Skip to content
Northern Powerhouse European Union
People, Skills & Talent

Reducing the Cost of Recruitment

James Willerton, Senior Associate at GC Business Growth Hub partner InPD, outlines seven tips to help businesses improve practice and process when it comes to recruitment.

Consulting with organisations across various sectors and locations, one theme recurs: we can’t find enough “good people” to fulfil the workload. 

Research suggests that it might cost anywhere between £6,000 to £24,000+ to recruit a new colleague.  There is also a cost to an unfilled vacancy, both in terms of unrealised productivity and also in the collateral damage of existing staff feeling overworked.

Whilst the true cost of recruitment can vary wildly, one thing seems sure: it is almost always significant.  Even if we recruit for a position successfully, research suggests that around half of hires don’t work out as hoped within the first 12 months, and around 25% of new hires don’t work out at all.  Do you have vacancies which regularly turn over staff?  If you add up the waste per vacancy over time it can become eye watering.

"Recruitment and retention can pose significant challenges for companies seeking to reduce attrition rates. To tackle this issue, it's important to review and measure the true cost of attrition and be committed to implementing change as well as ongoing improvements."

Debbie Jackson, Business Advisor, People, Skills and Talent of Business Growth Hub

Here are 7 top tips for your consideration in reducing what might be the most significant source of waste in your organisation, in a candidate-driven market:

  1. Have a vision for the future, don’t just expect candidates to be happy ticking off tasks from your job spec. Talk about your vision in the interview and invite the candidate to share in it.
  2. Put in place a meritocratic progression pathway for everyone. Talk to candidates about it at interview and show them how their hard work and commitment will be reciprocated.
  3. Invest in effective mentoring and coaching support so that new and existing staff are actively given the opportunity to improve their practice, rather than left to fester. Consider automation of routine tasks where possible so that roles are less mundane.
  4. Ensure your managers are fit for management, rather than being promoted purely on technical expertise or for being time served. Set competencies, training and gateways for management behaviours BEFORE promotion, not later on as an afterthought once you already have problems.
  5. Executives must walk the talk and model the behaviours we want to see across the whole organisation, otherwise trust is broken and messaging becomes inauthentic.
  6. Describe your recruitment process in terms of the candidate experience, and make it as short as it needs to be, enjoyable and effective as you can. Put in place reviews so that you are continually honing the way you recruit to meet the needs of your context.
  7. Be as effective at offboarding people as you are onboarding. Use the probationary period properly to assess fit and act quickly if the fit is wrong.  Consider the messaging it sends out for your engaged / high performing staff when they see colleagues not contributing around them, or the continual hiring of staff who don’t work out.

In summary, recruitment and retention issues are likely to be among your most strategic challenges.  You should measure the true cost (direct and indirect) of your current methodology, introduce changes and then measure the difference.  There are many approaches to improve practice and process around recruitment but it requires focus and commitment.


Recruitment is broken. New data reveals over half of new hires aren't working (

The Cost of Poor Recruitment (


Footnote: if you would like some support in analysing and improving your recruitment and retention strategy, please contact InPD at Contact details for the dedicated team at In Professional Development (



This article was written solely by the identified authors and/or organisations. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and/or organisation – not those of the #HereForBusiness campaign or GC Business Growth Hub.  

Share this post