Answer these questions to create a hiring plan

Hiring plan

Many companies have a haphazard approach to hiring. They start looking for “help” when things get busy, but they don’t really understand what help looks like. They can’t define what the employee is supposed to do, or what the employee is supposed to accomplish within the role. The result is the employee feels frustrated because they don’t know how to be successful. The employer is similarly frustrated, because they have no idea whether they’re getting the full value out of the employee’s work. In short, there’s no hiring plan.

This happens all the time.

Vague, poorly defined job roles and business needs have other consequences as well. Vague jobs tend to attract people who are desperate for jobs. They don’t bring in the top talent—the people who are really good at what they do, who know their own worth and understand the problems they’re there to solve. This means you’re missing out on your chance to recruit the best and the brightest.

How to create a hiring plan

The true hiring process starts before you ever put out a “Help Wanted” sign or post a job online. Answer the following questions to help you formulate a sound hiring plan. It’s best if you write down answers to all of these questions, not just think about them. That way, at the end of the process you won’t just have a hiring plan – you’ll have one that you can share with your team for feedback or easily iterate.

1. Who’s doing what in your organization?

The first step in a hiring plan is understanding where you are right now. Before you can put together hiring plan, you need to know where you stand.

Who is doing what? What results are being achieved? What tasks are being accomplished, and by whom? Are the right people doing those jobs? Be sure to map out the whole organisation (if you’re small) or the whole team or department (if you’re at a big company). Covering all your staff is the only way you’ll know that everyone is being utilised or how you’ll flag spare capacity.

2. What are your business goals?

Now that you know where exactly where you are, where do you want to get to and by when? You may already have some business goals defined, but if not, using the SMART framework may be helpful. Regardless, note down your business goals whether they’re revenue focused, customer focused or maybe they’re around delivery of particular projects or products.

You can go through this process no matter what your situation is. If you manage a department you can take a look at department goals and metrics. You can ask yourself if your current staff is helping you achieve the vision. Be honest about where you are now, where you want to be, and what kinds of people you’ll need in order to get to the “next level.”

3. How many people will you need?

With your goals in mind, build a picture of a team that fits that vision and can help you deliver it. Know why each person is there, what they spend their days doing, and how their work supports the team.

Don’t be afraid of detail. For example, you need to know that each sales rep needs to bring in $X in revenue every month. You need to know that the web designer needs to be able to turn around X number of websites every single month.

Be practical and refer to what you outlined in step 1. If you know that currently a salesperson brings in $500k each year and your business goal is $4m in additional revenue, then you need 8 more salespeople who are just as good. Remember that you’ll also need someone to manage that group and they may need additional support from appointment setters or marketing so add those roles to your list as well.

This is just top level thinking, but it gives you a clear map of your needs. It ensures you don’t suddenly hire a customer service representative that wasn’t anywhere in the plan, just because things get busy. It helps you know what each hire is going to accomplish for you and your business.

It’s important that you end up with a list of specific job roles and number of people against them. This is crucial when it comes to the tactics you will deploy in your hiring plan.

4. What sorts of people do you need?

There are a variety of factors to evaluate for the roles you identified.

Think about which ones you need full-time, which ones are part time and who you think should be on a contract basis. Full-time team members bring in other overhead like office space, benefits and incentives, while part timers carry the extra admin of managing shifts and timesheets and, like contractors, may not have their heart in the business and therefore may not be as effective. On the other hand, they offer a flexible solution with less commitment for you, should you need to downsize in the future.

Cultural fit in another important consideration. If these aren’t your first hire, you’re not starting fresh here, but when you’re building a plan, you have an opportunity to make decisions as to how you want to influence your company culture. Perhaps you’re going to hire a lot of salespeople and want to inject a bit more competitiveness into the process. That means you’ll be hiring someone with slightly different attributes than your current team.

Finally, think about the “must haves” in terms of skills and experience for these roles. Start with the essentials that will help you determine the seniority of each role. If you can, dig into job descriptions already. Effective job descriptions are essential to the success of your hiring plan, but you don’t need to complete them just yet. When you’re ready, check out our blog to get the know how on writing job descriptions which will land you the right type of applicant.

5. How quickly do you need to hire?

Different hiring techniques are faster than others so think about how quickly you need what types of people. Your hiring plan should identify who’s needed immediately as well as who’ll you’ll need on a monthly and quarterly basis for the year ahead (to the best of your ability).

For ongoing hires (such as engineers, sales or support), make sure you list the jobs on your website, share them on social media regularly and remind staff to pass on referrals. If you don’t care about speed, you could try putting job ads on job boards, but that hiring tactic usually results in a lot of low quality applications that cost you a lot of overhead so use them with caution. If speed is of the essence, specialist recruiters may be the way to go. Obviously, I’d love for you to use Search Party recruitment marketplace if you want to use a specialist recruiter (you’ll save time and money over going direct). If you do, expect to pay 8%-10% of end salary per hire, depending on the seniority and specialisation of the role. If you go to recruiters direct, you’ll likely end up paying 15%+. Make sure you take costs (fees as well as time spent managing applications, if you use job ads on job boards) into account and note them in your hiring plan.

Get started on creating your hiring plan

Once you understand who’s doing what, decide on business goals and think about your future needs and, you can identify what sorts of roles to hire for and what kinds of people you want to fill them with. That’s the easy part of the hiring plan – then you actually need to execute it!

If this is all new to you, gaining advice from start-up forums and friends who have gone through similar processes can also provide helpful insights, so don’t be afraid to do a bit of googling before you finalize your hiring plan. Good luck!

Magda Walczak

Magda Walczak is the Chief Customer Officer at Search Party, the world's first marketplace that connects employers, recruiters and job seekers. She's a passionate supporter of animal rights and author of Saylor's Tale, a children's book promoting responsible pet ownership.

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