Startup Hiring: Creating a Recruiting Plan for a New Search

When kicking off a search for a new employee, it is important to have a clear picture of what you want to do so you can focus on the goal. Setting expectations for the search is key. Most expansion-stage companies have multiple openings running simultaneously, so having a written recruiting plan is essential to stay on track.

Before you start recruiting make sure you can answer these questions:

  1. What is the search?
  2. Who are the decision makers?
  3. What are the constraints on the search?
  4. What are the criteria for the search?
  5. What is the recruiting strategy?
  6. What is the projected outcome?

Next, create a recruiting plan for the hiring strategy:

  • Phase 1: Planning

    • Determine who the decision makers are and work with hiring managers to define the job profile, budget, interview process and projected timeline. Create a targeted job description based on essential functions and qualifications for position.
  • Phase 2: Sourcing

    • First, reach out to internal networks. Second, create a target list of companies to recruit from. Third, start outreach to candidates from these companies to entice and gain referrals. Keep in mind that you should be adding to your target list as your come across new companies and candidates.
  • Phase 3: Screening

    • These are the initial calls and phone interviews made to candidates. The goal here is to explain the company, culture, and position in detail and to get a better understanding of each candidate’s experience to determine if he or she aligns with the target profile and company culture. If it’s a potential fit, move the candidate forward in the interview process.
  • Phase 4: Interviewing

    • Follow the interview process determined in the planning stage, during which the team meets with the candidate to better assess the candidate.
  • Phase 5: Feedback

    • Regroup internally to discuss specific feedback/concerns from the interviews and decide on next steps. If a candidate will not be moved forward in the process, be sure to follow up.
  • Phase 6: Offer

    • Create the offer package and offer strategy, then extend the offer.
Be sure to create a timeline for the recruiting strategy above. This will allow you to refer back and determine whether the search is on target. Be flexible — the goal of an expansion-stage search is to hire the best candidate, not just any candidate simply to meet a specific deadline. If a set deadline is necessary due to backup of work, specific projects, etc., hire an expert consultant to fill the gap and step in as an interim solution.
Carlie Smith
Carlie Smith
Director of Talent

Carlie Smith was the Senior Talent Manager, Sales & Marketing at OpenView. She worked directly with hiring managers and key stakeholders within OpenView and its portfolio to lead vital searches and provided process guidance on recruitment strategy, including talent identification, strategic sourcing, relationship building, and competitive intelligence. Currently, Carlie is the Director of Circle.
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