Why is a Hiring Strategy Important?

The decision to hire a new employee is one of the biggest investments a company can make. And yet it is usually the one that is given the least amount of time and attention. A bad hiring decision can cost companies thousands of dollars, along with time, momentum and even morale. You can choose to simply refill the open slot and run the risk of repeating past mistakes, or you can use the hiring process as an opportunity to take inventory and give your department a much-needed checkup that will improve the overall health and direction of your organization.

Develop an Effective Hiring Strategy

There are six major causes of hiring failure:

  1. Poor understanding of job function and responsibilities
  2. Poor definition of job-related objectives
  3. Poor communication with candidates regarding expectations
  4. Poor culture/personality match
  5. Inadequate initial screening, including poor reference checking
  6. Overselling of company, career and income potential

But this doesn't have to be your story.

To determine what you are looking for in a candidate, what your staffing objective is, how you will recruit, and what kind of budget you have to work with, you need to create an orderly, common-sense approach to evaluating what you need and how to get it. As any athlete will tell you, a winning performance is measured by the effort exerted before the event. The extra sweat you put into addressing these issues now will greatly impact future hiring success.

With the right game plan in place, you can make the hiring process a strategic boost for your company. Here are the six steps to hiring success:

1. Define the position

Defining the job is essential to recruiting and screening talent. The goals and objectives outlined in the position description will allow you to evaluate talent effectively and to communicate clearly and precisely what the job expectations will be. Being clear and forthright with candidates regarding their responsibilities and how their success will be measured is an integral part of any hiring strategy.

2. Know your company and department

Make sure you have a clear idea of the company and department, their primary business objectives, the work culture, the performance expectations, etc., so you can effectively evaluate talent for placement within these boundaries. What is the company's mission statement? How do employees interact? What are the relationships like between departments, employees and clients? You might also consider the current weaknesses and strengths of the department. Did the opening evolve out of department growth or was it part of a pattern of turnovers that indicates a more serious internal problem? The answers to these questions will impact your overall hiring strategy.

3. Determine your timeframe

What is the absolute latest date the new hire should be on board? What is the ideal start date? You will need to allot time for recruiting, evaluating and hiring. The length of this process will affect your recruiting options and how much manpower and money you will need to accomplish your goals. You should also recognize that a new hire is not going to be at peak performance the first day of the job. You'll need to account for acclimation and training time. The new hire also may need to give several weeks notice to his or her previous employer. All of these time factors must be considered during the planning process.

4. Develop a budget plan

In most cases, a hiring manager is provided with a budget ahead of tiem to allocate to hiring new talent. Within these budget parameters, it is important to determine what the outreach strategy is going to be, the related costs and the anticipated ROI. Determine where and how you will get the most out of every budget dollar spent. Are your expectations realistic? List all of your hiring resources, such as the HR department, outside recruiters, affiliations, peers, etc. and develop a marketing plan that considers ways to communicate effectively leverage them

Other recruitment opportunities to consider and factor into your budget include:

  • Industry-related events (networking events, conferences, targeted job fairs)
  • Print and web advertising
  • Corporate website
  • Educational institutions
  • Staffing agencies
  • Referrals

Once you have researched the cost and the potential ROI of these resources, you can determine the path you will pursue. The extraordinary cost of recruiting is an important reminder not to make "knee-jerk" or emotional hiring decisions.

5. Assess your hiring options

When reviewing the position requirements, it is always a good idea to look internally first. More than one company has been known to spend thousands of dollars on recruitment, only to realize later on that what they were looking for had been right under their noses all along. A current staff member who can be promoted to the new opening can provide much value to an organization. Since they already know the company, they be easier to get trained and get acclimated faster.

Consider also rearranging tasks among your existing staff to make room to bring in a weaker or stronger candidate depending on your needs. Depending on your budget and long-term goals and objectives, it may also make more sense to hire contract or temporary help.

6. Collaborate across departments

Hiring talent is not a one-person operation. It requires the deployment of resources across the organization. The following team members will be able to help you throughout the hiring process:

  • Internal staff: Enlist the help of your team to create the position description, research recruitment options, write and design advertising, screen and interview prospects, etc.
  • Training and development team: Are there training materials already developed? Who will train and monitor the new person? Collaborate with the training and development team to come up with a schedule that works.
  • Human resources department: Educate your HR team on your hiring needs and what you expect from candidates. Make sure they have a clear understanding of the position so that they can manage the hiring process effectively and help you find the right candidate.

Hiring takes a lot of preparation. The process--from the time a position opens to the time it is filled--will be expensive, but the cost of a bad hire can be considerably more.