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Strategic Hiring For Long-Term Success

Savvy organizations know that to give their business the best chance to succeed, they must attract and hire the right talent at the right time. But if your recruiting process is limited to open positions on your careers site or a job board, you are failing to hire strategically, meaning that you are only looking to fill an immediate need instead of taking a holistic approach to understanding how your talent strategy can define the success of your company.

Make 2018 the year you ditch tactical hiring for the next open position and start recruiting with a long-term vision in mind. Succession planning and recruiting can go hand-in-hand for better outcomes and ROI on your efforts.

What is Strategic Hiring?

Imagine that you are trying to fill a critical, mid-level manager role within your organization. The role has existed for a while, and others have performed it over the years with mixed success. If you find yourself scrambling to fill the position without taking a deep dive with strategic analysis, you are going to see that your next hire may not perform or be retained as you hoped. If you want to hire strategically, you'll need to take the time, before the position is even open, to examine what the role entails and get everyone who is involved in the hiring process onboard to agree on a set of criteria that will define success.

Strategic hiring is never a rushed decision; it's a tactical process that makes hiring and onboarding part of your company's future vision. It focuses not just on what you need today, but where you will be tomorrow, taking into account the future skills that your employees will need to perform at a high level.

Understand Your Needs

The first step of strategic hiring is to pare out how the needs of the role intersect with the current and future needs of your business. When looking to build a talent pipeline for a position, you'll need to determine your business needs of the position in the context of the business goals for the organization. What business problems will the new hire be required to solve? What services and financial circumstances will their performance impact? Who will they have the most contact with, supervisors, clients, the C-suite, etc.? If the same or similar jobs already exist in the company, you'll then want to track down top performers and interview them internally about their day-to-day lives on the job to build a profile of what an ideal performer would be like in this role.

From there, you can start to uncover the skills, attitudes, backgrounds, and experience that you'll want to search for as you begin to review candidates. To get an even broader perspective, you can also consider speaking to coworkers of former employees who have held the same or similar role and discuss which traits were most valuable or detrimental to the job.

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Nurture Your Existing Top Performers

One of the best places to source your talent pipeline is from within the company. If you want to fill spots quickly, make sure that you know who your top performers are in similar roles and what their skills are at any given time. Besides understanding their current skills and qualifications, make sure that managers are also evaluating performance based on the potential to learn and grow. Ask managers to identify their top 20% performers and keep their names and profile on file so you can use them as key players in your talent pool to ensure critical roles never sit empty.

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Hiring Managers: Don't Leave it All to Your Recruiters

Recruiters are there to assist companies in sourcing and recruiting great talent, but that's not an excuse for hiring managers to sit on the sidelines and expect them to do it all. If you want a strategic hiring plan that serves your business interests, hiring managers and business leaders will need to actively partner with their recruiting team to find alignment and guarantee that every new employee or internal promotion is going to serve the business well based on specific agreed-upon criteria. Consider bringing on technical experts who deeply understand the needs of the position to assist with defining the responsibilities of the role, resume screening, and interviewing talent.

Optimize and Automate Your Hiring Processes

Surveys, video interviewing, trial task assignment, resume review, and programmatic job advertising should all be on your radar as recruiting tasks to automate to save overhead and reduce time-to-hire. Not only are automated recruiting processes less labor-intensive, but they can also help you stay consistent and track your progress while improving your quality of hire and time-to-hire KPIs.

Keep in mind that while more recruiting processes continue to automate, that does not mean that recruiters and hiring managers will become obsolete. It does mean, however, that the nature of your job will change, with your focus shifting away from day-to-day routine tasks and toward long-term strategic thinking that will have a bottom-line impact on the future of hiring organizations. With this in mind, now is the time to start adopting a more strategic outlook for your hiring goals and step away from being reactionary and only thinking about the moment at hand.

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As one of the most significant challenges to growing any successful business, recruiting and hiring should be top-of-mind for the entire organization. By following these tips, you can measurably improve your strategic hiring process to optimize on-the-job performance across your enterprise.

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Julie Briggs

Julie Briggs is an independent business and HR blogger based in New York City. She is a 2011 magna cum laude graduate of Purchase College with a bachelor's in Sociology. Her career has spanned internationally and across a diverse array of industries. She specializes in human capital, recruiting, leadership, and employee engagement.

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