Getting Ready to Hire? Here’s Your Check List of “Things to Do”!

Getting Ready to Hire? Here’s Your Check List of “Things to Do”!

by Sara Bennett | October 31, 2019

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Hiring the “Right Candidate” Doesn’t Just Happen Without Careful Upfront Planning!

Whether you’re hiring an employee directly or getting ready to bring on a temporary or contract employee for a time limited work assignment, there is some important homework you need to do even start the recruit.  And yes, your pre hire planning will take you a long way to hiring success!


Get a Clear Picture of the Job….

…the work the new hire will be asked to perform, the results they will be asked to achieve, the software or equipment they will be asked to use, the challenges they are likely to face.  If you’re a recruiter, you’ll  want to talk to the person who supervises the role, someone who is doing the same job now, or the person who just left the role.  The more you know about the actual work content and what a successful hire needs to accomplish each day, week or month the better.

Create a Written Profile of the “Ideal Candidate”

We call this your Recruiting Profile which is a description of the employee you want to hire, and the type of candidate you want to recruit.    The information contained in the Recruiting Profile compliments but is not the same as a job description.

An effective  Recruiting Profile should include a description of…

  1. The level and type of work experience you’d like to find in a candidate that will best prepare them to perform the required work at the level needed. In setting your required and preferred work experience requirements, consider the training and support you or your company is able to provide and the types of challenges the employee is likely to face.  These factors may increase or decrease the amount of experience you need to require (or prefer).

For example, if you are hiring someone for a job managing a team of three customer service reps whose mission is to schedule customers for complex home repairs, you might want to specify previous work experience that includes 3 or more years in complex scheduling environments.  You might prefer work experience in some area of construction or residential services.  You might also want to prefer candidates who have had one or more years’ experience in some type of lead or supervisory role.

Your previous work experience requirements plays a big role in the success of your recruit.  The more experience you want, the smaller your candidate pool, the more you’re going to have to pay the candidate who meets your profile requirements.  In a tight candidate market (like now) we try to help our clients get very clear on what work experience they absolutely must have, different from the work experience that would be “nice to have.”

  1. The skills and/or knowledge  needed to do the work.  Are there software programs or equipment they need to know how to use?  Ask questions and then make a list of what skills or knowledge need to be fully developed at point of hire and what skills or knowledge can be learned on the job.


  1. The required licenses or certifications  required to perform the work.


4.  The candidate’s preferred or required educational background. Does the qualified candidate need a high school diploma, an AA degree or a four year BS or BA?  Is there a particular area of study that you want to require or prefer?   The key in setting educational requirements is to make sure that what you require is actually necessary for on the job performance, keeping in mind that some of the “best candidates” for many jobs have acquired their expertise outside  traditional education paths.


  1. The personal qualities  linked to successful performance in a particular role are a bit more difficult to pin down, but for some jobs can be the most important components of your preferred candidate profile.  “Employees get hired based on their “hard skills” but they lose their jobs based on their “soft skills”.  The more you know about the “soft skills” important to success, the better able you are to find and hire a candidate who is the “right fit”, but defining those soft skills and how they need to play out in your work environment takes thought.  For example.  specifying that a candidate needs to have “good communication skills” means absolutely nothing.  Specifying that a candidate have a calm, patient, and  reassuring manner when dealing with customers under stress is much more specific requirement that will help you recruiter identify the “right candidate”.


  1. Last but not least, your recruiting profile should provide information about the motivational profile of the candidate most likely to get their job satisfiers met by taking your job.  For example, if a candidate is motivated by “promotional opportunity” and you have limited plans to grow, they’re likely not a hire you should count on for the long term.  If an employee is winding down their career, and you’re winding up your group for growth,  the mis-match in motivation is likely to create a problem.

Motivational profiles can be simple statements like  “We’re looking for an employee experienced in sales but looking to grow their career in a complex and consultative sales environment”;   “We’re looking for an employee who likes behind the scenes, heads down detailed work.”

Determine the Rate of Pay You Need to Offer in Order to Attract the “Right Candidate” .

Here’s where some market research can come in handy.  Do a quick search of local job boards to find out what competitive employers are paying for the same type of employee.   Don’t waste time looking for that “ideal candidate” you can’t afford.  Don’t over pay for an employee whose background is “more” than the role requires.

Outline Your Hiring Process

Before you actually get started you need to have planned out who will be involved, doing what.  You need to know how best to evaluate the candidates you see.

Here’s a few rules of thumb…..
  • Make sure everyone involved in the hiring process has a copy of your Recruiting Profile.   Everyone who provides input on a candidate needs to know what your  “preferred candidate” looks like.
  • Make sure you are crystal clear on who is formally accountable to  make the hiring decision.    While you will want to involve others in the steps in your vetting process, there should be only one person accountable to make the final hiring decision.
  • Whenever possible anyone impacted by the right hiring decision, should be given an opportunity to provide input into who is hired.   In the ideal case we like to see our clients include some level of involvement from a representative from their HR team (if you have that function),  the hiring manager, the hiring manager’s boss, the new employee’s peers, and any internal stakeholders who are impacted by the performance of who you hire.  Not always possible, but ideal.
  • Assign someone to review resumes or screen candidates who is not the decision maker. The reason?  Hiring fatigue.  Keep your decision makers fresh…not worn down by looking at so many resumes or seeing so many candidates that they make the wrong hiring decision just to be done.
  • Set aside enough time for thorough candidate vetting – but also make sure each candidate gets thru the vetting stages efficiently. Take too long to hire and run the risk of losing your best candidates to competitors.  Our rule of thumb is that  a fully qualified candidate should be moved thru all steps in the vetting process (from application to offer) in no more than 2 weeks.

Your hiring road map needs to consider the following….

  • Will you rely on a resume to provide you with info or will you use a formal application. In most scenarios, we recommend a formal application.
  • Who will interview? In what way – in a 1/1 or by panel? What information needs to be gathered?  How?
  • How will the information the candidate provides be verified? Keeping in mind that somewhere between 75-85% of all resumes contain some significant mis representations, create your plan to …
    • Verify that the candidate actually has the skills they state
    • Check References – verify that what they say they achieved they actually did achieve
    • Verify the existence of required certifications or licenses? Educational diplomas?

Decide How You Want to Source Your “Preferred” Candidate. 

If you’ve done your homework to profile the “preferred candidate”, when you enter the marketplace to “find” that candidate you have to know where to look.  Every job board is different in terms of the types of candidates they typically attract.  They are also different in terms of their  posting rules.  Some job boards  require you to refresh your posting frequently or to use enhancement features that can increase your costs considerably.

Small employers aren’t hiring often enough to create a “brand” in the digital market space, so each job posting needs to tell “your story” in a way that will attract the kind of candidate you want to hire. Take the time to tell your story well, describing your preferred candidate in a way that will invite them to “click”.

While there are clear pluses and minuses in going into the “passive marketplace” – approaching candidates who aren’t actively looking to make a job change, if you decide that is the marketplace you need to be in, you’ll need to research what companies are most likely to already be employing the type of candidate you consider “ideal”.  How will you identify the specific candidates you want to approach?  Who will approach them?  With what message, and /or compelling reason to consider your opportunity?   Yes, all this needs to be thought thru.

Get Ready to Put Your Best Foot Forward 

In today’s competitive candidate market,  employers need to put their best foot forward.  We recommend you provide all or at least your best candidates with an informational packet that includes –  the job description, a collateral describing your company and what you do, a document that outlines your hiring process and how candidates are selected, your internal promotion and pay increase policies, and a list of company benefits.   If you want to really stand out, include information about the team they will be joining and/or their potential teammates.

Does all this hiring homework seem a bit overwhelming?

Hiring the right employee in today’s competitive marketplace is serious business – requiring serious preparation if you want to get it right.

PACE can help.  In addition to our full cycle recruiting packages, our Hiring Help service model includes a menu of specific services custom designed to help our clients get quick easy access to a variety of professional candidate evaluation services and recruiting expertise.

  • Resume Reviews and Candidate Rankings
  • Preparation of Preferred Candidate Profiles
  • Budget sensitive access to job boards and professional constructed job postings
  • Candidate Skill and Aptitude Testing
  • Behavioral Interview Questions and Rated Responses
  • Reference Checks
  • More

If you’re  feeling overwhelmed or bogged down with hiring details, we can help!

For a confidential conversation focused on your current hiring process and ways our team could help you r team move faster and produce betting hiring results, contact our Partner Services and Solution team at 425-637-3312 or e mail us at


PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 40 years.

A  3 time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire professional recruiting services, Employer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees,  contact us at 425-637-3312 or e mail our Partner Solutions  team  at

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