Planning & preparation

road map sign

Before you start looking for directions on a journey, you need to understand where you are now, where you want to get to, how long it will take and the resources you will need to get you there. You need to make a plan.


If your company doesn’t have a dedicated resource looking after recruitment, chances are your hires are reactive to a change in the business. That change may have been impending, but lack of prioritising has meant it has become urgent and you need someone immediately. As with most aspects of business, a rushed job can result in disappointment. The more planning you can do at the outset of your recruitment needs, the smoother the process will run and the outcome will be more satisfactory.

Definition of needs

Whether you are replacing a current employee or creating a new position, it is worth taking some time to define what you are really looking for. Is it a specific job title with specialist requirements or is it a mix of roles such as sales, marketing, HR, finance and administration?


If you are hiring for a new position, jot down what the requirements of the job are, the specific duties and tasks and the type of skills and experience that would be needed to fulfil the role.


If you are replacing an employee, this is a good opportunity to review if hiring someone with similar credentials would meet the needs of the job. You might want to expand the role or amend the original job specification to find someone with more suitable capabilities.


What is the scope for the job?

At this stage you will already have an idea of why you are hiring for this position and a feel for how you will see the role developing. It’s important to detail key targets or objectives in your job specification.

Increase sales by 30% in the next two years.

Expand the market across the whole country/into three territories in Europe by 2018.

Deliver a plan for expansion within the next six months.

Devise a marketing strategy that will introduce the new product/service.

Where does this role fit in the organisation?

For existing roles, this is often self-evident; but for new roles often not. You will need to define where this role fits in, who it reports to and if anyone reports in to it. Build this into your job specification.


Before you start sourcing externally you should look internally at your current staff. You might be looking for a finance assistant and be unaware that your receptionist is taking finance exams. This is where a skills audit can be helpful.

Skills audit

Maybe you’ve already carried out a skills audit in the past. If so, it’s always worth refreshing every six months. If you haven’t, it’s a really useful practice and might actually alter your hiring plans.


Skills audits are also useful for the ongoing professional development of your current staff and can often solve skills gaps already existing in your company. Equally, they can ensure that when you are setting the experience level and salary package of your new hire, you have benchmarked against any potential peers.


For an example of a skills audit click here

Recruitment timetable

The final piece of your planning is to map out the recruitment process. This will let you know how long the whole process will take and give you clarity around the outcomes you want at each stage. This is particularly important as you can schedule when you want your new hire to start and agree how many people you want to meet at the first interview stage.


For example, many clients contact us asking for someone to start “asap”. That’s natural. However we need to define what “asap” entails. Do you absolutely need someone to start next week or can we consider someone who will need to serve a four week notice? This is worth considering, as the pool of candidates accessible right away, is considerably smaller than those who are on notice. A simple recruitment timetable guide can help you map out your process.

Always remember on your journey:

Market Reputation
you don’t want to go to market without having thought through the process and what you need. It could damage your reputation if you have to change your requirements.

Candidate experience
by planning out the details of the job at the outset, the candidate will be fully informed

Skills Shortage
have you considered you might not need to hire? The skills you require might be sitting in your office. Or you could find it’s easier and less expensive to retrain a current staff member.

The next step

The job specification

Fast track your recruitment