Strategizing for a new hire

Last updated: Jul 13, 2023

How to recognize that it’s time to hire

In addition to reasons like needing to replace a team member who is transitioning away, hiring opportunities can arise in relation to increases in funding, resulting in increases to workload. Get ahead of burn-out on your team by having regular check-ins to assess capacity and areas that may need more support.

You may also wish to build some redundancy into your team’s job descriptions, which enables schedule flexibility, often resulting in increased job satisfaction and team member retention. Redundancy in job descriptions also promotes interdependence, versus a team dynamic where urgent tasks consistently rely on one overloaded team member.

When planning for a new hire, it is important to keep in mind that a hiring process takes time. It is best to get ahead of capacity issues rather than waiting until it is too late. CS&S recommends that you aim to start building a job description and application and review processes about 4 months before your desired start date, allowing ample time to: collect applications, make an informed hiring decision and give top candidates time to deliberate on an offer.

Budgeting for a new hire

When determining whether your budget has sufficient funds for a new employee, CS&S recommends:

  • Estimating the cost of the hire as their annual salary plus another 25% of their salary, to approximate fringe costs

    • Fringe costs include: TriNet/Remote payroll service fees, taxes, and benefits costs.

    • For US hires: Ramp has a cost calculator tool that generates itemized mandatory employment costs in each state.
      • Note that Ramp’s estimated benefits costs are based on a national average, and not the specific costs of CS&S’s employee benefits.
      • Ramp’s calculations do not include payroll service fees.
    • For non-US hires: Remote has a global employee cost calculator tool that generates itemized country-specific mandatory costs, minimum benefits costs and service fees.

  • Ensuring that you have at least 12 months of funding to cover the cost of the hire committed

For guidance on determining a salary appropriate to the position you are hiring for:

Next steps

When adding a new member to your team, it is useful to identify which new skill sets, experiences and backgrounds could strengthen your current team. The following considerations will help get your posting seen by the candidates you aim to reach, as well as ensure a strong, mutual fit with a new team member.

Assessing the current makeup of your team to identify gaps

A hiring process is a time to assess your team’s capacity and how a new member can best contribute to your work. It is also a time to assess the various experiences and backgrounds currently represented on your team, and which voices are not already contributing to your work. By explicitly identifying the gaps, hiring can become an opportunity to intentionally recruit fresh perspectives and areas of expertise to your team. Make a list of the qualities that feel necessary to the role you are hiring for, and a list of those that might beneficially impact the role (the “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”) to lend detail to your vision.

Planning for professional development within a role

To encourage a mutually supportive relationship, rather than solely trying to fill an existing gap with a job description, hiring teams can consider how the position will be supported in developing new skills. For example, it is useful to outline how the projects assigned to a new hire fit into whole-team strategic plans and objectives 6-9 months down the road. A hiring team should also consider providing new hires with exposure to different functional areas or processes, especially for early and mid-career roles.

Some guiding questions might include:

  • As a new hire meets "must-have" and "nice-to-have" milestones, how will their manager and/or fellow team members support their growth and development within this role?

  • As they excel in the role, what are the paths to advancement, internally and/or externally, for this position?

Considerations of a team member's path to advancement strongly benefit from a clearly outlined and easily accessible promotion philosophy, such as the Promotion Tiers and Philosophy resource used by the CS&S Core Team.

Determining your target applicant communities and how to reach them

After you have envisioned the various skills and attributes of your ideal new team member, as well as how they can develop within the role, tailor your list of job posting sites and listservs to those most likely to reach your desired candidates (re: technical skills, academic/professional background, lived experience, etc). You can identify organizations whose staff makeup fits your goals and track where they post jobs, and use the FSP slack channel to connect with colleagues who may be able to help you reach further outside your network. You can also refer to the list of job posting sites in the “Where to share your posting” section of the Job posting guidance resource.

Describing your team’s working culture, values and goals

While resume content like prior experience is one area of concern in identifying strong applicants, you may also want to prioritize applicants whose interests, values and ethos align with those of your team. Make this priority clear in the language of your job posting by including a description of the principles guiding your team’s work with one another. Some examples include:

  • What we value:
    • Addressing systemic inequality. We exist in a time and place in our world where vast systemic inequality has been brought to the fore through Black Lives Matter, the COVID-19 Pandemic, and Climate Change. With the inability for many opt-out, we must consider how our day-to-day work furthers these inequalities. CS&S’s approach is detailed in our Commitment to Meaningful Equity and Inclusive Organizational Practices.

    • Sustainability. Because we anticipate periods of higher workload (hello November & December!), we aim for a baseline of 75%-80% workload. We also want to ensure everyone has someone who can cover their tasks while they are out of office.

    • Boundaries around work and life. We schedule weekly Zoom-free days, and we help each other take time off to rest, reset and recharge.

(From CS&S)

  • We envision a world that is made more equitable through better digital public services. Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is woven into everything we do, from our company’s strategy to the makeup of our team, to the work we take on. As a public interest technology company, we see diversity and equity-building as integral to both our mission and our research practices.
    We are committed to disrupting power dynamics and equity barriers in our work. We recruit employees and partners who reflect the demographics of targeted end users, and we analyze, test, and iterate to make sure everyone can easily access and use the digital tools we build. As a public benefit company, we are compelled to generate social and public good, and to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner.

(From Bloom Works)

  • In some contexts, the balance between providing valuable experience, and the provision of pay and fair treatment, has proven difficult to strike. In the interest of developing our internship policy within a framework of basic fairness, we offer five simple principles that define KF Internships:

    • PayKF Internships will always be paid internships.

    • Non-competition: Performance isn’t measured against other interns, especially in terms of  “payoff.” An intern’s colleagues are their collaborators in pursuit of common objectives.

    • Dignity: There’s no shame in project-based work. Long live the freelance! Interns should take pride in what they contribute, and participate with the dignity they deserve.

    • Value and growth: We commit to the provision of educative experiences that interns can value, and expect in turn that interns will be committed to projects that contribute to the growth of the KFG in substantial, measurable ways. This means we prioritize:
      *Project-based outputs
      *Mentorship over delegation
      *Tangible skill development

    • People over prestige: We seek interns from diverse backgrounds and do not consider the credentials or prestigiousness of the intern’s institution in our selection process. We want our interns to reflect the diversity of the public producing knowledge.

(From The Knowledgeable Futures Group)

For more information on next steps in your hiring process, please consult our resources: Hiring Checklist, Job posting guidance and Job Posting Template.


Director of Human Resources

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