A confident man wearing a suit and tie in an interview, who is a part of a hiring strategy plan.

What’s a hiring strategy plan? What kind of people will help your business grow?

Business expert Claire Hughes Johnson offers recommendations about developing a thriving recruiting pipeline to draw top talent to your company. She also has advice for hiring the best candidates from that pipeline to fill your teams.

Let’s look at what you need to include in your hiring strategy plan.

Build Your Recruiting Pipeline

The first step in your hiring strategy plan, Hughes Johnson explains, is to build a recruiting pipeline that attracts talent to your organization. She offers an array of strategies for developing this pipeline, of which we’ll discuss three: Write transparent job descriptions, evaluate previous applicants, and use referrals.

Strategy #1: Write Transparent Job Descriptions

According to Hughes Johnson, it’s tempting to write job descriptions that attempt to win over applicants by painting a warm picture of your company. But she argues that such descriptions are often counterproductive, as they obscure the aspects of the job that allow you to attract the right applicants. She contends that job descriptions should offer a transparent picture of the role and its responsibilities. For instance, instead of highlighting how your team members are all light-hearted people who hang out together on the weekends, focus on the concrete tasks and skills required of successful applicants.

Strategy #2: Evaluate Previous Applicants

In addition to outlining the hard skills (concrete skills, like proficiency with coding languages) necessary for a role, Hughes Johnson recognizes that you also need to attract talent with the necessary soft skills (intangible skills, such as a knack for clear communication). To that end, she recommends assessing applicants whom you’ve previously hired for similar roles, focusing especially on the commonalities between applicants who became successful employees.

For example, imagine you’re hiring for a new software engineer—in this case, you should evaluate your most successful software engineers and look for similarities. If you then discover that most of these engineers are especially effective communicators with exceptional time management skills, you can add these skills to the job description to attract similar applicants.

Strategy #3: Use Referrals

Beyond evaluating the skills of successful employees, Hughes Johnson also recommends that you leverage your employees’ networks by leaning heavily on referrals. She reasons that, assuming you’ve hired strong employees in the past, these employees will likely know other similarly strong candidates they can refer. Consequently, by soliciting referrals from your current employees, you can focus on a smaller pool of applicants rather than sifting through hordes of applicants with no ties to your company.

Hire the Right Person for the Job

After you’ve created a healthy hiring pipeline, the next task is to hire the correct individuals for any open roles. According to Hughes Johnson, doing so requires two steps: a consistent interview process and a collaborative decision-making process.

Step #1: The Interview Process

Hughes Johnson explains that you should implement a straightforward and consistent assessment rubric throughout the interview process. Otherwise, you’ll have no uniform criteria against which to judge candidates, making you more susceptible to hiring someone for the wrong reasons (for example, if you found them charming). Moreover, because Hughes Johnson recommends having multiple interviewers meet with each candidate, she advises that you train these interviewers to use your standardized rubric when assessing each candidate. 

Step #2: The Decision-Making Process

After the interview process, it comes time to decide which candidates to hire. For this step, Hughes Johnson recommends that you embrace a collaborative approach to decision-making, in which the hiring manager ultimately decides whether to hire a given applicant, but only does so after listening carefully to the views of the hiring committee. This approach has two benefits: First, it allows hiring managers to hear the insights of their committees, which often supplement the managers’ initial assessments. Second, because this process leaves the ultimate decision in the hiring manager’s hands, it allows them to take responsibility for the decision. 

The Perfect Hiring Strategy Plan to Attract the Right People

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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