Ensuring the Right Hire – A Recruitment Plan

After a hard hitting recession left traumatic down-cycles in many industries, recruiting efforts are now on the rise, fuelling labour growth within organizations.  Economists sense that the worst of the recession is over and this is increasingly being reflected in the Canadian labour market.

According to its latest survey, CareerBuilder.ca reported companies across most industries plan to add employees to their payrolls in 2010[1]. Forecasts are for a 29 % increase in full-time permanent employee openings, a sharp rise from 2009. With a priority focus on hiring technology and revenue generation positions, followed by business development, marketing and sales roles; it is prudent for organizations to position themselves to attract talent by optimizing their recruitment tactics.

A hiring plan should respond to a stronger employment picture and can provide competitive advantages, “right time” advantages, and lowered costs.  Regardless of the organization’s size, it is a road map to a successful hire involving systematic, reproducible procedures.  A general recruitment plan takes into account the following steps:

Defining the requirements:

  • Identify the requirements and the candidate profile.  Define strengths, weaknesses and skill gaps, and specify the personality types which will mesh best with the existing team. The ideal candidate should be identified by tangible, measureable attributes, easily recognizable on the resume and not subject to interpretation. i.e. 10 years experience.
  • A well defined profile will help screen applicants.  This profile should be detailed, addressing key success factors, areas of expertise expected and skills.[2] It allows for a quicker short-listing process; helping the recruiter to write better targeted ads and screen responses.
  • Determine the timeframe. The plan needs to reflect this timeline, which includes dates for advertising and sourcing, interviewing, background checks and offers.

Allocating the budget:

  • The budget should be seen as an investment decision.  It should address the target compensation, internal employee time allocation and the cost of sourcing and orientation.
  • The target compensation must be sufficient to attract candidates at the level of the hirer’s expectation.

Sourcing the Candidates:

  • Sourcing decisions are usually made based on budget availability and size of the qualified talent pool.  Generally speaking, the larger the talent pool, the lower the cost of sourcing qualified candidates.
  • Comprehensive job descriptions and testing tools should be evaluated and consistently revised for new ideas. Creating them in different languages and formats may be useful.
  • Decide the scope of publications and appropriate channels of recruitment for each posting. This decision is based on level of the position. Executive-levels usually demand a wider catchment area. The length and term of the position will dictate the appropriate solutions using various resources, such as professional recruiters, employment and/or online networking sites.
  • When working with recruitment firms, a well-defined hiring plan should be developed. Recruiters can help to refine the hiring process and set realistic goals, such as salary and the availability of the skill sets needed[3]. Experienced recruiters tend to have their fingers on the pulse of the local industry and talent pool. This expedites the process by pre-qualifying candidates, eliminating the need to interview individuals who may be inappropriate.
  • Most poor hiring decisions are often a consequence of an inadequate pool of candidates.  This is usually caused by ineffective sourcing activities.

Screening the Candidates:

  • Develop standards for short-listing candidates based on desired characteristics.  Implementation of a screening process brings focus to the initiative and measures the candidate’s background against the desired profile.[4] This eliminates the need to interview each applicant and streamlines the process.
  • A standard set of interview questions should be created to screen the  candidates. These questions determine whether the candidate’s skills, experience and thought process is congruent with the requirements and ideal profile.
  • Candidate documentation and interview notes should be precise and detailed and should be tracked in a fair manner.
  • The screening process should be conducted on non-subjective terms. Each interviewer should be able to evaluate the job candidate’s personality and potential on-the-job performance based on the information gleaned during the interview.
  • Online assessment tools are very helpful for screening both personality and/or skills. There are many excellent suppliers of these (https://www.barrettrose.com/assessing.php). The most appropriate application is to treat it as an additional data point in the process[5].

Assessing the Candidates:

  • Candidate assessment should be a combination of objective and subjective criteria and should be done by a representative committee.  Participants should be restricted to those who have responsibility for the candidate’s career path and on the job performance, and those who would have previously demonstrated the ability to make insightful assessments of interviewees.  They should be knowledgeable individuals, who exhibit the organizations core values and can make a favourable impression.
  • Ideally, each interviewer will assess a different area of the potential employee’s qualifications: cultural fit, technical capabilities, relevant experience, ability to communicate, interpersonal effectiveness, and so forth[6].
  • If the decision to hire from outside is made, brief everyone involved in the hiring process to ensure awareness of roles and time frames.

Selection and Attraction:

  • Securing the candidate involves attracting the individual, negotiating offers and closing the deal.


  • Properly integrating the person into the organization includes orientation and a training plan.
  • Regular follow-up in the early stages with key players will ascertain whether the new hire is comfortable in their role and expectations.  It can be a formal mentoring process or orientation.  The choice is up to the company and should meet the needs and culture of the organization[7].
  • Orientation is the most critical aspect of making great hires.  Organizations renowned for the quality of their people achieve this with their training programs, starting with the on-boarding process.


Research shows that the majority of organizations do not have a documented recruiting process, let alone one specifically developed to respond to a more competitive labour market during a recovery of the economy[8]. The success of recruiting activities lies in its plan, regardless of organization size.

Recruiting plans should set specific measurable objectives that are realistic yet challenging. Regardless of the strategies, an established process for identifying resources, coupled with critical thinking and a well-defined hiring plan can maximize efficiency and enhance the chances of making the right hire to fill the organization’s needs.

Written by: Vikki Ali

[1] Canadian Business Online

[2] Manage Smarter

[3] CIO Update

[4] Manage Smarter

[5] Manage Smarter

[6] iStaff Solution

[7] Manage Smarter

[8] ERE Media