Talent Circles

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Applying SWOT Analysis in Recruitment

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Your company just announced that they are expanding into new territory whether it be state-side or global and your recruiting team is now tasked with recruiting for this new market. It’s no longer enough to take a look at competitors and decide you’ll try this way or that way to attract new candidates because the amount of time and money you’ll throw away will be enormous. When moving into a new market it’s essential that your recruiting department perform a SWOT analysis.

A SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning method that is used to evaluate Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or business operation. Used in a business context, a SWOT Analysis helps carve a sustainable niche in your market. Recruiting teams need to use it for the exact same thing. Having insight into what your competitors offer will allow you to recruit more efficiently.

Strength Overview:

When it comes to recruiting, a recruiter’s toolbox involves the type of benefits, compensation packages, and anything that could be used to attract a candidate to apply and ultimately work at any given company. When performing a SWOT Analysis the first step in the process is to find out the strengths of your competitor. Ask yourself the following questions to help determine the right information:
  • What type of benefits does the competitor offer to new hires?
  • What makes this competitor attractive?
  • Where does the competitor stand in regards to “Best Places to Work” or any other type of ranking system?
  • Does the competitor focus on one specific operation or have a unique focus in the industry?
  • How well is the company performing in current market conditions?
Asking these questions will give you a better sense of what you’re up against when making an offer to a candidate who might have the same offer on the table from one of your biggest competitors.

Weakness Overview:

Being unbiased at this stage of the SWOT Analysis will help your company gain insightful knowledge into areas that your competitors need to improve, which gives you an edge. Take a look at the most influential aspects of a company and find out where they struggle to compete with your organization. For instance:

Company Culture: One of the biggest influencers on whether or not to work for a certain company depends on the overall company culture. You don’t have to be a startup technology company to provide an amazing atmosphere for your employees. When deciding to work for tech giants there are clear differences in how they operate. Take a look at Yahoo vs. Facebook. In recent news, Marissa Meyer canceled the work-at-home policy. For some, that might be a deal breaker, for others it won’t matter or even be a good thing.

The best way to gain insight into a company's culture is to go straight to the source, your competitor’s employees. Most will give you honest feedback on how they like working for a specific company. Sites like Glassdoor and other workplace review sites give you an anonymous POV of working conditions at a certain company.

Knowing your competitor’s weaknesses will allow you to make better decisions with determining your company’s opportunities.

Opportunity Overview:

The opportunity overview combines the knowledge you’ve acquired from the strengths and weaknesses part of your SWOT Analysis. Once you have a full understanding of what your competitors are stronger and weaker in its time to take a look where you can create a competitive advantage. Here are just a few questions to ask yourself when determining where your competitive advantages lie:
  • How does your company’s career placement track align with competitors? Are advances easier or harder to obtain? Is pay comparable?
  • How does your company’s benefits package compare? Is it on track with the average or do you offer things above and beyond what’s required?
  • Who is the competitor’s primary target?

Threats Overview

The last part of the SWOT Analysis allows you to forecast what’s ahead for your company. Determining where your competitors are and where they’re going will allow you to be on the forefront of change and stay competitive in highly competitive market. Take a look at the growth of your competitors, if they’re expanding, their current industry rank, among every other facet of their business that’ll prove a challenge in the future.

Performing a SWOT Analysis keeps companies from spending millions on competition. In the recruiting industry it’ll allow your department to make smart hires and know what must be offered to attract the top talent. How well you prepare for the war on talent will show in the amount of research and time you take in developing a smart SWOT Analysis of your competitors in a new or existing market.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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