Add a Recruiting Audit to your end-of-year to-do list

Rikka Brandon Assessment Tools

As you sit back and evaluate your business in 2020 (and what a 2020 it has been!), don’t just look at numbers. Now is the perfect time to analyze your employee recruitment efforts (and perhaps how much you’ve learned and applied from my columns over the last few years). If you’ve seen a lack of interest in your job postings, had great candidates turn down offers, or just feel like your recruiting and hiring efforts haven’t netted the return they should, a Recruiting Audit can help pinpoint where you could use improvements.

A Recruiting Audit doesn’t require spreadsheets and data analysis. It’s a simple set of questions to help you ascertain what needs more attention and refinement in 2021. Here’s a sampling of questions from a full Recruiting Audit I use when consulting with clients:

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Are you able to clearly define the daily, weekly, or monthly activities and expected results for each role before you hire for it? Do you know what actions they need to take consistently to get your desired results?

An employee can’t perform as expected if they don’t know what those expectations look like. What should they strive for in their first 90 days, 180 days, and year? Are you able to communicate this with potential hires during the interview process?

Do you often have applicants pull out of the process or decline offers? Do you have a high turnover rate for new employees?

Losing good candidates frequently likely means something isn’t working. Perhaps your compensation is too low for your area and the tight labor market. Remember, you’re not just competing against other lumberyards for hourly workers and trades; you’re also up against big companies with similar positions. Make sure you’re researching local salary surveys or on to make sure your compensation is above average to attract and keep quality team members.

Do you often feel disappointed in your new hires?

Sure, you’re going to be disappointed sometimes. But “often” is too much. And this usually means you don’t have upfront clarity as to what you need in the role. Perhaps you have a general idea of what the job entails, but you’re not clearly communicating expectations. This can lead to fewer qualified applicants and, as a result, settling for the best you can get, which sometimes isn’t best at all. Invest more time into your recruiting efforts ahead of time, and it will save you money down the road.

Do you get enough quality and quantity of applicants from your current recruiting efforts?

We’ve talked about this in several of my columns: Ensure you’re treating a job ad like a piece of your marketing, not like an internal job description. Sell your organization and the opportunity as much as informing them of the role. Also, be sure to leverage multiple avenues, from local job boards to Indeed to social media posts and ads.

Do you feel like you or some of your managers aren’t great at interviewing?

A lot of times, interviewers judge a candidate too quickly, positively or negatively, which can lead to asking questions that prove that impression right and cloud their view of what the candidate is actually saying. Instead, ensure your team learns to use “contrary evidence” to get a full picture of the candidate so that they recognize their “gut” reaction and keep an open mind. One way to do this is to try to prove yourself wrong once you’ve recognized that you’ve already formed an opinion.

Conducting a Recruiting Audit with these and other questions can help you identify potential weaknesses in your hiring efforts and ultimately can help you implement and conduct a more thorough, productive process that nets quality candidates and stellar hires.

Rikka Brandon is the premier recruitment and retention consultant for the LBM industry, offering education, empowerment, and expertise. To learn how to get started, contact her at

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