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HR

How to head off hiring mistakes and find the right employees for your business

Posted by Shivali Anand

May 24, 2021    |     10-minute read (2002 words)

The number of job openings in the U.S. hit a two-year high in February, according to a Labor Department report, as hiring picked up in response to growing domestic demand underpinned by an improving domestic economy and the distribution of more COVID-19 vaccinations. Job openings increased by 379,000 in February, a number well above the pre-pandemic rate that surprised analysts. Many economists predict that the labor market will make larger gains as vaccinations continue to reach a wider swathe of the population.

As signs of recovery begin to take shape, so too does the need for many businesses to find new talent. To hire the best employees, start by developing a hiring plan that delineates what traits are needed in an ideal candidate. The plan should provide a straightforward method of homing in on potential candidates and then further sorting through to find employees that provide the best fit for your needs.

Hiring is intrinsically complicated, but having a plan in place before you even need to fill a position will ultimately help attract quality candidates. Recruiters say businesses are spending much more time and money on hiring, but that many are doing a poor job at it. The process is typically complex and time-consuming, but a hiring plan expedites the process, reduces turnover and helps build a team that will grow your business.

What is a hiring plan?

A hiring plan is a detailed document outlining a company's process for recruiting and selecting new employees. It should be modified as needed for each department, position or job opening. The plan makes the hiring process more efficient by assisting managers in focusing their efforts on the most promising candidates. As a predetermined plan that identifies the goals and attributes needed for a particular position, the hiring plan is a guide to filling the role with minimal downtime for the company. 

The basics of a hiring plan

The job search process fundamentally begins with a job description that details the specific duties and requirements of the position. The hiring plan should list of all the necessary steps required to fill the open position through recruitment efforts. It must also address the most important elements and information about each job opening. As your business grows, keep adapting the recruiting aspect of your hiring plan accordingly to reflect new positions that you might want to fill and expand upon it as needed. Basically, the purpose of a hiring plan is to create a framework for bringing in the best possible candidates for your open positions in the company. It should have an excellent recruiting plan embedded within it to include all required information for each position, and it must flexible enough to allow it to grow and change as you add new positions.

Essentials of a hiring plan:

  1. Job description: You must include a space for the job description that outlines qualifications and responsibilities. In addition, consider explaining your company's mission and providing potential employees a better idea of the job's specifics. List budgetary restrictions, such as the salary and benefits you offer, along with benefits such as vacation time.
  2. Job title: List the job title with a company name or acronym in the center of the page so that it is easily seen at a glance. Place the job title above the description section as well as below the qualifications section.
  3. Responsibilities: List all tasks you require the candidate to perform in the job description. Key responsibilities should be in boldface and underlined.
  4. 4. Any details about the job: Explain the type of employee you seek to hire, and whether it will be a full-time, part-time or temporary position, as well as how many employees will be hired for the role.
  5. Timeline: A schedule of steps involved in the hiring process is indispensable. Create a timeline for completing each step. For example, explain whether the interview process includes phone, Skype and/or in-person interviews. 
  6. Target audience:To find the most qualified applicants for a position, carefully consider what traits and qualifications you want to attract for the role. Research the education level, skills and experience of candidates who match your company’s requirements. Include a summary of these requirements. 
  7. Outreach methods:List your marketing strategies for reaching your target audience and what resources you will use to attract them. Get specific in describing the types of online and offline mediums you plan to use for hiring. Market your job through various channels, including social media, job boards and networking events, to attract the best candidates.
  8. Evaluation plan: Describe the steps you will take to evaluate candidates, from phone screenings to in-person interviews. If certain parts of their application are more important than others, outline how you will decide. Do your best to quantify the importance of each aspect of the process. You may also ask prospective candidates to fill out an application form and submit letters of recommendation and transcripts.

Tips and steps on how to build your hiring plan

Many small businesses hire for a variety of positions using the identical hiring process. The process may vary based on what type of job is being fille, but some basic steps are common in almost all hiring processes. As you think about your hiring needs, consider these common steps.

  1. Identify a hiring need:Identify a job that you need to fill, whether it’s about to be eliminated or a newly created position. Identify the requirement by analyzing your team's strengths as well as areas in which they are weak. This will not only help you find the right people, but will also help understand your company's growth, its current position on the market and where it will likely go next. Otherwise, you are merely wasting time and money. To make this step more precise, determine the role or position of your desired employee. You can either do this step yourself or delegate it to a manager in the department.
  2. Write a detailed job description:After defining the position, it is time to describe what each candidate will be doing. Provide a detailed profile of responsibilities, duties and skills essential for the company’s success. It’s a good idea to include a description of what a successful candidate will look like to help target the best ones. Mention all the job’s requirements to narrow the search to qualified candidates who match the role as closely as possible. If needed, include contact information particular to the position.
  3. Create a job ad and post on appropriate platform: Each job posting should have a standard format with a clear job description. Use the description to craft a posting that clearly communicates the qualities and skills you’re looking for, and don’t forget to inform candidates how to apply. Post a job ad that corresponds with every job opening you have posted on your blog or website. Keep in mind that not every spot is the right place for every job. Be sure to consider classifieds websites, which offer job-specific categories. You will likely achieve different results from each platform. Find which work best for you and adjust accordingly. 
  4. Review and sort the applications: As the applications and resumes start to come in, make sure they are easy to read and understand, and that they include all required information. Take the time to consider each application to ensure you’re not overlooking a potential hire, then eliminate those that don’t meet your criteria. In addition to reviewing for spelling and grammar mistakes, you should also be checking that they meet key skills based on their resume, show enthusiasm in their cover letter and meet the core qualifications for the job. For candidates that look promising, look for evidence of leadership, teamwork and accountability. 
  5. Interview process:Go through the interview process by speaking directly with each person. If you are considering many people, you could have the HR team conduct initial phone interviews. This will determine whether every candidate is a good fit before requiring everyone to come into the office for an in-person interview. Once you’ve narrowed down a group of applicants, you can invite higher-level candidates for a lengthy in-person interview.

 After you’ve identified your final candidate, it’s time they meet with the hiring manager and HR head for a face-to-face or live video interview. This will further help identify who is best suited for the role and determine how they might be affected by specific situations. When hiring a specialist in a certain field, the interview process may consist of several rounds of meetings plus writing samples, aptitude tests, skill tests or other qualifying activities.

  1. Background check: During the hiring process, you can ask applicants to consent to a background check. Once you have a top candidate or two in mind, complete those background and reference checks to make sure their information has been verified, either independently or with your HR team.

You may also enlist a background check company to help weed out candidates with criminal records, bankruptcies or other red flags. Background check companies can verify a "clean" slate, making it easier for you to make an informed hiring decision.

  1. Job offer and negotiation: Once you have confidence in a candidate, it is time to reach out and make an official offer. If you are unsure, do some research and ask for recommendations. Once you have made a job offer, prepare to negotiate details such as salary, benefits, perks and allowances. Be sure to confirm when they can start.
  2. Onboarding: When selecting a new employee, ensure you have all the necessary resources to train them. Make sure they understand the systems they’ll be using, and communicate with them frequently through phone calls or email. You also want to make sure your new hire can access the information they need, so be sure to provide any needed training materials. Some companies may provide video or virtual classes for new hires to learn about their responsibilities quickly. Before starting to put the new hire on tasks, assign them to a mentor or department head who can explain procedures and answering their questions.

Risks of not having a hiring plan

  1. Putting the business at financial risk: Changing leadership can cause long-term damage to a company. A sudden vacancy in leadership frightens investors. This can be avoided by creating a plan that grooms next-in-line candidates. An in-advance hiring plan will outline how a company can replace its leadership without disrupting operations and risk losing market share. The same prevails with other positions; an advanced hiring plan can avoid such risks.
  2. Client’s requirements are not met: When a staff member leaves, it can impact the remaining employees and impair customer service, complicate workflow and disrupt projects. It will also probably cause an increased workload for remaining staff, possibly accompanied by a decline in quality. Delays or poor workflow can lead client to drop your business. A loss of vital team members also dampens morale. 
  3. Recruiting or promoting blunders in an attempt to fill urgent gaps:Hiring or promoting the wrong person is something that often happens as a result of a quick-fix decision for an urgent opening. In the event a top position becomes vacant, sometimes companies hire the first person they consider remotely qualified. In addition, recruiters and managers sometimes rush to fill a new role, even if the available candidates are not capable. This usually ends up in heartache and not worth the trouble.
  4. Plan:The finest way to predict your future is to get ready for it. Planning is not only about what you are doing now; it’s also about looking ahead at your company’s growth. Making an accurate estimate of hiring costs in the coming year will allow you to make big decisions in keeping with your finances. Retaining your employees by offering a good workplace culture is among the best ways to maintain your company’s fiscal health.

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