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How Talent Acquisition Teams Should Approach Hiring Plans

An annual hiring plan is a critical component of the talent acquisition process that you need to get right at scale. In fact, getting your hiring plan wrong can seriously derail the growth trajectory of your company because you will be losing out on top talent to your competition.

A hiring plan should factor in how many positions you need to fill for the upcoming year, time to fill, recruiter capacity, number of growth positions, number of backfill positions, current market conditions, anticipated market conditions, data from your talent acquisition function, executive buy-in, and more.

It is not an easy task and getting this wrong can directly impact your ability to deliver great experiences and outcomes to clients and employees.

When Should A Hiring Plan Be in Place?

We often see hiring plans put together in December that forecast headcount being filled in January. That is not realistic if you’re also starting to recruit in January because a lot of placements will have a 60-day time to fill in this market. You will likely be playing catch up all year and have management upset with a perceived lack of results which leads to a constant frustration with talent acquisition.

Hiring plans are very important to get right at scale and need to factor in a realistic time to fill. Falling behind with your hiring plan can impact growth and the ability of your company to reach its potential.

Given the competitiveness in the market, your preliminary hiring plan should be in place by the end of Q3 and should be iterated on in the early stages of Q4.

Without the hiring plan in place, you can't get your talent acquisition budget approved. Companies that are not increasing their budget by at least 15-25% are terribly positioned to achieve hiring outcomes for 2022 given current market conditions.

Technology Stack

Talent acquisition teams also need to consider their technology stack. In order to effectively scale, you need a technology infrastructure to support your talent acquisition function. Relying on manual processes will simply not get it done. Are you leveraging Gem, posting to LinkedIn Recruiter, using an RPO, etc? You will need answers to all these questions.

Hiring Goals

It sounds simple, but it really does start with having a clear picture of your hiring goals. Although no forecast is perfect, the goal is to have as clear of a roadmap as possible. Things to consider when whiteboarding your hiring plan are how many positions do you have to fill? What are the roles? How many tier-one roles (critical roles to your specific hiring situation), How many tier-two roles? What departments need the headcount? How many recruiters are on staff? How long will it take to fill each role? Etc.

This is where the actual planning starts and it doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, you need to bake in flexibility and adaptability into both your hiring plan and also the mindset of the talent acquisition team because there are always unknown unknowns that pop up. For example, a public health crisis.

Time to Fill

When whiteboarding your hiring plan, accurate time to fill forecasts are critical. We have an entire blog post dedicated to the subject. Please see Time To Fill Best Practices for Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Teams.

How Many Openings Should be Assigned to a Recruiter?

An industry best practice that we see amongst our clients is that a recruiter should be working on between seven to eight positions at a time. This assumes they're doing the full cycle for those positions: searching for the candidate, sourcing them, interviewing them, and managing the relationship with the hiring managers and the candidates.

It’s possible that the recruiter can add tier-two positions to their plate. For tier-two positions, the recruiter might not need to focus on them all the time. It’s up to the talent acquisition team to prioritize this but to achieve the best outcomes for your recruiters, it’s wise not to overload them and make sure they have enough time to do everything that they need.

Keep in mind that it’s possible that you’ll need to take roles off a recruiters plate. If a recruiter is working on an executive leadership role, for example VP of technology or VP of Product, there's a good chance that could take up to 50% of their time.

The reality might be they're only working on that singular role 50% of the time, and maybe three other positions for the other 50% of the time. That's only four roles.

With capacity planning per recruiter, when we say seven to eight openings at a time, that's average. We just mentioned two situations where this might flex up or down.

Planning for Backfill Hires

In 2021, more than 50% of the hiring plans for growth-stage clients we reviewed for our clients did not factor in backfill hiring. When you are capacity planning you need to consider potential backfills. Companies seem to overlook this and don't factor in potential backfills when forecasting.

You have to know the attrition of your team, what turnover looks like, and what that is in terms of a percentage of your overall headcount to better assist with forecasting. For example, on a quarterly basis, you might need to bake in eight backfill roles of additional capacity for your recruiting team. This is in addition to the growth headcount that you’re projecting.

So, start with as clear of a picture as you can. Of course these goals tend to change as you go through the year, that's expected.

How SecureVision Can Help

SecureVision can assist in this process, and can be as involved as you’d like. Whether that’s an active participant in the initial whiteboard, or if you’d like to bounce a final draft off us. For more information on how SecureVision can assist with your hiring plan, please reach out to us.


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