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Building an Effective Hiring Plan A Step-by-Step Guide for Hiring Managers and Recruiters

Building an Effective Hiring Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide for Hiring Managers and Recruiters

Hey there, I’m thrilled to share some gems from my own journey in the world of hiring.  This article will kick off a series where I discuss what it takes to run a great hiring process.  I’ll cover the essential skills and habits that I’ve gathered from the best hiring managers I’ve worked with, and through my own several decades of learning and experience. We’ll start by talking about hiring plans.

Crafting a high-quality hiring plan isn’t just a procedural step; it’s about mapping out a journey to find those amazing individuals who will join your team.  I want to walk you through creating a hiring plan that’s not only efficient, but also boosts your chances of getting exactly what you and your company need. 
Properly done, it’s a 30-minute investment upfront, that can save dozens of hours during the rest of the hiring process. 
Develop your hiring plan 2

The Kick-off: Developing your hiring plan

 Remember the moment you decided it’s time to bring new talent on board?  That’s where our adventure begins.  Let’s breakdown the steps to create a hiring plan that’s unique to your team and will help guide your search for a great hire. 

Think of this step as a project kick off – you are going to explicitly identify the hiring team, process, and objectives upfront, so you are ready to focus on finding the best candidates possible and will have clarity when it comes to recognizing and pursuing the ideal candidate.  

This is an essential step that is often missed by people who are new to hiring.

01 Understanding the Role

1. Understand the Role

First things first, let’s talk about the job title and its core responsibilities.  I’ve found the more specific you are here, the easier it becomes later.  This step goes beyond drafting the job posting (which I’ll cover in a different piece).  

The goal here is to make sure you really, clearly understand the 2-3 essential characteristics about the job, so you can carry these expectations over into all other steps of the process – from search, to screening and even new-employee onboarding.  

The clearer and more specific your thinking is during this step, the easier it will be for you to recognize suitable candidates and gain conviction through the hiring process.  Be sure to cover all of the following points.

  • Screen the job title: Ensure it reflects the roles importance and scope. 
  • Detail core responsibilities: Link them directly to your organization’s goals 
  • Define competencies:  What are the ideal behaviors this role requires?  This perspective is useful for discerning between two equally qualified people with similar skills and experience. 
  • Impact expectations: How will an amazing candidate make your team better?  How about you personally?  Consider defining impact thresholds that separate a good candidate from a great candidate.

2. Determine Employee value proposition

Ask yourself, why would an “A” player want this job?  What is it about this job and team that can attract an “A” player, and cause them to stay long term?  Hiring and changing jobs is easier than ever these days, and so it is essential to have a compelling employee value proposition for every role you hire.

I often capture this in a short 1-2 sentence paragraph, with perhaps a few bullet points on the most compelling items.  Bonus points if your messaging is aligned to your professional social media presence and company website.

03 Evaluating performance

3. Evaluating Performance

Great managers always begin with the end in mind; so, let’s talk about performance.  It’s crucial to have clear indicators for probation and regular reviews.  In my previous role, we used customer satisfaction ratings as a key performance indicator for our service team.  It directly aligned with our goal of exceptional customer services.
  • Identify KPIs:  Identify 2-3 measurable performance indicators.
  • Set performance factors:  Identify your non-KPI driven expectations.
Talk about the role’s performance expectations clearly – both in the hiring process and during new hire onboarding. Clear talk on performance will help guide your selection process and avoid surprises for either side. 

4. Compensation Strategy

Have a candid chat about compensation.  Remember, the salary must match the role’s demands and be competitive for what an ideal candidate expects in the broader hiring market. 
And don’t forget to check if your location requires salary transparency in job postings.  Many places require it, but even if your location does not, you should strongly consider adding it anyway. This is because 91 percent of job seekers say that the salary range on a job post impacts their decision to apply.
05 The interview process 2

5. The Interview Process

Great hiring managers don’t want to waste anyone’s time, and so that means they establish and communicate a clear process on how they will make their decision.  It’s fine to evolve your approach as you start meeting candidates and learning about what’s available in the market, but overall, you should be clear at all times on:
  • Who is involved in the decision?
  • How many interviews are planned? 
  • What types of interviews? (single, panel, case study, etc) 
  • Will there be any testing steps? (ie, behavior or technical) 
When it comes to creating an interview framework, the clearer the better.  A clear process will help you predictably arrive at a high conviction decision and make it easier to keep your top candidates engaged.
06 Timelines

6. Timelines 

One of the most helpful things that you can do to set a hiring timeline is to set an end-date. Most experts recommend timelines of around 1-2 months for the majority of positions. However, it is normal for executive hiring to take longer than this. So, choose a deadline that matches the position you are hiring for. Then block out times for first-round interviews, second-round interviews, and candidate review periods within this timeline. 
Trust me, you don’t want to lose a great candidate to a different opportunity because you had them waiting for an interview slot to open up in your hiring manager’s calendar.
I strongly encourage you to talk openly with candidates about your decision process and timing.  Every great candidate will have plenty of options, and talking openly is a great way to encourage mutual transparency and manage expectations.

7. Pulling it all together 

If you’ve done your planning right, you should now have a 1-page plan document with:
1) A role description including:

          – Job title
          – core responsibilities
          – required competencies
          – impact expectations
2) Employee value proposition 
3) Performance expectations with 2-3 measurable KPIs 
4) Compensation defined
5) The interview process defined; and
6) The timelines including an end-date and time blocked out for 1st and 2nd interview rounds

With your plan in hand, you are now ready to create a few critical documents – an interview script, candidate scorecard, and reference script. Along with an effective hiring plan, these documents are effectively the operating system of your hiring campaign and will make it easy to stay on track and keep everyone aligned to your vision for the role.

8. Impact of technology 

Technology is having an important impact on many aspects of hiring.  That said, I don’t expect technology advances to have much impact on the essence of developing a hiring plan.  If you get stuck in a few places, you could use a LLM or AI model for suggestions, but otherwise it is fundamentally a low-tech exercise.
The big impact will be in developing job descriptions, interview scripts and candidate assessments, which are topics I’ll cover in future articles. 

 Wrapping up

An effective hiring plan can transform your recruiting process.  It’s all about understanding the role, being clear on your hiring objectives, and having a clear process. 

This approach ensures a comprehensive and aligned hiring strategy and gives you the best chance of landing a superstar hire for your team. 

 Additional Resources

Need more information about best practices for recruiting? 
Here are some books that I recommend that are great resources on how to create a strong hiring plan.

Also, if you want a comprehensive job analysis template to get started on finding a perfect fit for your team, you can access our template for free here.

Kent 1399x700 1

With over two decades of experience in the technology sector, Kent specializes in leading business and technology initiatives, both internally at Procom and on behalf of its clients.  He’s built teams, led projects and navigated critical business transformation initiatives along the way.

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Building an Effective Hiring Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide for Hiring Managers and Recruiters

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