Businesses both large and small are ramping up their hiring for 2014. Below are five action items that should be considered when executing your staffing plan. They are the foundation of successful long-term hiring practices.
1. Have a comprehensive hiring plan that accounts for the business’ short-term and long-term objectives.
Having a hiring plan in place that takes into consideration both short and long-term business objectives can enable an employer to capitalize on the employment market. The plan should go beyond headcount; it should identify the type of individuals and skill sets the organization will require for future success.

By recognizing the talent necessary to establish or maintain a competitive advantage, a business can source, with greater specificity, talent that fits, as well as leverage employment market trends and dynamics. Knowing what is required in the future may allow you to capitalize today.

2. Establish consensus among the leadership team regarding the type of candidates you are seeking, inherent duties and responsibilities, and expectations for the role.

Consensus among leadership is critical when staffing an organization. All stakeholders involved in the hiring process should share the same desired outcome. During the interviewing process, candidates should not receive mixed signals regarding their potential future role in the organization.

Make sure the leadership, as well as everyone participating in the hiring process agrees upon the duties and responsibilities of a prospective employee. By establishing consensus, your interviewing team will send a message that your organization is united and committed.

3. Develop a solid and concise job specification.

The development of a job specification that outlines and defines what you want in the prospective employee is very important. This should not be confused with a job description that outlines the inherent duties and responsibilities.

The job specification will give your team focus and direction during the hiring process. By allowing others to share in the development of the job specification, you may also achieve greater consensus, and you will go a long way toward ensuring a successful hire.

4. Understand the current employment market.

Knowledge of current employment market conditions is crucial during the hiring process. An organization’s hiring plan and needs may be dictated by market conditions. Today more than ever this is true. For example, the unemployment rate for individuals with at least a bachelors degree is at 3.3%, less than half that of the overall employment rate (6.7%)*. Failing to understand the current employment market may introduce missteps when attempting to hire.

Offers of employment and compensation plans are derived from your familiarity with the employment market. Avoid offering too little or too much, do your homework and research the market. Understanding market conditions can also allow an organization with a plan, consensus and specifications of future needs to capitalize and attain the type of professionals it needs.

5. Act confidently and decisively.

The actions taken by the leadership during the hiring process demonstrate its ability to make decisions and display confidence. Decisive action is significant when conducting any transaction, and hiring is no different.

Time destroys all deals. Talented candidates are extremely perishable, with new opportunities constantly becoming available to them. An organization that has defined who it wants and developed consensus needs to act in order not to miss out on the hiring of a key contributor or become a victim of paralysis by analysis.

An organization’s greatest asset is its people. Your ability to make strategic hires will define you as a leader. Failing to attract and hire talented professionals can result in failure for an organization.

Successful leaders understand the importance of surrounding themselves with talent. Develop a realistic and shared plan that takes into consideration your talent needs today as well as anticipates your needs for tomorrow. Then act.

* December Employment Snapshot