The 5 Step Process to Set Your Hiring Priorities for 2022

April 25, 2022
hiring priorities

Recruiting can most definitely be done wrong. A poorly organized recruitment manager can create a torrent of disorganization within a company, and the ever-changing needs of companies and the labor market around them make it next to impossible to have a fixed template from which to work when it comes to prioritizing hires. 

All this can make assessing your staffing priorities feel overwhelming. The bad news is that nobody can tell you how to set your hiring priorities better than you can. The good news is that it’s significantly easier when you know where to look and what to consider. Here are five steps to consider when setting the hiring priorities for your company.

1. Consider Company Needs

  • Deadlines - Focusing on the critical or time-sensitive roles that need filling should be an urgent matter. Failing to meet these deadlines can have a cascade of negative effects on the company, for example, not being able to keep up with an upcoming busy season.
  • Readiness - Knowing when to hire is also important. Hiring too early or in a panic to fill a recent vacancy can lead to errors in the selection process and, ultimately, a bad hire. Try using employee feedback to judge the need to recruit. A good team will tell you where they’re lacking. Looking at which departments are at risk of turnover and which areas show the best growth potential will also help you prioritize roles to fill. 
  • Market conditions – The current conditions in the labor market you’re in change frequently and understanding this allows for more intelligent approaches to recruiting. Not only does the market condition affect company needs, but designing competitive job descriptions, employment packages, and other attractive elements for the role you’re trying to fill will rely on these data. 
  • Internal Mobility – The ability of staff to move around in positions within the company is a strong factor affecting retention. Still, it can also affect the chances that the role you’ve struggled to fill will soon be vacant again. Keep this in mind when assessing hiring priorities. 

2. Consider Attitudes and Skills

Prioritizing candidates who are coachable on the job is a great way to improve retention and engagement among your staff. This is easier said than done, of course. While standard interviews and resumes do a good job of showcasing skills and experience, personality and attitude are harder to assess. 

This means weighing the need for additional time for total human assessments to choose priority roles. Some roles will require this more than others, affecting how you set your hiring priorities.

  • Skills - How critical or unique is the skillset you’re looking for? Answering these questions will provide factors in the calculation for priority. How long it will take to find the skillset and whether you can spend time sourcing strong candidates with the potential to acquire the skills on the job will affect which roles you will focus on filling first and how much time you should spend searching for them. 
  • Attitudes – Skills and experience are only one piece of the puzzle. An engaged and trainable candidate may grow into the role much more effectively than a well-skilled but unenthusiastic or difficult one. “Attitude over skills” is a philosophy to consider, especially in a quickly evolving sector, where skills can become obsolete quickly, and on-the-job learning is commonplace. If you value this, factor in the time it takes to assess candidates for the best fit.

3. Consider Diversity

Diversity comes in many forms!

Diversity of roles is usually determined by how many roles the company has. Larger companies have more roles to fill, but they’re typically more specific and therefore easier to prioritize. Smaller companies can have a lot of overlap in the roles of their employees. The more responsibilities a role entails, the harder it will be to prioritize and the more diverse skill set the candidate needs. 

As such, smaller or medium-sized companies will need to pay closer attention to each role to assess it for priority and decide whether it can wait a little longer. Assessing each role for impact can be complicated in these cases so that extra time needs to be factored into the calculation.

With a diverse set of roles comes the need for a diverse set of candidates, and filling quotas to meet your diversity requirements can be a tempting thing to prioritize. However, here is where you need to look at retention. Diversity quotas are pointless if the retention of under-represented groups is low.  

Company culture has to value belonging in order for diversity to thrive, so don’t be misled by quotas if the department is going to be asking for a replacement hire within a couple of months. On the other hand, if the company culture is welcoming, diversity targets are very important to reach, so factor this into the staffing priorities equation!  

staffing priorities

4. Consider the Hiring Process

The standard hiring process involves five stages. Each of these steps should be very familiar:

  1. Screening
  2. First Contact/Phone interview
  3. Interview
  4. Assessment
  5. Reference Check

While this process is flexible, what’s important in terms of prioritizing is to stick with whichever process you decide on. Some vacant positions can cause trouble for operations if they are neglected for long enough, so maintaining the fluidity of your hiring process is important. The methodology you choose when hiring should be well-planned and implemented.

Easy-to-fill jobs should usually be prioritized, and the hiring process should go ahead, even if you’re struggling to find the right candidate for some of the harder-to-fill roles. As long as you have consistency in your hiring process, you can take time out to spend searching for tougher fills while the easier roles gradually fill themselves. Having said this, it’s important not to get caught up in trying to fill a single big role and neglect the smaller ones. Make sure to balance time effectively.

5. Consider Your Candidate Pipeline

As soon as you’re no longer in a chaotic rush to fill roles and the pressure is off, implement proactive methods to make your life easier for the next round. 

Keeping candidate sourcing channels open before needs arise can save so much time in the hiring process. Source candidates regardless of openings, and maintain a database of eligible possibilities for use when vacancies appear. This can be done using social media or keeping your own records of promising applicants who didn’t make it. Using any number of available outside services to take the strain can also be a big factor in how you prioritize the rest of your hiring considerations. 

Talent attraction platforms such as Jabord help simplify the hiring process by providing smart tools that improve a company’s ability to represent itself and find candidates. Recruitment agencies can not only find candidates but help with follow-up and record-keeping for unsuccessful candidates who might be fit for a role in the future. 

Having this pipeline available when you need it will significantly limit the headache of filling difficult roles, either by making tough positions easier to fill directly or by freeing up time for the search by quickly filling easier ones. 


Hiring priorities are highly variable between companies and are subject to change over time within a company. As such, there’s are no set frameworks for filling which roles first, but there are a few guidelines. Not all job requests are equally important, so having a toolbox of factors for your priority equation is critical.

Knowing where to look to calculate the importance of each role is half of the battle, and with these five areas to focus on, you’ll soon be able to put together a reasonable idea of your staffing priorities.