The fundamentals of running a business are the most important parts, and often the most neglected by leaders looking to improve. So much is taken for granted that we forget to consider why we do what we do.

One of those fundamentals is recruitment, and you can improve it by focusing on the three “P”s – purpose, process and performance.

Purpose

Improvement of an area of your business should always stem from the root purpose of that area. If you don’t keep its purpose constantly in mind, instead following the well trodden paths of habit and of others’ ideas, then you will never make something great.

So consider the purpose of your recruitment process – to recruit the best possible employees for your business. That means that the process should be unique to you. If your culture is built around good communication then build recruitment around that. If you place great emphasis on social responsibility, or want to draw in recruits who care about the world around them, then make that part of your system. Whatever sort of candidates you want, keep that purpose in mind throughout the other steps.

Process

To be fit for purpose, any process should be up to date. Don’t slavishly follow the latest trends and technological options, but consider whether they are for you. 43% of candidate aged under 45 consider texting a professional way to update them on the recruitment process. Social networks such as LinkedIn are often good for finding candidates who are enthusiastic for your business, and about whom you are well informed in advance.

It’s easy for recruitment processes to end up stuck in the past. This isn’t just wasteful for you, it’s also alienating for candidates.

One of the best ways to find innovative processes is to look at other areas of business and see what you can apply to recruitment. As I’ve discussed in my book Nothing Short of a Necessity…, lessons from marketing can successfully be applied to all areas of HR. But that needn’t be your only source of inspiration. Information systems teams have developed all sorts of tools for managing work flow. PR may have useful ideas about communication. Even lowly admin teams may have insights into how to make the paperwork and administration of recruitment go smoothly.

Keeping your purpose in mind, think carefully about the best process you could create.

Performance

The best driver to maintain performance and encourage improvement is a good set of metrics. Only by measuring, analyzing and discussing performance can you keep a process on track.

Ian Cook’s article on recruitment metrics provides an excellent starting point, guiding you through applying five key measures. If you think something is missing then add it, and if you don’t have the data then consider how you can capture it.

For recruitment, assessing performance means looking beyond the end of the process. Take the time to look at retention rates, morale and performance years after recruitment, and whether your recruitment process is affecting these. A higher retention rate in finance than facilities could have many causes, and when looking at them make sure to consider recruitment – is one department selecting staff better, or setting more realistic expectations for them in job descriptions?

Measures should fit your overall goals. Having achieved such measures and analyzed their results, go back to the beginning of the “P”s. Is your performance suitable for the purpose you have in mind? Are you meeting your aims? If not, look at where in the process the results falter and find ways to improve it. By keeping in mind the three “P”s you can ensure effective recruitment.