An user asks:
Help! We need to develop a good hiring plan so that we can start hiring quickly. Any advice?

Leadership & Strategy mentor Keith Lamb responds:
Hiring talented employees -- and hanging onto them -- is key to meeting your business goals, maintaining your competitive advantage, and keeping your company healthy. Given today' s tight labor market, companies seem to be moving away from traditional hiring strategies in favor of more creative approaches. Whatever your approach, just be sure that your strategy reflects your business' s unique values and challenges.

To develop a great hiring plan, you need to focus on the following five strategic areas. Start by sketching some attainable goals, guidelines, and action plans under each.

  • Budget management. The goal here is to maximize available recruiting dollars. That means you need to look at your cost per hire, cost per hiring source, hiring cycle time, acceptance ratio, and more.
  • Pipeline planning. In other words, you need to maintain a pipeline of qualified candidates. How are you going to do that?
  • Candidate profiling. Here, I mean hiring smartly, based on solid business objectives and not gut feeling. What type of talent do you need now? In six months?
  • Resource management. What kind of team do you need to achieve your hiring goals? How much can you afford to spend on people? What' s the return on that investment? In people?
  • Sourcing programs. Where are the best places to find ideal candidates? How efficient are the sources that you're using?

As your hiring plan takes shape -- and it will take a few drafts -- you' ll need to develop some programs to support your overall strategy and ensure that your hiring goals are met. For instance, one worthy goal is to identify a few good " renewable" sources of talent -- that is, places you can turn to again and again for job candidates. Depending on your goals and budget, you might recruit on college campuses, hold open houses, buy a booth at a career fair, redesign the " hot jobs" section of your Web site, post job openings internally, or proactively mine your employee referral program. You just need to come up with the right combination for your company.

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