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Recruiting Plan Templates for Awesome Hires, Every Time

By Rob Williams

Hiring can be a bit of a catch-22: you don’t want the very important (and highly-paid) people at your company wasting time on things like recruiting strategy, sifting through resumes, or interviewing applicants BUT they seem like the only people capable of it. This is why recruiting plan templates can be extremely valuable.

Recruiting plan templates help you create a system for hiring the right person that anyone can execute and minimize the amount of time required from busy managers… equaling a ton of time/money saved for your company.

Here at Folyo, we’ve developed our own recruiting plan templates and today want to share them with you. These recruiting plan templates have been developed and refined from working with hundreds of companies. They result in great hires, nearly every time.

What’s Included in Our Recruiting Plan Template:

  1. How to streamline your email application process so it doesn’t become a huge time-wasting mess.
  2. How to cut out 99% of the spam and irrelevant application sifting.
  3. Exactly what to focus on at the beginning to set your company up for success.
  4. How to best schedule your interviews, how long to schedule them for, and exactly how many interviews it takes per role.
  5. How to choose the exact right candidates to move forward with in the process.

That’s it. We’re going to dive into each one individually next.

But before we do….

What does this recruiting plan template NOT cover? How to applicants in the first place.

We have a few guides that can help with that, but for now we want to focus on the process of selecting the right candidates and saving time doing this.

For help writing a job description, we have some job description templates to check out here:

We’ll also be publishing guides on picking job boards and other tools soon.

Overall, though, these things matter less than you think because the entire point of a job board is to expose you to a large audience.

That means almost any ole job board like Indeed, or even Craigslist can work.

Often, no matter what job board service you use, the result will look something like this:

So keep that in mind.

A portion of spammers will stick out like a sore thumb but a lot are much harder to spot.

One trick is to use specialty job boards. In the design industry, something like Behance and Dribbble are common.

(I have a full review of the hiring process on dribbble here.)

These platforms are supposed help… but I’ve found they tend to not be that great. Namely, because they tend to over-emphasize small screenshots which tell you almost nothing about important information like the context behind the work, what work was done by who, what problems they were trying to solve, etc.

So, yeah, your mileage may vary.

Anyways, the main advice here is just pick one of the big job boards because they’re all about the same anyway.

Okay? Cool. Now let’s get to the fun part.

Step one of our recruiting plan template…

1 – How to streamline your recruiting plan template: make sure email applications to to one place.

Too often hiring managers assume they can deal with the influx of applications directly in their inbox. That’s a recipe for disaster.

This is especially true if you have different positioning or multiple projects going at once (which Folyo usually does) but even if you’re just focused on hiring one person, it’s deceptively easy to lose track and get unorganized fast if you don’t put applications in a different folder.

What Folyo does is create a specific folder for each new project.

Then we have designers email a specific address for that project. Since I have a catch-all setup for my domain, I don’t need to do anything different besides tell designers to email: project_name@folyo.me.

Next, we create a rule in Mail which puts all email to this address in that folder and presto the applications are all there waiting for me to review when I have time.

You can also accomplish this with Basecamp’s email forwards or something like Typeform. However, I strongly recommend using email because it’s one less thing to manage.

2 – How to cut out 99% of time-wasting: come back to the folder later and remove all spammy responses.

The first thing I do once I’m ready to review applications is remove all of the spammy responses. As mentioned above, I estimate that about 75% of responses from job boards are be pure spam.

And it makes sense because talented designers don’t have time to check a job board everyday. (That’s also why Folyo is a referral newsletter, not a job board. We go directly to top designer inboxes and we only send to vetted designers.)

The good news is 99% of spam is easy to spot because, by definition, there hasn’t been a great deal of effort put into it. Spammy emails will have these characteristics:

  • Long and generic – these are usually templates
  • Weirdly short – these mean zero thought has been put into an email
  • Way too many links (anything above 5) – not worth the time it will take to review
  • Doesn’t seem to be written by human – weird words or communication is a red flag I tend to remove immediately

Note that I don’t really recommend using a job board or even a designer platform.

Instead of a job board Folyo uses an email newsletter which sends your job directly to vetted designer inboxes. That means there’s no chance for spam because spammers don’t have access to your job.

When someone joins my referral newsletter I personally check them out and make sure they’re professional. Unlike a job board which will be posting your email, company info, salary data in public for every site crawlers and Indian spammer to collect, Folyo is private.

3 – What to focus on early in the process to set yourself up for success: relevance.

At this point you will have discarded about 75-90% of emails applicants. Phew! That was fast. The next step is to look at the portfolios or proposals that were sent in.

The ironic part is that you will quickly notice that talented people are at a quality level that’s pretty similar. You might even have 10+ designers left all seem to be good enough.

That’s why I recommend you use skill as only one third of the qualification criteria you’re looking for (more on that in the last step).

Instead of spending a bunch of time at this step reviewing portfolios in-depth, what I like to do is click on the remaining 5-20 candidate portfolios you have and just give a cursory look at quality level.

You may find that a few aren’t at a level that you’re comfortable with. Obviously you’ll want to discard those.

But my guess is that most of the remaining candidates will be at a pretty high level.

This is where you want to look for relevancy. Look for specific skills you need. For example, if you’re a non-profit look for designers that sent you non-profit projects from their portfolio.

If you’re a Shopify store look for a designer who sent you Shopify projects. Contact those designers first.

It sounds simple, but it’s amazing how much better the results will be when you’re consciously ranking the designers that put some care into what they’re showing you a bit higher.

4 – How to set up great interviews: schedule 15-minute calls with 10 applicants per role.

Don’t worry you probably won’t have to jump on calls with 10 different designers. This is another test.

In my experience 30-50% of the time, designers won’t get back to you about scheduling a call, even after you send them a calendly link where they can grab a time in seconds.

Oh and by the way use calendly. Not only will it handle scheduling a call but it will connect to Zoom (so you can have recordings of your interviews), plus it will let you batch your interviews so that you can do them all on the same day. Here’s how to set that up:

Now when you send over your calendly link, all the designers will see one option where they can grab a time. You’re able to spend a few hours on one specific day with all of your interviews on that day.

You’re in total control. You can schedule interviews as quickly or as far out as you want. It won’t balloon to take up several weeks, which easy during the hiring process.

So why do I recommend having a call anyway? What will you even talk about with the designer?

Great question. You’ll want to ask each person to do a walk-through of a recent, relevant project they’ve worked on. Tell them simply: you’d like them to share their screen and walk you through a recent project.

This walk-through is 100× more helpful than a portfolio screenshot.

On the call tell them you’re interested in hearing about the results, the thought process that went into their design work, and how many people they worked with.

Here’s what a great call looks like:

Much of your decision will come down to things beyond the work. It’s shocking at first but true. Which brings us to our last point.

5. How to choose the exact right candidate to move forward with: lean on 3 traits – skill, attitude, and passion.

Congrats! You’ve made it to the final step which means you now have 3-10 video recordings of your potential designers.

You’ve done the hard work and now you get to the rewards. You can calmly review each interview and are able to pause, take notes, and compare each one on your own time. That’s power!

The last step will help you know how to make the decision. You won’t want to make the common mistake of basing it entirely off of skill.

Often, as we’ve talked about already, skill is the least important part of the process.

Skill is something that every professional designer should and will usually have. That’s what allows them to be a professional.

However, fitting in with your particular personality and team’s workflow is going to be a much more specific thing.

That’s another reason why a video is great, it lets you reference the designers for two additional criteria: attitude and passion.

These are things that you will look for and hopefully see shine through in your calls. It’s very hard to fake attitude or passion.

Personalities will either mesh naturally or not.

This is something that is crucial for you to figure out before you hire someone and start work on a project together.

Usually, it’s pretty straight forward. Look for designers that:

  • Ask questions before they answer
  • Provide context for decisions
  • Don’t talk down or condescend others, even in passing
  • Are humble and down to earth

Once you’ve found someone you think fits the bill, it’s not easy. However, because you’ve followed this process you can feel total confidence in trusting your gut because you know your decision is based in a real system.

It’s now time to trust that decision and hand over the reigns of the project to the designer and let them do their job.

Don’t hire a dog, then bark yourself

David Ogilvy

I really hope this process was helpful for you. Good luck hiring for your job or project!

Additionally, if you’d like me to handle this entire process for you I’d be honored.

I can not only do everything outlined in this post for you (a savings of 10s of hours) I’d also be happy to send your project or job out to 5,000+ vetted designers I trust.

Usually I can point you to 3-4 really great options in under a week.

It’s all costs a $500 flat-fee and you don’t pay anything until after you’ve found a designer that’s right for you.

It’s a huge time savings for any hiring manager or agency owner and I’d love to help you take hiring a designer off your plate.

Click here to get started

About Rob Williams...

I run Folyo which helps freelance designers find the work they were meant to do. I also host Freelance a podcast about how to be more effective at independent work featuring remote companies like Disney, Basecamp, YNAB, ConvertKit and more.