A Beginner’s Guide To Setting A HR Recruiting Budget

Author Sean Behr Date May 06 2019

HR Recruiting Budget Planning

In 2015, labor costs made up nearly 60% of all company expenses. This situation is only getting worse because of low unemployment rates that drive up competition for the best candidates. Given labor costs, it is important for a company to take the most efficient steps possible to protect their budget when it comes to sourcing and onboarding the best and most qualified candidates.

Below, you’ll find a beginner’s guide to setting up a HR recruitment budget. You will learn the fundamentals of getting this essential part of your business right.

What is a recruitment budget?

Recruitment planning meaning: A recruiting budget is a portion of the overall HR budget that contains the costs associated with recruiting staff, the cost of recruiting technology tools, recruitment advertising, job posting, as well as travel, meals and anything else associated with bringing a candidate into the office for interviewing.

Steps to setting a recruiting budget template

1. Start your HR recruiting budget template by figuring out the entire amount you spend on new hires

To get a full picture of how much you need to set aside for your recruitment budget, communicate with all your managers throughout your business and learn about the different roles they will need to fill for the next year.

Start by generating a recruiting budget template and circulating it to your managers, so they can provide the types of roles needed and the justification for each one. They should include how much the roles would cost in salary and the overall benefit package, for example health care. These managers will also need to provide information about the skill levels required so you can determine whether it is necessary to hire full-time employees or whether it would be better (and more cost effective) to use contingent workers and outsource the work.

Managers need to provide information about the job level and whether the role would need to be done by a senior manager, intern, hourly worker, or a different employee classification. Additionally, you need to work with HR to discover your turnover rate. The past rate needs to be taken into consideration to forecast how many staff will be leaving the company within the next year.

If you are a new business and do not have the information on turnover rates, you can look at the industry average for a business just like yours, then use it as a basis to work out your own turnover rate in your recruiting budget template. This will enable you to create a contingency budget to account for people who will leave your company and how much will be needed to replace them.

As an example of working out your turnover rate, if your business has 200 people and you want to hire 50 more, with no turnover your total employee count will be 250 at year end. However, if you believe you will have a 10% turnover rate, you would have to hire 20 more people before the year’s over. Therefore, you need to include in your recruitment budget the amount needed to hire 20 more staff.

2. Work out your essential recruitment costs for your recruiting budget template

These are the basic costs involved in the recruitment process, taking into account the tools and technology you will need to streamline the process to make hiring more efficient. Your essential recruitment costs may include the salaries of the teams that source the best candidates.

The following can also be classified as essential recruitment costs:

  • Online job listing sites – Most candidates now find jobs online. Depending on the type of role, there are different online portals from which to choose. For example, if you are looking for a developer, you may need to advertise on a specialist site like Stack Overflow.
  • Branding – A key part of setting a recruitment budget involves working out how to brand your company to make it attractive to potential employees. You need to think about maximizing your social media presence, possibly starting a video campaign and improving your careers page to entice people to make an application to your company.

3. Calculate the fixed recruiting costs for your HR budget planning

The fixed cost for your recruitment budget template should include external agency fees. If you are deciding whether to use a recruitment agency, their commissions are part of your recruiting budget. Most agencies charge up to 30% of a candidate’s annual salary. However, for some specialist roles, the cost could be more expensive.

The following are additional fixed costs that you should consider when setting a recruitment budget:

  • Recruiting events – You must figure out the costs associated with events such as attending job fairs or university career days to promote your company. If you have showcased your company at previous events, use this as a guide to spending on recruiting events. If you have not taken part in a recruiting event previously, you must contact the relevant institution and ask for a detailed itinerary of all of the costs involved. Additionally, you also need to account for miscellaneous costs, such as printing flyers and creating banners for your company’s stand.
  • Partnerships with different institutions – If you have partnered with, or are considering partnering with, a university to source graduates to join your company, the amount you will be paying to attend graduate career fairs needs to be taken into account. Before partnering with different institutions, ensure that your company’s brand is the best that it can be. Ensure that you allocate funds to update your website if necessary and set aside a budget to hire a contingent worker to update your social media, if you do not have the expertise in-house.
  • Salaries for your internal team – Another fixed cost in the budget are salaries for hiring specialists to work within your company. These are mostly HR professionals. Normally, you need one HR person for every 50 employees, so be sure to calculate the amount of employees you have on hand and work out what your company needs to provide an effective HR function.

4. Include  the cost of recruiting technology in your recruiting budget template

Using the best recruiting tools will not only save time, but it will also save money in terms of sourcing, hiring and onboarding the best candidates. When estimating how much recruiting technology will cost, review modern hiring solutions, like Fountain.

Other technology costs in terms of recruitment can include applicant tracking systems; however, if you have a modern hiring solution, there is no need for a separate applicant tracking system. You will also need to factor in cost for solutions like background checking services. Note that your modern hiring solution should be capable of integrating with all other services required for a full recruitment process.

Fountain provides you with a complete and full life cycle recruitment solution as it integrates with the necessary tools for hiring the best candidates. For example, Fountain integrates with background checking services, like Checkr and electronic signature software, like HelloSign.

5. Think about how much it will cost to improve the hiring process when creating your recruiting budget example

Your goal should be to reduce the time and cost it takes to hire from your existing recruitment process. Part of the purpose of creating a recruiting budget is to learn how you can reduce time to hire. Add a prescreening program to reduce the cost of face-to-face interviews. You should consider using a prerecorded  video interview to ask candidates to talk about themselves and why they have applied for the position.

With Fountain, video interviewing comes as standard. This feature provides you with additional information, therefore, you will have a better idea of how a person presents himself or herself before the actual interview.

Prescreening video interviews with written applications will help you make a better decision before booking facilities for face-to-face interviews. Using pre-recorded interviews will have a positive effect on your bottom line. Carrying out face-to-face interviews can be a drain on your resources, in terms of securing the right facilities as well as taking employees away from their core business. Pre-screening candidates will lessen the chance that you will waste money, effort and time on interviewing unsuitable candidates face-to-face.

You can also implement an employee referral program into your recruitment process. Think about different ways that you can incentivize current employees to spread the word about vacancies in your company to qualified people they know.

6. Work out your miscellaneous hiring costs in your recruiting budget template

Review your recruitment process to figure out various expenses that arise while sourcing and recruiting candidates. When you have identified them, add it to your recruiting budget. If these expenses have been incurred in the past, it is likely you will have to pay them again.

7. Work out the cost per hire for your HR budget planning

This is one of the most important steps when creating a recruiting budget template. Even though this is a beginner’s guide, this part of the process should never be left out; without it, your budget will not be useful. If you have recruited previously, you can have a look at past budgets and work out the cost per hire for the coming year.

Remember that the cost per hire will be different for each role. Some jobs are hard to fill. Therefore, you will likely spend more, for example, on specialist agencies to ensure you get the right person.

The formula for cost per hire is:

Cost per hire = internal cost plus external cost / by total number of hires.

Internal costs are made up of what you spend on recruiting within your company -for example, paying an in-house recruiter or establishing a referral program.

Whereas, external costs are what you spend outside your company: for instance, paying recruitment agencies and posting to paid job advertising platforms.

Your cost per hire tells you about the current state of recruitment in your company. It depends on the size of your business and how often you recruit. It also depends on the type of workers needed. For example, if you have to recruit several senior managers in one year, this will drive up your cost per hire.

However, if you have to recruit many hourly or contingent workers, your cost per hire will not be as high as anticipated, if you use the right software. For example, Fountain’s Boost helps to source as many hourly and contingent workers at scale.

You simply let us know how many workers you want, and we agree on a budget. We post to the most relevant platforms (which is made up of both free and paid platforms) for your business and provide you with a simple and streamlined dashboard so you can manage your applicants.

Conclusion: Building a recruiting budget template

This beginner’s guide to setting a recruitment budget should help you plan for your recruiting needs and know how much it will cost for the coming year. It is recommended that you dedicate as much time as possible to creating this budget, as well as using the right tools to maximize the recruitment process, while reducing the cost to hire as well as the time to hire.


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About the Author

Chief Executive Offier

Sean Behr

Sean Behr is the CEO at Fountain and has served in leadership roles at STRATIM (acquired by KAR), Adap.tv (acquired by AOL), and Shopping.com (acquired by Ebay). Behr also advises, mentors, and invests in entrepreneurs and early-stage companies.