Finding an effective candidate — whether a contractor or full-time employee — to join your team can be tedious and time consuming. The good news is that you can cut down on this time-to-team by planning ahead. 

Below, we’ll detail why planning for new hires is so critical, and what considerations you should make. 

The Critical Difference Planning Makes in Recruiting and Hiring 

On average, it takes eight weeks to place a new candidate in a role. That includes recruiting, screening, interviewing, and background checking. If eight weeks sounds long, beware that this timeline only expands if you fail to prepare. 

Say you don’t consider the institutional knowledge the newbie will need to be productive on the project you hired them for (more on this later). Come this person’s first day or week, you’ll be expecting them to make headway work-wise. In reality, they may need two to four weeks to absorb the institutional knowledge before they’re at all useful. In this example, you weren’t prepared for the lag between this person’s actual first day and their first productive day. 
See where we’re going here? Lack of planning can blow up an entire project timeline, so take the time to prep for recruiting and hiring when you can.

6 Ways to Prepare for Your Hiring Process

Unexpected hiring needs arise, it’s true. But when you can plan ahead of bringing on someone new, here are six details to consider for a smoother overall process.

1. Consider the Institutional Knowledge Needed to Perform in the Open Position 

The need for your new hire to have institutional knowledge before they can be productive clearly has an impact on your hiring timeline. So, think about the level of that knowledge inherent to the open role.

If you’re seeking a software engineer, for example, it’s going to take that person up to a few months to wrap their head around the code of a sophisticated application. In this case, you should probably add a buffer to your hiring timeline to account for the learning curve. 

Another factor to consider? If you have someone on staff who can transfer their knowledge to the rookie, that’ll cut down on the amount of time it takes for them to be firing on all cylinders. 

Think about the training needs and methods for your new hire at the same time you’re noting a role’s level of institutional knowledge. That way, you have a more accurate picture of your holistic recruiting, hiring, and onboarding timeline. 

2. Identify the Reason You Have to Hire

The “why” behind your need to hire matters to planning for it. Common reasons for hiring include:

  • Someone goes on on family, medical, or other leave
  • A project begins or ends
  • An employee retires 
  • Your team or company grows 
  • There’s a temporary surge in demand 

Say you know your company’s website traffic surges on Black Friday every year. You need to have your site load tested in October to prepare. That’s a predictable, temporary hike in demand, so plan for it! Maybe you start looking for contractors in July knowing you’ll need them in October. You can do so because you took the time to understand the nature of the hire at-hand.

3. Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Skills Gaps on Your Team

Sometimes there’s an opening on your team because of a skills gap. Imagine you’re integrating with a new, Java-based system. However, all of your developers are accustomed to working in the existing Microsoft stack. You need someone with Java skills to complete that integration work and/or train your developers to do so. 

The good news is that you can occasionally spot a gap in skills before it becomes a hiring emergency. Then, you can plan for it by hiring someone with the skills you’ll soon lack. In our Java example, advance planning told you there was going to be a gap in development skills, so you could jump on the hiring journey well in advance. 

One way to stay ahead of skills gaps? Evaluate your team on a regular basis to assess their expertise and pinpoint what might be missing. 

4. Confirm Whether a Job Is Remote or Onsite

We’ll cut to the chase here: If you want your employees to be onsite, you have to plan for a longer hiring process. 

Most people these days prefer to work remotely. We’re not saying you can’t find willing commuters, but because they’re fewer and farther between, it’s smart to expect it to take longer to find them. 

When you have the time that planning affords you, consider asking the powers that be if they’d consider making the role hybrid to attract additional talent. Or, if your company has multiple offices, ask if there’s flexibility about which office the new hire calls home. That will open up other markets for your candidate search. 

5. Obtain Approvals ASAP — Budget and Otherwise 

While we’re talking about the powers that be…be sure to get any approvals you need before you begin actively recruiting. Again, planning for hiring gives you this bonus time to get your ducks in a row. 

The budget for your new team member is a great example of an item that needs to be approved ASAP. You don’t want to find the perfect candidate only to have your budget turned down, so get the applicable sign-offs up front. 

As you’re budget planning, don’t forget that you might need to update your compensation figures. If you have an employee leaving who’s been there for three years, do you need to raise what you’ll offer candidates to match inflation? Alternatively, do you plan to hire someone as senior as the person with three years of experience, or are you going to start from scratch and train up a rookie? Either way, make sure your decisions are reflected in your budget so you garner the proper approval. 

6. Don’t Forget to Add Time to Tie Up Logistics  

There are a number of potential logistical hurdles to plan for in your hiring process, including:

  • Background checks
  • International education verifications 
  • Multiple employment verifications at once 

The message here is to give yourself enough time to complete, for instance, a background check before someone starts. 

Another logistical aspect of onboarding you can try to get done ahead of time is prepping a person’s computer and other work materials. We can’t tell you how many developers have come to us after being placed saying they cannot yet be productive because they’re waiting for the access to tools on their new work laptops. This is the type of thing you can plan for so your new team member is as productive as possible, as quickly as possible. 

Planning Pays Off

Whether it means your new employee is effective faster or your next project is staffed ahead of schedule, planning for your hiring needs always pays off. 

But no one said you have to do all of that planning — let alone recruiting — alone. Lean on the recruiters at RedStream to keep you impeccably staffed.