How to Make The Case For A Bigger Recruiter Budget

Most of us hate working out, cleaning the house and going to the dentist, but these are essential parts of life that we muster the will to do. Similarly, one part of your job that you may not always look forward to is making the case in front of senior leadership for a bigger budget. Wish you could go to the dentist instead? Don’t worry, we’ve got some tips to help you feel more confident as you make and present your case.

bigger recruiter budget

First And Foremost, Think Of Yourself As A Business Leader

This should go without saying, but you need to think of yourself as a business leader and manage your team like a business. As we’ve said in a previous post: “HR’s Chief Human Officer is essentially the CEO of HR, and our budget should be managed as a P&L: every time we create capacity for our clients and they come back for more, we mark that as return business and increased profit; every time we stare at our navels or shun the opportunity to provide creative business solutions where they outsource around us is marked as a loss.” This type of thinking is more important than ever. It can show where you’re providing true, tangible value to the business and also, conversely, where you can afford to cut back.

Assess Your Budgetary Requirements And Prioritize

As you put together your budget proposal, the question you should keep asking yourself at every turn is: Does this align with the company’s business goals and objectives? If you struggle to find the connection, then it probably shouldn’t be a focus for you and your team. Sometimes it can help to think up a wishlist for your recruiting team — based on what would impact the business and move the needle — and then work backwards to prioritize which ones may actually be feasible.

Meet With Other Leaders To Set Realistic Expectations

One of the worst things you can do to set yourself up for failure is to create a budget proposal in a vacuum. Not only should you conduct extensive legwork to understand the company financials to get a sense of what’s realistic, but you should also consider setting up meetings with other department heads to ask questions and understand at a high level how they’re budgeting. This doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process, but it can provide crucial details you may otherwise not have as you make your case.

Look At What Your Competitors Are Doing

Researching competitors — what technologies they employ, what trade shows and events they attend or host, approximating their talent spend, etc. — and presenting this information as part of your case can be a convincing argument to help you try to secure a bigger budget. You may not get all or even most of what you’ve asked for, but helping senior leaders see apples-to-apples comparisons of your market spend versus that of your biggest competitors can be the wake-up call they need to realize where to make bigger investments.

Data, Data, Data

We all remember the iconic line from Jerry Maguire, “Show me the money!” If you want them to show you the money, then you need to show them the data. Do your homework to figure out what areas you can cut back on in order to redistribute resources elsewhere. Before you present your case for a budget increase, prove that you’ve been a good steward with the resources that have already been provided to you. Show measurable goals you set for your team last year and how you’ve met or exceeded the return on investment. Displaying your track record of success can work in your favor. Then use data to project what resources you will need to be able to grow your business unit for the following year and beyond — all the while demonstrating how it aligns with the company’s goals and objectives.

Deanna Hartley is a writer and editor who has spent the past decade publishing hundreds of print and digital bylines on topics including job search advice, career development, recruitment, HR and human capital management. Deanna has a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, was formerly a senior editor at award-winning publisher Human Capital Media and a senior copywriter at CareerBuilder. She currently works as a content manager at Aon, a global professional services firm. Her articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including the Chicago Tribune, Business Insider, Gannett and Workforce Magazine.

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