Getting Started: The Kickoff Worksheet

You’re ready to hire. Make the most of the opportunity by assembling your team (the hiring manager, recruiter, phone screener(s) and anyone who will be interviewing candidates) for a brainstorming session. This meeting should last 2-3 hours, so order food and refreshments, commandeer a conference room and settle in.

Start by completing the kickoff worksheet. If it seems like a lot of work, that’s because it is. Your hard work now will pay off in a better job description, more and better candidates, better marketing for your company, and an easier interview process when the time comes.

The purpose of completing the kickoff worksheet is to document how the new hire will fit into your company and what you need them to do. You might know you need to hire an engineer or a receptionist, but what exactly does that role involve within the context of your company and your department?


Brainstorm a list of everything you could possibly want in this hire. List them on a whiteboard, or use a shared Google Doc. Remember, you’ll want this person to be able to grow and evolve with the company’s needs over the next 2-3 years.

Make 4 lists

  • Skills: What would you like the candidate to know or have experience with? Examples: used subversion, hacked php, wrote online ad copy, built PowerPoint decks.
  • Accomplishments: What would you like the candidate to have done before? Examples: Managed teams, shipped releases, sold F500 customers, drove revenue, hired, fired, took out the trash.
  • Output: Describe the work the new hire will need to complete. What will they literally be doing all day? Examples: Write sales decks, specs, code, marketing briefs, customer service emails, meeting agendas, contracts, clean desks, order equipment.
  • Personality: What kind of person are you looking for? Use adjectives like smart, fast, diplomatic, friendly, analytical, outgoing, creative, detail-oriented, etc.


  • Merge the 4 brainstorm lists into one giant list.
  • Weed out redundancies
  • Combine items that naturally go together, like fast and friendly, etc…
  • Eliminate anything that doesn’t belong. Beware of items that express a need your company has as opposed to what you really need in a specific role. There is no such thing as a magical new hire that will solve every problem in your company.
  • Identify items that aren’t relevant to the role. Sure, it would be fantastic if someone in your organization was a whiz with photoshop, but it really has nothing to do with the accountant position you’re trying to fill. You don’t have to get rid of them, just move them to the bottom to think about later.
  • Prioritize the list, putting the most important items first. Don’t agonize, just do it quickly and take a break, then see how you feel about it. Avoid analytical overload by working the list in 5 minute intervals.