Whether you are a founder hiring for the first time, or an executive building out a new function—the excitement of hiring can often lead to skipping your prep work and going straight into talking to candidates. As tempting as it is to rush past the first planning process, it’s better to slow down and figure out the core requirements for the role. Thoughtful planning before launching a search will increase your odds of finding the right fit.

This article describes the three steps you need to take before jumping headfirst into a candidate search.

1. Think About Today and Tomorrow

The first step in this process is understanding the current state of your business. An open role is either a sign of resource constraints or a missing function. Identify what work is currently being accomplished within the scope of the new role, and take note of any gaps. This information will drive the specifications of the role and job description. 

Next, you need to envision the future of the role. What are the next steps for your future employee once these initial needs are met? Think six, twelve, and eighteen months down the road and envision what success for this person looks like. Leverage these benchmarks to develop necessary competencies for prospective candidates. This framework will help you focus less on what a candidate has done, and more on their character and work ethic.

It is also important to understand your company culture and think about how your new hire will add to it. How does work get done? How do you communicate? What does great look like within your company and organization? Maybe your organization thrives when people are versatile and can jump into a variety of projects. Maybe you want someone outspoken. When you start a candidate search with these nuanced characteristics in mind, you’ll be better prepared to identify the right fit—and your future employee will be better set up for success.

2. Team Dynamics

A new hire leads to a shift in team dynamics. Whether it’s by taking some work off of current team members’ plates, or restructuring as the new hire joins an organization. Take some time to understand how this new role will affect the team and how they can accomplish more together. Developing a role in a vacuum can significantly impact team culture and set your candidates up for failure both in the interview process and once they’re onboarded. 

You will likely need to leverage various team members during the interview process, so having buy-in and clear expectations beforehand is important. I recommend having a team kickoff meeting as a step when starting any new role search. This ensures that folks are on the same page and are brought into the success of the process. Once everyone is on board, you’ll be able to maximize the efficiency of time spent with candidates.

3. If You Don’t Know, Talk to Experts

While you may know what the team needs, you may not know the extent of the function. For example: if you need someone to build a customer pipeline, you might want to hire a demand generation marketer. Do you know what the growth path for these roles looks like? What tools and technology do they use? What are good metrics? Instead of learning through candidates, take time to talk to experts. Leverage your investors to connect you with leaders in the field. Use these conversations to guide your interview questions and process. 

Taking this one step further, if you do not have the expertise that you are hiring for within your organization already, get an expert to join your interview loop. Add them to the end of the process to ensure you’ve covered all your bases.

In Summary

Knowing who to look for, understanding the skills that are needed for the role, and thinking through their long-term success helps everyone—you, your team, and the candidates. A great recruitment process builds your employer brand and sets your new hire up for success. If you have any questions about your recruitment process, feel free to reach out! We’d love to help.