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Recruitment Strategy Template: Starting from Scratch

Küllike Kimmel Küllike Kimmel Last Updated:
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There’s a lot to consider when hiring someone. Building an effective hiring process can take a lot of time, money, and trial & error. That’s why we have consolidated all our learnings from remote hiring from the last 6 years into one concise recruitment strategy template that you can copy paste into your own organization. We have used this approach to hire over 60 roles across 5 different departments with no complaints. Let’s show you how we did it.

1. Figure out who you are (and aren’t) looking for

It might seem simple enough, but clarifying this is the single most important step to start off on the right foot. It may help by starting to bullet point the responsibilities of the role.

These are some of the things to consider before taking any further steps:

  • Which skills should this person have to excel in this position?
  • Which skills are currently missing in our team?
  • What type of personality would best compliment the existing team?

A good place to start is by mapping out the current skills and responsibilities of everyone in your team, and identifying where the gaps are, what can be re-delegated around the team, or what activities there is no capacity for but the team would like to start doing.

This will start to give you a good idea of the job description you’ll need to write for your new position. Of course, always consult with your existing team mates about the responsibilities they enjoy the most and the least. This gives employees agency over their own careers and helps them boost their own job satisfaction.

2. Prioritize the prerequisites

Once you’ve got your initial parameters in place, it’s time to prioritize them. What are you willing to compromise on? What’s absolutely non-negotiable?

In an ideal world, we’d get all that we’re asking for with sprinkles on top, but the reality might not be quite as cut and dry. Having a clear prioritized list of prerequisites you’re looking for in your new hire will translate well into strong selection criteria.

Having an actual criteria by which you assess candidates as they pour not only make the process fairer on applicants, but will also save you lots of time in the long run.

A few things to consider:

Someone’s mindset and personality is usually not something that will change much. In our experience: experience is good, but the right mindset is golden. There’s no limit to what someone with the right mentality and work ethic can accomplish, given the right support, environment and opportunities.

When it comes to assessing existing skills, this will depend on the seniority of the role you’re hiring for. The question is whether you have the time and resources needed to train someone, and how much effort you’re willing to put in, or whether you want someone to hit the ground running and have an impact from day 1.

If you need someone to come in and lead a team, or a specialist to 10x the ROI your paid ad channels, you’re going to want to weed out the underqualified candidates ASAP. That’s where a tool like Toggl Hire comes in handy. It allows you to set up a technical skills test in just a couple clicks, and create a shortlist instantly. This allows you to just focus all your energy on the most highly-skilled candidates from the start.

3. Come up with a killer initial skills test

Now that you’ve figured out who you’re looking for, the next step in this recruitment strategy template is to put together a plan on how to recognize that perfect candidate.

This is where Toggl Hire‘s skills tests come in. Simply put, it allows you to test candidates and eliminate anyone who doesn’t fit the bill. It automates the initial screening process, saving you an infinite amount of time.

The key at this stage is being strategic about which questions to include. In other words: It’s time to brainstorm.

Try to come up with as many ways as you can to test for each specific requirement you listed. For example, if we take our paid ad specialist from before, we might want to test them on:

  1. Technical knowledge of Google, Linkedin, and Facebook ad platforms
  2. Keyword strategy and research
  3. Copywriting and landing page optimization

If you’re tight on time, good news. You can skip the wracking-your-brain-for-clever-questions part and just let Toggl Hire do it for you.

We’ve already mapped thousands of questions to different skills spanning marketing, sales, customer support, product, development, and design – all you have to do is select the job role you’re hiring for from templates, set up a couple basic parameters, and you’re good to go!

Create a Smart skills test in just 2 clicks!

Be sure to include open ended questions.

Once your candidates start pouring in, Toggl Hire automatically shortlists the best talent for you. However, a lot of those top performers will have similar scores. One of the best ways to distinguish between candidates who are good vs great is with open ended questions. This really is the silver bullet in this recruitment strategy template, since this step alone will cut your time to hire by 86%!

This allows you to really see the thought process and level of nuance in their thinking and knowledge. It also allows you to get a feel for their communication style, since you won’t have had any email correspondence with the candidates yet at this stage. Are they consice? Messy? Unclear? Grammatical precise & a pleasure to read?

Communication is a key soft skill to consider in a workforce gone remote, and assessing it should be a key part of this recruitment strategy template.

Read on: 100 Soft Skills Questions To Help You Hire Top Talent

4. The second stage of the recruitment process

At this point, you will have typically slashed your initial applicant pool down to the top 10%. Now, you get to use that selection criteria we spoke about earlier to decide who you will take through to the next round.

At this point, you can either:
1) Send out a longer homework assignment: good if you have a lot of strong talent you want to whittle down further
2) Go straight to interview: reserve this option only for those who blow you away.

Homework assignments

We recommend going with a homework assignment first – it will give you a better insight into who is truly highly skilled and who is perhaps slightly less experienced, particularly if several candidates scored highly on your first skills test.


By this point in the process, you will have a pretty good grasp on who is a strong suitor for the position and who isn’t, and you might even be down to your top 10 or 15 applicants. Now is the time to interview.

In a sense, interviews are really only used to confirm the assumuption that someone will be a great fit for your culture and company’s work style. It is also a good chance to get a feeling for a person’s past experience, as well as to gage their expectations of the role and answer any questions they may have.

5. Last but not least – try a paid test week

You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it. So you shouldn’t hire someone without test driving them with your team first. At Toggl, we always run a “test week”, where we ask our top 2-4 applicants to spend a few days as part of the team and work on a specialized project.

This is a chance to really see what the collaboration would look like, as well as align any final expectations on both sides before extending an offer. Ultimately, it will be the team that is working with the new hire, so their opinion should definitely be factored in to the final decision.

Lastly, a few tips from us:

  • Be wary of know-it-all’s. Confidence is good, but ultimately you want someone you can work together, not butt heads with. A good team mate is always willing to learn and adjust their beliefs.
  • Don’t be afraid to hire someone smarter than you. In fact, you should be looking to hire someone smarter than you. This is what makes a strong team, and surrounding yourself with experts is a mark of a strong leader.
  • Look for a team player + a strong communicator. If the candidate is proving challenging to communicate with already in the hiring stages, you can bet it’ll translate to their work life as well.

And if you’re interested in this test-first recruitment strategy template, why not try it for yourself? It’s 100% free to set up and start using Toggl Hire. What are you waiting for?

Küllike Kimmel

Küllike likes to travel to strange places - the stranger the better. She also enjoys really active and extreme sports but claims to be a super chill person.

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