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  • AJ Cheponis

Identify your hiring priorities

Are you overwhelmed with the number of job openings in your organization? Do you feel like you need to fill all the jobs, right now?


If that’s the case, first, take a step back and breathe. Given the way 2020 has gone, being in a position to add to your headcount for 2021 is a good problem to have.


Still, it can feel like there’s a lot of pressure to nail these hires. That’s especially true if yours is a smaller organization carefully navigating its growth. Fortunately, there are things within your control to make the process easier.


Think about hiring in three basic terms. Consider how you will best:

  • Prioritize.

  • Communicate.

  • Prepare.

In doing so, you can begin to make a potentially overwhelming process a little less daunting. Let’s walk through what each of those terms might mean as you approach recruiting.


Prioritize.


Whether you’re feeling under pressure or not, you may not be able to give equal attention to all open job requests. And that’s OK, because not all job openings are created equal.


Here are some ways to prioritize: Put together a list of all the open jobs and the recruiting stage they’re in.


Identify challenges to closing the job, such as:

  • The uniqueness of skill set required

  • Market conditions and scarcity of candidates

  • Quality of candidate pipeline

  • Potential to lose candidates during the recruitment process


Determine the business need. Some questions you might ask are:

  • Does the job have a high impact on key products, services, or projects?

  • Is this a core job or key manager?

  • How much strain does the open job put on the remainder of the team or department?

  • Is there a cost of vacancy (i.e., revenue-generating position)?

  • Is it a job that you always seem to be hiring for?


Are you backfilling a job? If so, it may be time to reevaluate the Job Target and job description. Keep in mind:


Can the job serve as an internal promotion for an existing employee? Can the job responsibilities be distributed among the team? Does the exact job need to be filled, or will it develop into a new job?


Focus on the jobs with the biggest business need or those that are the trickiest to fill. If it’s tricky to fill the job, determine if there are other alternatives you could take, such as using a third party to help source candidates.


Remember, jobs with the highest need often have the highest risk. A bad hire for the job could be disastrous, so make sure you’re using a Job Target to align on expectations from the start.



Communicate.


One of the most important parts of the recruitment process is communication. Once a hiring manager identifies a job and opens it with HR, it can feel like a black hole of the unknown for the hiring manager.


Let managers know that progress is being made in the search, even if they aren’t getting to interview anyone. Sometimes finding the right person can take time, but it’s better to be patient than to hire a bad fit.


The manager can also help move the process along by sourcing candidates, considering an internal candidate to trial the job, or deciding if the job can be covered by short-term or contract help if it’s an urgent need.


If finding the right candidates becomes too difficult, consider re-approaching the recruitment and hiring strategy or the Job Target.


Prepare.


OK. So you’ve hopefully been able to fill a bunch of open jobs, and you may be at a point where you have some breathing room. Now’s the time to start thinking proactively to get ahead of the need:

  • Determine which area of the organization has the highest potential for future growth.

  • Identify which departments are at risk of turnover.

  • Set up regular connects with managers to get their take on potential openings.

  • Tap into succession planning conversations to understand potential movement.

  • Identify which departments have natural or promising internal candidates who could be promoted.

  • Keep a silver medalist list of people you interviewed. These candidates may not fit the job they originally applied for, but fit the company culture and might be a good match for a future job.


It’s crucial to have the right employees in the right jobs. You can hire the right employees a lot faster when you start with knowing what is “right” for the job and your company. Prioritize your open jobs and get to work on setting the right Job Targets, so you can start finding your next successful employee.


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