Talent Acquisition

How to Ask for More Recruiting Budget

You know the feeling. You’re desperate to increase your recruiting or branding budget to attract and influence the right candidates, but asking your CEO, CHRO, CFO or COO for more money feels only slightly less painful than a root canal.

Remember, without the key metrics to backup your request and pitch, you’re seriously handicapping your efforts inside the C-Suite, which rightfully scrutinises 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 make a massive difference to winning over the CEO, freeing up budget and ultimately, influencing and hiring top talent.

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 co-ordinators 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, the average cost per hire in the UK is estimated at £3,000. That’s a great benchmark to leverage in your justification. How does your cost-per-hire compare?

In the UK, it takes an average of 27.5 days to hire, according to a Glassdoor survey. 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 maths can win the day.

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

So 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.

For example, did you know that informed candidates found on Glassdoor are actually twice as likely to be hired than job seekers from other job sites? (1) That’s because before even applying, they’ve used Glassdoor to find out everything they can about your organisation, which means they have realistic expectations from the start. And once hired, they turn out to be your best employees who stay longer.  

Now, put on your marketing hat. Building, promoting and taking advantage of a strong employer brand is like a 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 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 (2), which includes responding to company reviews, updating its profile and sharing updates on its culture. Finally, a good employer brand can actually lower recruiting costs by 22% recruitment fees (3).

[Related: The Proven Value of Employer Brand]

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 as 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 twice as many qualified candidates at a 30% lower cost-per-hire, we’ll maximise 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!

For a step-by-step guide on how to ace your recruiting budget pitch, check out How to Present Data from Your Hiring Channels to Executives.  

  1. Based on app-to-hire ratios in a 2015 study of 30 million applicants from a leading third-party recruitment agency
  2. Glassdoor Site Survey, October 2013
  3. Employer Branding Global Trends Report, May 2014

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