Your Pre Recruit Checklist

Your Pre Recruit Checklist

by Sara Bennett | October 31, 2019

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Hiring the “Right Candidate” Takes Careful Planning!

Whether you’ve decided to hire a new employee directly or use the services of a staffing agency to bring on a temporary employee for a time limited work assignment, you’ve got some important things to do before you even start the recruit.

Here’s a PRE-RECRUIT CHECKLIST for Hiring Managers

1. Get a Clear Picture of the Job….

…which includes

  • The WORK  the new will hire will be doing
  • The RESULTS the new hire will be asked to achieve
  • The RESOURCES  the new hire will need/use  (technologies etc.)
  • The CHALLENGES they are likely to face

If you’re a recruiter, a good first step is to  talk to the person who currently supervises the role, the person doing the job now, and if possible 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.


….which is a description of the employee you want to hire, and the type of candidate you want to recruit.    A Recruiting Profile compliments but is not the same as a job description and includes a description of…

  • The level and type of work experience you’d like the candidate you hire to have – experience that you believe will best prepare them to perform the required work at the level needed, given the training and support resources available in your work environment.

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 2+ 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.

Experience requirements  play a big role in the success of your recruit.  The more experience you specify, the smaller your candidate pool, the higher your pay rate needs to be, etc.  Experience requirements may vary depending on the candidate marketplace.  In a tight candidate market we encourage clients to get clear on the work experience they absolutely must have; in a more generous candidate marketplace, the expeerience bar can get raised.

  • The skills and/or knowledge  needed to do the work.  Make a list of the software programs or equipment they will be using.  What soft skills (communications, etc.) are most important to performance success?


  • The licenses or certifications  required by city, state or federal regulations to be able to perform the work.


  • 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?   Be careful to set an educational requirement that is necessary for on the job performance, keeping in mind the chances a candidate may have acquired their expertise outside  traditional education paths.


  • The personal qualities  most important to performance are a bit more difficult to pin down, but are often the elements of the recruiting profile most often linked to hiring success. Good recruiters know that employees are able to get hired for their  “hard skills” but tend to lose their jobs due to deficiencies in their  “soft skills”.  Defining soft skills in behavior terms requires some homework.  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 pin point the “right candidate” in a behaviorally based interview.


  • The  motivational profile of the candidate most likely to get their personal needs met by taking this job.  The motivational  components of the recruiting profile answers the simple question – why would the “right” employee want to take this job?  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.”

3. Determine the “Just Right” RATE OF PAY.  

Here’s where a hiring manager needs info about the local marketplace so 1) they don’t waste time looking for a  candidate they can’t afford or 2) pay more than what the market requires them to pay for their “preferred candidate”.  There are websites you can visit for local market salary data.

4. Get Ready to Standardize Your Hiring Process…

…so that all candidates you evaluate are treated the same.

Here’s a few rules of thumb to include in your hiring plan….

  • Make sure everyone involved in the hiring process gets a copy of your Recruiting Profile – everyone who participates in the hiring process needs to know the type of candidate you’re looking for
  • Clearly assign the hiring decision to one employee.  While you may involve several employees in the vetting process, there should be only one person accountable to make the final hiring decision.
  • Give anyone impacted by who you hire 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 lower level process tasks to employees who are not the decision maker. The reason?  Hiring fatigue.  Keep your decision makers fresh…not worn down by the details of reviewing resumes, phone screening etc.
  • Spend the time you need to vet qualified candidates, but make sure each candidate is moved thru the process 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 10 days.
  • Ask candidates you’ve decided to vet to complete a formal application.  Look at all candidates in a standardized way.
  • Organize your interview process carefully – same questions, all candidates.

Make sure you do what you can to verify the information the candidate provides you – in an interview, on their application.  Check references carefully.

5. Decide Where and How You are Going to Look for Candidates – Your Sourcing Plan! 

Once you’ve prepared your Recruiting Profile, you need to search for qualified candidates in those places where your preferred candidate is likely to hang out.   Every job board is different in terms of the types of candidates they typically attract.  Check out the job postings on the typical job boards to identify those places in the digital world where you want to post your job.

Small employers, in particular are often disadvantaged when recruiting, because they aren’t hiring often enough to create a “brand” in the digital market space.  This means your 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” – if you believe you need  to approach candidates who aren’t actually looking for work, you’ll need to research what companies are most likely to employ 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 these steps in your recruiting strategy need to be thought thru.

6. Get Ready to Put Your Best Foot Forward 

We recommend you get ready to provide your short listed 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 is always serious business – in both tight or soft candidate marketplaces.  Keeping hiring mistakes to a minimum requires you to do some serious preparation.

Our recruiting team is here to 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 Response Keys
  • Reference Checks
  • More


If you’re  feeling overwhelmed or bogged down with all these hiring details, give us a call.  Chances are we can put together a service model that will offload those components of your hiring process that you’ve decided not to do, or are bogging you down and keeping you from other work.

For a confidential conversation focused on your current hiring process and ways our team could help you 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  4 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 Services and Solutions  team  at[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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