Feb 12, 2019

The 4 Elements of a Recruitment Research Plan

Establishing a solid framework beforehand is one of the foundational elements of the executive search process. Advanced planning takes time but putting forth that extra effort now can help assure a smooth hiring process later.

A recruitment research plan serves as a guideline for recruiters to follow when seeking out qualified candidates to fill a particular role. Recruiters can set a framework and use this plan to produce a well-crafted job description and, when the time comes, a targeted candidate list made up of top performers. It can also serve as an important reference for recruiters to consult throughout the hiring process.

This article will look at the basic elements of a recruitment research plan, as well as identify the important questions to consider before initiating your next executive search.

Basic Elements of a Recruitment Research Plan:

  1. Know your candidate
  2. Targeted experience level
  3. Identify search parameters
  4. Pinpoint a few must-haves

Know Your Candidate

Before you begin an executive search, you should have a good idea of the types of candidates you’d like to attract. This starts with having a basic job description and some understanding of the talent pool you’ll likely be choosing from. Because most career moves are vertical, you should identify the various job titles your ideal candidate will have held prior to seeking employment with your company.

This step is particularly important when recruiting in an emerging growth industry such as the cannabis market. Many candidates will have experience unrelated to the cannabis industry, and it will be important for you to identify the requirements of the position you’re trying to fill, as well as the experience level of your ideal candidate.

Experience Level

Obviously, the answer to this question is a resounding “yes!” However, the type of experience may or may not be important to your company when filling a particular position.

Does your ideal candidate have experience in your industry, or would you consider candidates from outside industries? If so, you should identify the particular industries you would like to recruit from, as well as the skillsets you want your ideal candidate to possess.

While you may not find a COO with previous experience in the cannabis industry, you may find someone with comparable experience managing the finances of a similar-sized manufacturing company. Having said that, fit is still important, and you’ll want to keep your company culture in mind when making this important decision.

Additionally, you will want to look at the timeframes associated with a candidate’s work history. This includes considering the amount of experience a candidate has gained from a related role, the amount of time they held that role and whether it was long enough to become proficient in the role’s critical functions.

And, company size does matter!

If your business has 500 employees, you’ll want to consider different candidates than if you employ less than 50 workers. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t find quality candidates from differently sized companies. For instance, smaller companies may consider hiring someone currently in a position below the one they're searching for, as long as that current position is with a larger company.

Your recruitment research plan could even go as far as identifying specific companies you would like to target with your recruitment efforts. However, there are drawbacks to poaching your competitors’ top talent, not the least of which is damaging your reputation within your industry.

Set the Search Parameters

Setting your search parameters is one of the most important steps in creating an effective recruitment research plan. This means deciding whether your executive search will be national or local.

If nationwide, you will have to decide whether or not you’re willing to pay relocation fees for your new hire, and if so, what your budget for relocation will be. The proximity of your candidate will largely depend on your budget, so it’s important to set reasonable expectations. You do not want to start your search with open parameters, find a candidate and go through the interview process only to realize their relocation fees are not within your budget.

You can avoid paying relocation fees by limiting your search parameters and considering only those candidates who live within, say, 50 miles of your business. However, this decision does have its drawbacks. Your pool of potential candidates will be smaller, meaning it could take longer to find that ideal top performer.

If you have the time, you may consider beginning your recruitment research plan with limited search parameters, expanding them if and when you’re unable to find quality local candidates.

Must Haves

Last, but certainly not least, is your list of must haves. These include things like education level (bachelor’s or master’s degree), past experience (10+ years as COO or similar role) or where a candidate lives (located in the Greater Detroit Area).

The list could include any number of variations specific to your company or industry, but your list shouldn’t be too exclusive. Choose three must haves, outline them clearly in your job description and make them non-negotiable. This will help to discourage unqualified candidates from applying for the position, saving both them and you time and energy.

Next Step:

Check out our Abridged Guide to Hiring a Chief Operating Officer, containing top considerations for CEOs and Business Owners when hiring a COO.

The Abridged Guide to Hiring a COO


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