If you’re looking to grow your business in the New Year, that probably means increasing your headcount. Whilst you may have previously only recruited on an ad hoc basis as the need arose, having a more structured hiring strategy for 2019 will ensure you have the right people in place when you need them.

An effective hiring strategy puts you in a stronger position to compete for the best talent and avoid lengthy recruitment processes. It should be robust enough to make sure you find the right skills, qualifications and experience for your business needs, whilst being flexible enough to allow decisions to happen quickly and in line with market availability.

Here’s our top 5 things you need to consider when planning your hiring strategy for 2019:

1. Assess your company goals and brand

The first step is to consider your company goals – what are you looking to achieve in the next 6-12 months (or even the next 2-5 years)? Revenue, profits and turnover will have a big impact on your ability and need to hire, as will plans to diversify into new markets, launch additional products or invest in the latest technology.

Speak to your leadership team about significant events that you may need to consider and make sure you have the right foundations in place to launch future recruitment campaigns. Your company goals should be aligned with your corporate and employer brand so that you’ll be attractive to new recruits, as well as recognising the qualities you’ll be looking for.

2. Identify your skills gaps

Complete an analysis of the skills required to fulfil your business needs. Determine whether these skills can be obtained by training or up-skilling existing staff and put succession plans in place where possible. Look at any skills you need to acquire through hiring and write (or update) job descriptions to ensure they contain all the critical job elements.

Remember that a job description should be informative (about the skills required); realistic (about what the duties will be); and attractive to prospective applicants. Speaking to someone who has previously performed this role can help you to get it right and make improvements.

3. Consider the candidate market

Make sure what or who you‘re looking actually exists in the real world. There’s no point creating a wish-list of talent and a lengthy job description for a vacancy that will never be filled. Do a quick appraisal of similar jobs (or competitors) to make sure you have realistic expectations.

Using a salary survey to benchmark pay and compensation levels can help you position your vacancy at the right level. Think about how you will attract candidates based on how competitive your desired talent pool is or consider speaking to a recruitment consultancy to get a market appraisal on candidate availability.

4. Set your timeframe and budget

When you know what you’re looking for (and how easy they will be to find), you can allocate time for recruitment, selection and on boarding. Think about when you need the ideal person to be in place and work backwards. The length of the process will be determined by the availability of suitable applicants, the attractiveness of your opportunity, and your ability to make decisions (or compromise) as required.

Think about how much money and manpower you will need to achieve your hiring goals. Consider all your recruitment resources, their related cost and ROI. Urgency and difficulty will impact on the budget you set, but having an effective hiring strategy will help you avoid knee-jerk decision making that could prove more costly in the long run.

5. Determine your processes

Creating smooth, timely recruitment campaigns requires a consistent, standardised process. You should identify the essential and desirable stages for different levels of appointment, as well as your communication and response times. Considering the information you will provide to applicants and having set decision-making criteria will help to create a positive candidate experience.

You should also agree a procedure for accelerating time-to-hire if the need dictates. The best candidates may have multiple offers and require a speedier process and it is often not possible to have several candidates to choose from. You should have a Plan B in place, just in case your first choice does not choose you.

If you’re planning your hiring strategy for 2019 and would like expert help with talent mapping, skills gap analysis or salary benchmarking, please contact the team at Grassroots today. We have over 80 years’ combined experience in helping organisations of all sizes to meet their growth targets and deliver effective recruitment campaigns.