What Is a Recruitment Swot Analysis?

What Is a Recruitment SWOT Analysis?

The Great Resignation, skills gap and increasing recruitment costs may have you wondering how you can improve your talent acquisition strategy.

The evolving economic and labor landscapes mean that what worked in hiring prior to the pandemic doesn’t work now. How can you systematically assess your approach to recruitment against these changing circumstances?

An old business standby, the SWOT Analysis, can be adapted to help you develop a recruitment strategy that uses your strengths to harness opportunities while reducing your vulnerability to those circumstances that make recruiting so challenging.

SWOT Analysis in HR

SWOT, meaning an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, was developed in the 1960s and is widely used today. A SWOT Analysis takes stock of all four factors in a business endeavor to create a strategy to ensure the endeavor’s success. Individuals and businesses can use a SWOT analysis to aid in planning and goal setting.

SWOT Analyses are effective when making decisions in business planning. Business leaders who use a SWOT analysis benefit from the balanced perspective it provides. Leaders can make decisions that build upon existing strengths without falling victim to uncalculated risks.

When performing a SWOT analysis, decision makers typically start by drawing a quadrant with four boxes. They then label each box beginning with the top left with one of the four factors: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. In a business setting, it’s best if the quadrant is drawn on a large presentation pad or whiteboard for maximum participation from all stakeholders.

The best SWOT Analyses have the following characteristics.

  • Focus on the business activity in question.
  • Avoid complexity that hinders decision-making.
  • Prioritize specificity and honesty over vagueness and evasion.
  • Include input from several stakeholders to overcome the subjective nature of the analysis.
  • Perform the analysis in relation to top competitors in the business activity in question.

There are many benefits of a SWOT analysis in recruitment. It offers the organization an opportunity to reframe their recruitment challenges using a range of considerations not normally examined. Using this fresh perspective, hiring teams may see patterns previously missed. You may find it helpful to also perform an onboarding SWOT analysis and employee engagement SWOT analysis to gain further insight into your recruiting process.

Recruitment SWOT Analysis

Performing your own recruitment SWOT analysis can help you devise a talent acquisition strategy that will leverage your company’s unique strengths to overcome its particular challenges. It will help you identify the employers competing for the same talent and consider the recruitment process from the candidate’s perspective.

Before embarking on a SWOT analysis for the hiring process, gather relevant data and identify the people whose input will help make the analysis as objective and productive as possible. Recruitment areas to examine for SWOT analysis include things such as distributing an anonymous employee survey or performing a job search and researching your company from the candidate’s perspective.

When deciding how to do a SWOT analysis of recruitment for your own company, follow these tips.

  • Clearly identify your recruitment goals, including unofficial goals that the hiring team may not have expressed yet.
  • Identify organizations competing for the same talent, even if they are not a competitor within your industry.
  • Consider candidates’ perspectives when reviewing opportunities and threats.
  • Gather information from outside sources, such as employee reviews on Glassdoor and anonymous surveys from employees and previous candidates.
  • In addition to considering the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, take stock of those factors specific to the HR department.  
  • Consider only those factors which are relevant in the present or the very near future.
  • Think about aspects of your organization that are unrelated to HR but still relevant to the recruiting process, such as company brand and core competencies.

Recruitment Strengths and Weaknesses

The recruitment strengths and weaknesses you list on your SWOT analysis are factors within your organization. These are the factors you have the most control over, but they are also the items about which you’re least likely to be objective. Again, having multiple stakeholders contribute to the SWOT analysis for recruitment will produce the best results.

Recruiting strengths are those items that positively impact your candidate search or make your company appealing to job seekers.

Common strengths of the best recruitment process include:

  • Pay scale above industry norms
  • Tuition reimbursement program
  • Executive buy-in for the importance of recruitment in relation to the company’s goals.
  • A strong team in which members feel valued and cared for
  • An applicant tracking system for talent recruitment that ensures the most qualified applicants are at the top of the interview list
  • A mobile-friendly job application

Recruiting weaknesses are those internal factors that make your candidate search more difficult or cause applicants to view your company as less desirable than your competitors.

Common weaknesses in the recruiting process include:

  • A benefits package that is more costly and less comprehensive than your competitors
  • Lack of insight about which job sites for recruiting job seekers reliably produce the best applicants for your company
  • An online application that takes longer than 15 minutes to fill out
  • A physically demanding or uncomfortable work environment
  • Lack of advancement opportunities

Recruitment Opportunities and Threats

Recruitment opportunities and threats are external factors over which you have little or no control. They may include an influx of recent graduates, lack of candidates with the necessary skills or widespread crises such as the pandemic.

You may have difficulty deciding which quadrant to use as you’re finding opportunities to recruit better. Some factors, like your employer brand, begin as an internal element, but then become an external factor subject to independent opinion. Rather than getting caught up in placing a factor in the “right” box, focus on the insights arising from the discussion about your SWOT analysis for recruitment.  

Examples of opportunities include:

  • The city in which your company is headquartered just appeared on a list of best places to live.
  • You can recruit from almost any geographical region for newly remote positions.
  • A competitor is downsizing and laying off employees.
  • The local university offers educational programs in line with your industry needs.
  • Your brand enjoys a good reputation in your community.

Examples of recruitment threats include:

  • A recent court case just increased personal liability for employees in key positions.
  • There aren’t enough graduates in your field to fill the open positions across your industry.
  • Your recruiting competition has switched to a fully remote workforce.
  • When performing internet research from a candidate’s perspective, you find that your organization has a poor employer brand.
  • The big job sites don’t work well for your highly specialized open positions.

Overcome Recruiting Challenges with SWOT Analysis

When you’ve finished your SWOT analysis, you should have around five, but no more than 10, factors in each quadrant. Your aim is to develop a “strategic fit.” Internal factors should complement external factors. And strengths and opportunities should effectively overcome weaknesses and threats.

For example, perhaps an external threat to your recruiting efforts is that your local area lacks enough candidates with necessary skills. Ideally, a strength or opportunity would exist to mitigate this threat. Your organization could develop an opportunity by partnering with local schools to develop a curriculum to teach students the in-demand skills. Or you could bolster your recruiting strengths by offering an in-house apprenticeship program.

A recruitment SWOT analysis can help you analyze the factors that lead to both your recruiting challenges and success. It’s an effective way to gain insights into the circumstances that affect your recruiting efforts. Whether you’re addressing the changing landscape of talent acquisition in general or looking for solutions to challenges unique to your locale or industry, a recruitment SWOT analysis can offer much-needed perspective.


Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash

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