

Strengths are the things that make an organization better than its competitors. Examples of strengths include popular products or services, an established customer base, a golden reputation in the marketplace, strong management, qualified employees, ownership of patents and trademarks, or anything else that sets the company apart from the competition.

  • Strengths should always be gauged against those of a competitor. Something you do just to keep up with the competition is not a strength. It’s a necessity.

Weaknesses

These are the areas in which a company does not perform well, making it vulnerable to aggressive competitors or negative market forces. Weaknesses might include poor management, employee problems, high turnover, lack of marketing and sales expertise, lack of capital, bad location, poor products or services, a damaged reputation, and so on. These conditions make it more difficult to attract the right candidates, so it’s imperative to identify them now.

Opportunities

Opportunities are things that could make your business stronger, more enduring, or more profitable — for example, the emergence of new markets or the expansion of old ones; possible mergers, acquisitions, or strategic alliances; a competitor going out of business or leaving the marketplace; or the availability of a desired employee.

Threats

Threats are the things that could adversely affect a business. Threats might include changing marketplace conditions, rising company debt, cash-flow problems, the entrance of a strong competitor in the market, competitors with lower prices, possible laws or taxes that may negatively affect the company’s profits, or strategic partners going out of business.

Performing a SWOT analysis will reveal how your organization compares to others within its industry – – – beyond the marketing hype.

This information is then used to identify the ways in which the position you seek to recruit rates compared to similar roles in competing companies.  It can reveal how best to structure the job description and position profile to attract the talent you need and  if it’s not superior, how to fix it. 

It’ll also help you anticipate any concerns that prospective candidates may have about the organization, and to negotiate from a position of knowledge when you find the person you want to hire.

Ultimately, the purpose of a SWOT analysis is to help companies build on their strengths, minimize or correct their weaknesses, leverage opportunities, and formulate a plan to deal with potential threats.  Managing partner David Perry while explain a key concept from his book, Hiring Greatness: How to Recruit Your Dream Team and Crush the Competition, during a keynote presentation for Great People Inside in Brasov Romania explained it this  way,

“Great leaders are strategists first. They oversee the crafting and recrafting of the organization’s strategy to adapt to contingencies, identify relevant opportunities, and respond to changes in the industry. The strategist chooses a corporation’s direction and decides on its best plan of action.   All strategists must answer a sole the question: “Does your company matter?” If leaders can’t articulate why their firm exists, what needs its products or services fill, what makes it different from the competition or where its business is headed, then they can’t make the crucial decisions that drive the organization forward, and their subordinates, customers and other stakeholders all will suffer. And no amount of cash incentive will bring the A-players, Top Talent, Tier-1, executives to the company. And that’s why a SWOT Analysis is critical to the success of an executive search.”

Recruitment SWOT Analysis – no small task.

Usually, it’s done in conjunction with the search chair and maybe the search committee. (If the role you’re filling is of the super-senior variety, you might want to do it with the board instead.) The good news? There’s a chance that other departments will have already done a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Marketing and sales routinely conduct SWOT analyses to ensure they understand how the company is perceived in the market. And odds are, the finance group has a business analyst on staff who can help you out, too.

Are you ready to perform a recruitment SWOT Analysis?

Yes? To start, grab a piece of paper and draw one vertical line and one horizontal line on it to divide it into four quadrants or squares. In the top-left square, write Strengths. In the top-right square, right Weaknesses. In the bottom-left square, write Opportunities. Finally, write Threats in the remaining square.

Next, detail the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the appropriate squares. There will be obvious ones, of course — like, “The company is the market leader for product x.” But you’ll also want to try to uncover SWOTs that are a bit less apparent.

Performing a recruitment SWOT Analysis

 To assess the organization’s weaknesses, it helps to do a little sniffing around to find out what its employees say about it. Good places to start include GlassdoorPayScaleVaultThe MuseComparably, and Blind. You can also try Google and the Better Business Bureau if the organization is large enough. 

Here are some general questions to spark discussion during your recruitment SWOT Analysis:

  • What about each of the company’s main competitors stands out?
  • What does the organization offer that its competitors do not?
  • What doesn’t the organization offer that its competitors do?
  • What is the company’s rank or position in the industry? What about its competitors?
  • How long has the organization been in operation? What about its competitors?
  • How is compensation — salary, bonuses, options, equity — determined at the company and at its competitors?
  • Are the organization’s benefits better than, comparable to, or worse than those offered by its competitors?
  • Are the organization’s advancement opportunities better than, comparable to, or worse than its competitors?
  • What is the organization’s forecasted growth? What about its competitors?
  • Is the company in expansion mode? What about its competitors?
  • How is the company’s core operation trending? What about its competitors? How valuable is the company’s credibility? What about its competitors?
  • What was the company’s revenue percentage increase or decrease for the previous year? What about its competitors?

After you have filled in all four squares, you can use this information to devise strategies to leverage your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and reduce your vulnerabilities and potential threats to recruit exactly the right person.

Using your findings from a SWOT Analysis allows you to emphasize your core strengths and opportunities in the Position Profile, Job Description or Career Advert will help you attract the correct executive for your organization.

Being cognizant of weaknesses and threats ahead of engaging executives in your hiring process will pay huge benefits.  First, you’ll b able to specify the experience, skills, and attributes of your ideal new hire.  Second, you’ll be able to interview precisely and avoid hiring the wrong person.

Lastly, knowing the good, the bad, and the ugly …  signals to those prospects you’re actively trying to woo that you’ve got your house in order together and that it’s definitely worth their time and effort to vigorously compete for the role you need to recruit for. 

In the end, the Best executives will want to know which departments in the company are strong and which are weak and after your first meeting they’ll dig in and find all the dirt ahead of the next meeting.  You want to know this ahead of their questioning so you can answer any concerns they may have and keep the discussions on track.

For more detailed information on exactly what a Recruitment SWOT Analysis can do for your company when hiring top executives just download the SWOT Analysis Insider’s Guide.


Download the SWOT Insider’s Guide

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