hr managers building a recruiting flywheel

How to Build a Recruiting Flywheel

Struggling with recruiting?

You're not alone.

We are all struggling to attract qualified applicants for our jobs.

A simple solution to these challenges sounds appealing, right? In theory, the solution is always to spend more money.

Whether that's... Increasing your budget for job boards, increasing the size of your recruiting team, or increasing your employee's compensation.

Money can't be the solution to your applicant sourcing problem.

While money might help make a short-term improvement... Over time, money loses its power. It plays right into the hands of the big dogs in your industry. No matter how successful you are, if you're a small to midsize business, those bigger companies have more money, bigger teams, and more brand recognition.

The underdogs need to utilize other tools. This requires creativity, agility, flexibility, and speed. Focus on the tools and the strengths that specifically target the weaknesses of your bigger competitors.

Recruiting isn't a one-time challenge. This isn't a "COVID or a post-COVID" problem. This is a problem that's been present my entire 15 years in the HR world.

Talent is the engine of your organization.

As your company grows, your talent engine is the driving factor for long-term sustainability and growth.

And if you want your business to thrive and continue expanding... then you need to fuel this engine consistently over time. Your talent engine is what will keep you moving forward!

The hiring environment is constantly changing

The economy will always have its ups and downs. The entire hiring ecosystem of job boards, competitors, software, and job seekers' desires... it's all constantly changing.

All of this creates a constant ebb and flow of change inside the environment that you exist in.

Sometimes these changes are happening slowly, but in times of chaos, recession, or a pandemic, those changes happen in the blink of an eye. It's a constant change.... Like wave upon wave that feels like it's hitting you, knocking you down over and over again.

And, the effects of this are worsened by a handful of common mistakes we make as HR, managers, and business owners.

  1. We fail to change and evolve
  2. We fail to have a clear strategy for recruiting.
  3. We fail to put in the effort so that inertia will keep us moving forward.

We tend to be passive instead of proactive. And, when we passively go through the motions of recruiting... copying what everybody else is doing, we end up getting tossed around by outside forces. We are acted upon instead of being actively engaged in what's coming next.

Be proactive and build a recruiting flywheel.

This flywheel concept comes from the book "Good to Great" by James C. Collins. While studying successful companies, James noted that no matter how dramatic the end result is, good-to-great transformations never happen in one fell swoop.

To build a great company or social sector enterprise, there is:

  • No single defining action
  • No grand program
  • No one killer innovation
  • No solitary lucky break
  • No miracle moment.

Rather, the process resembles relentlessly pushing a giant, heavy flywheel, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough.

Make recruiting job seekers your competitive advantage

Build a recruiting flywheel with these four steps.

  1. Design your recruiting flywheel.

    I'll lay it out for you so you can take it and adjust it to your own specific needs.

  2. Apply an immense amount of pressure to get it moving.

    The size of the flywheel dictates how hard it is to get it moving and determines the amount of inertia/momentum that will be created once it does get moving.

  3. Keep pushing it to the point of inertia or momentum.

    The point of inertia, or the tipping point, is when you can put forth less effort and the flywheel will continue to spin. Push it to that point.

  4. Keep improving it to keep it balanced.

    It's not enough to just let the flywheel spin on its own. You have to keep improving to keep it balanced. This way... when disruptions happen in the economy, in your local area, or your industry, you will be prepared for it. You will go into those changes with a massive amount of momentum instead of waiting until the flywheel comes to a stop and having to start over again.

At a high level, your recruiting process is one big spinning flywheel. Our goal is to keep it balanced and push it to spin faster. As you grow and expand, you'll start to segment those flywheels into smaller areas by location, department, functional role, or even by source.

It's kind of like the guy at the circus who spins the plates on the sticks.

You have to focus on keeping all of these flywheels (or plates) spinning at the same time... they're each a little bit different and as you start improving, you're going to have to scale down and segment.

The 5 pieces of your recruiting flywheel


  • It's not about you. It's about who you're trying to target to bring into your company.
  • What are they after?
  • What do they want?
  • What do you have to offer them?
  • What's your message to them?
  • What will convince them that you're a great employer?


  • Where is your target audience located?
  • What do you need to do to get in front of them?
  • What is the process for turning that audience into qualified applicants?


  • How do you improve the conversion?
  • How do you improve the likelihood of people applying and moving to the next step in the recruiting funnel?
  • How do you drive higher levels of engagement?


  • Once we've optimized the wheel to get the highest conversion out of it, then we can expand.
  • You expand it by applying more pressure on top. Put more money, more power, more communication, more emphasis on the top of the funnel. You will then squeeze the most value out of it as it comes down.


  • What do you need to do to be ready for changes in the environment, whether big or small? Remember... The hiring world is always changing.

So, we've got a plan.

Check out the roadmap to building a recruiting flywheel. We're going to focus on building momentum to fuel your talent engine for long-term success.

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