The Business Model Canvas & Recruitment Strategy in Use


Recruitment is a time and resource-intensive process. It acts as a door to your startup and it’s your job to ensure that the right people come through. Many companies end up sifting through hundreds of applications to whittle them down to a handful of suitable candidates. Then comes the interview stage, which may involve several rounds and multiple staff members to ensure you find that one individual whose goals and values align with your business.

In the UK, the average staff turnover rate across all industries sits at approximately 15% and the average employee can cost businesses more than £30,000 to replace. As such, poorly planned recruitment processes can end up costing your business significantly.

If a new hire leaves shortly after they have been recruited, that’s your investment down the drain with little to no return. And since the current labour market is getting more competitive, hiring and retaining talent effectively has never been more crucial.

So what’s the secret to getting it right? Like with any aspect of your business, you need to employ an appropriate strategy. A recruitment strategy will act as a roadmap for everyone involved. It should optimise the recruitment process and minimise the risk of wasted resources through poor hiring practices. Ultimately, you want to ensure that you’re bringing the right people into your company who will add value and help your business reach its goals.

There are many recruitment strategies already in use, but they can sometimes be hit and miss. A good recruitment strategy should tie into the overall objectives of your business, which is why the business model canvas is a great place to start.

The business model canvas is a popular strategic template that works as a visual tool to help develop business models and document your current ones. The following article breaks down how the business model canvas can also be applied to the recruitment process and act as a useful “recruitment model canvas”.

What Is The Business Model Canvas?

Created in 2005 by Swiss business theorist Alexander Osterwalder, the business model canvas has grown to become a widely utilised visual aid. Not only is it popular amongst startups, but companies such as Microsoft, GE and Mastercard all use it as standard. One reason why the canvas is now favoured over a traditional business plan is that it allows strategists to break their businesses down into the fundamental elements that make money and deliver value.

Instead of a lengthy document that is cumbersome to read, all the most important information is limited to one concise page. The canvas can be printed on large paper, or projected on a whiteboard, to create a hands-on opportunity for the whole team to contribute. It also translates easily to remote work, as it can be used just as effectively as a digital canvas to enable team collaboration.

9 Elements Of The Business Model Canvas

The traditional business model canvas contains the nine following elements:

  1. Key partners – Who are the key stakeholders and partners involved in the company?

  2. Key activities – Which activities are most crucial to the company’s objectives?

  3. Key resources – What resources are required to fulfil the company’s value proposition?

  4. Value propositions – How will the company provide value to customers through their products and services?

  5. Customer relationships – How does the company intend to maintain a relationship with its customer segments?

  6. Channels – How does the company reach their customers?

  7. Customer segments – Who are the company’s customers and which ones bring the most value?

  8. Cost structure – What are the most important costs inherent to the business model?

  9. Revenue streams – What value do customers pay for and how much do they currently spend?

By defining these key business elements, you create a clear roadmap for your business, and you can very easily update this as your business grows. It reduces the risk of failure, by forcing you to consider every cog in the wheel. This helps your business to connect the dots between your product and your customers, allowing you to avoid falling into the temptation of focusing solely on product development.

How Can You Create A Recruitment Model Canvas?

The beauty of the business model canvas is that it can easily be designed to accommodate any niche. It’s a highly flexible framework that can be adapted to fit different areas of your business, and recruitment is a perfect example. When used correctly, it can provide a creative foundation for your recruitment strategy so that you can focus on getting the right people on board.

Everyone involved in the recruitment process can contribute to creating the recruitment model canvas. This can include the hiring managers but also any team members that potential candidates will be working with. This ensures that you have a complete picture of your ideal candidate, who will be able to work well within your existing team.

9 Elements Of The Recruitment Model Canvas

Let’s take a closer look at the nine elements of the canvas and how they can be applied to your recruitment process.

Value Proposition

On a typical business model canvas, this first section would cover the value your business proposes to offer its customers. In this case, you can use this section to consider what value your company offers potential employees. Why should they choose to work at your company? What benefits can you offer them in return for their skills, labour and time? Do you offer flexible working, bonuses, training and upskilling opportunities, or an excellent remuneration package?

Candidate Segments

As a next step, you should consider your ideal candidate persona. What kind of candidate do you want to bring into your company? Who would bring the most value? What kind of skills and experience should they have? Are you looking for fresh graduates or more experienced candidates?

When you define your ideal recruit, it makes it easier to establish where you will find them. For example, if you’re looking to hire recent graduates, university careers events could be a great place to start. For more established professionals, LinkedIn will likely give you some of the best candidates for your requirements.

Partners & Stakeholders

In this section, you can define the key players involved in your company’s recruitment process. This may include external agencies, universities and colleges, and line managers. Whoever is involved in your key recruitment activities, should be listed here.

Key Activities

What are the most important activities that your business needs to undertake to recruit the right candidates? This could mean liaising with recruitment agencies, writing and posting job advertisements, tracking and sifting through applications, attending job fairs, training interviewers, carrying out interviews, or creating a branding strategy that attracts new talent.

Key Resources

Resources don’t always refer to finances they can also include technological resources and the recruitment tools used by your company. Do you use an applicant tracking system to narrow down candidates or another software tool to test potential recruits? Do you pay to outsource your recruitment process? This section should include all the tools and resources used by your company for the end-to-end recruitment process.

Candidate Relationships

How will your company establish positive relationships with potential candidates? Will you communicate fairly and transparently? Will you ensure your candidates have a clear understanding of the recruitment process as they move forward? How do you plan to handle rejected candidates? Will you provide detailed feedback or even inform candidates if they have not succeeded in securing the role?

Recruitment Channels

In the typical business model canvas, channels refer to the ways you communicate with your potential and current customers. In the recruitment model canvas, it’s the ways you communicate with potential recruits. This could be through job boards, social media advertisements, or an internal employee referral system. Do you plan to seek out and communicate with passive applicants? Consider which of these channels are likely to be the most fruitful.

Cost Structure

What are the costs absorbed by your recruitment process? How much do you pay for the software tools that you use? What is the cost per hire? Which resources and key activities consume the most money? Is there a way to maintain a streamlined and efficient hiring process, while sticking to your company budget? Do you need to expand or reduce your hiring budget?

Candidate ROI

Instead of a section for revenue streams in the business model canvas, you can consider the potential revenue generated by future recruits and your recruitment model as a whole. If you recruit a new employee, how will this increase company revenue?  What potential lifetime value could they represent for the company? How can they help your company grow?  What areas of your business seek to gain the most from additional hires?

The Benefits Of Using A Recruitment Model Canvas

Adapting the business model canvas to your recruitment strategy opens up opportunities to examine your entire hiring process and how it impacts your business as a whole.

Here are some of the ways a recruitment model canvas can help your business grow:

1. Attract better talent. Your well-written job ads will attract more high quality candidates. As a newer or smaller business, you have to compete with some behemoths for talent. This is even more true in today’s climate, where the workforce is far more mobile. Gain a competitive edge by using the recruitment model canvas to define a clear recruitment strategy that will attract the right candidates to your company.

2.  Optimise preparation. All this prep will make your interviews and company pitches to candidates more compelling. You have 2 minutes to wow a new candidate on a video call and this deserves the same preparation and focus as any investor presentation. When you do this right, the best talent in your market will want to help you build your vision.

3. Improve employee retention. Losing talent costs your company time and money and if you’re a startup, this can have a devastating effect. By using a clear and well-thought-out recruitment strategy, you stand a better chance of hiring the right candidate who will want to stay with your company.

4. Save your business resources. One of the benefits of using a recruitment strategy tool is that it helps you to define potential costs before setting down the expensive path of recruitment. This can save your company time and money while cutting back on wasteful recruitment practices that don’t bear any fruit.

5. Speed up the hiring process. Utilising the recruitment model canvas helps you identify the most productive hiring channels. As such, you’re not blindly throwing everything at the wall and hoping something will stick. Instead, you have a recruitment strategy that is better positioned to find the right people quickly.

Upgrade Your Recruitment Strategy 

The business model canvas is a public domain material that can be used for free by any business. Your company can easily download the canvas and adapt it appropriately to your recruitment needs.

For more insight on measuring the effectiveness of your recruitment efforts, you can read our article on “How To Track Hiring and Retention Success”.

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