ExpHire Role-Objectives Canvas: How to Hire Talents for the Future

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Introduction: ExpHire Role-Objectives Canvas

Once you have completed the Recruitment Canvas, you are almost ready to proceed with drafting the Job Description, but I recommend that you work on one more step before doing so. It is useful to understand not only the business needs with respect to the role with achieving the Company>Role>Candidate Fit, but also to try to predict how this will evolve over time. 


The business environment is constantly evolving, and when you decide to add a resource to the company you need to try to understand how the role will evolve over time, what goals the chosen candidates will need to achieve in the short, medium and long term in order to be successful.


We created the ExpHire Role-Objectives Canvas, a great tool to visualize on one page the expected goals for each role in the short, medium and long term. This document is useful to guide the candidate selection process, you must in fact glimpse in the characteristics of the best candidates, aspects that enable and are preparatory to the achievement of the objectives. 


Usually the person who has to work on this document is mainly the hiring manager, who must know the needs of the current and future team and business area and consequently is able to assign goals and targets to be achieved for each new role/person sought.


Anatomy of the Role-Objectives Canvas

An example of empty role-objectives canvas

This Canvas has a very simple structure, it is simply a matter of dividing the goals to be achieved into three distinct time horizons:

  • Short-term
  • Medium-term
  • Long-term

For each of these I ask you to identify six to ten goals with a mix between very tangible and easily verifiable business ones and other aspects more related to soft skills. The goals must be credible and really achievable and are generally more precise and circumstantial for the short- and medium-term ones and more nuanced and general for the long-term ones (with some exceptions).

At this link  you can download a blank Role-Objective Canvas and the two examples we are going to discuss. Let us analyze each of its components individually.


Short-Term Goals

In this section you need to list the main goals that the person chosen to fill the role will need to achieve in the short term, usually in the first three to six months. This list can also later be used as a starting point for identifying useful elements for onboarding and for setting goals related to passing the probationary period, if any. The goals to be achieved at the beginning are usually specific, but not necessarily tied to precise numbers and targets; you must remember to give your new team members time to understand the work environment and figure out how to move through it. By this I do not mean that within six months concrete and measurable results are not to be achieved, I just want to get the message across to properly distribute the pressure to achieve precise numerical targets in the first few months of work (sometimes it is counterproductive to ask for results from people who have not yet fully understood the business and company dynamics, it may lead them to mistakes).


Let’s give the research examples of two separate roles, CRM manager and Front-end developer by listing possible goals to be achieved for each role in the short term.


CRM Manager

  • Review existing CRM practices and tools and suggest possible changes
  • Create a CRM strategy and discuss it with marketing and top management
  • Begin implementing the strategy
  • Create at least 3 automated marketing processes for 3 different user groups
  • Define a comprehensive KPI framework for CRM activities
  • Align with marketing director on key communication strategies and activities
  • Build an interpersonal relationship with the internal network of employees, prioritizing people who work in direct contact
  • Fully understand and embody the values and culture of the company

Front-end Developer

  • Review existing software development practices and possibly suggest variations
  • Understand internal work processes and demonstrate ability to follow or challenge them (if necessary)
  • Produce quality code (including as judged by the q&a tester)
  • Demonstrate a positive attitude and be appreciated by both colleagues and customers
  • Be able to meet commitments made in the sprint (at least 70%).
  • Align with the development manager on activities, blocks and needs
  • Build a relationship with an internal network of co-workers, prioritizing people with whom they work directly
  • Fully understand and embody the values and culture of the company


Medium-Term Goals

The goals to be achieved in the medium term, which has a time horizon of about one year, are generally the more specific ones. In this case you may decide to include precise numbers and growth percentages or the like.


At this stage the candidates chosen to fill the different roles must demonstrate that they can achieve the expected results. They must also show that they are aligned with the company values and culture that they learned during their first months in the company and that they must now begin to exercise in daily practice. 


Again, I recommend that you include six to ten different objectives that are a mix of results to be achieved through work (an expression of hard skills and actual work) and results related to cultural fit and demonstrated soft skills.


Keep in mind that when you write these mid-term goals, before the search for the role begins, you are doing predictive work and therefore what you write may no longer be completely valid and usable after, there may be 8-10 months that elapse that require a possible revision of the goals. 


If you intend to use the Role-Objective Canvas not only to clarify some important elements to the selection, but also as a basis for creating objectives related to OKRs and MBOs I recommend that you review them over time to make sure they are still valid and aligned with current business strategy.


Let’s go back to our examples and what goals we assumed in the medium term for these two roles.


CRM Manager

  • Report to top management on strategy execution and results achieved
  • Create and execute a framework of experiments to test new activities/features and report on the results obtained
  • Independently manage a small CRM budget and report on it
  • Fully build an effective marketing automation framework
  • Contribute to the company’s budgeting process for the coming year
  • Learn at least one new thing/tool/process/technology and promote it in the company
  • Complete relationship building with the company’s entire workforce 
  • Achieve satisfactory results from the annual review process (with emphasis on peer reviews)

Front-end Developer

  • Be able to deal directly and effectively with customers
  • Begin the learning process to become a FULL stack developer 
  • Receive consistent appreciation from clients and colleagues 
  • Be able to meet commitments made in the sprint (at least 80%)
  • Demonstrate proactive skills, suggesting new solutions and variations to improve efficiency
  • Introduce at least 1 new software development technology/framework/practice to the company
  • Complete interpersonal relationship building with the entire team
  • Achieve satisfactory results from the annual review process (with emphasis on peer reviews)


Long-Term Goals

Long-term goals are related to a person’s growth path in a role on the one hand and to strategic business goals on the other. You must push yourself to envision the long-term growth prospects for the person, the role, and the business. If you have corporate strategic guidelines at your disposal, use them to build some of the goals for each role. Try to remember that people after a couple of years in the same role tend to get bored and lose the drive and enthusiasm of the first 12 to 18 months.

You need to include in these long-term goals elements that allow and enable change and evolution of the role consistent with the strategic targets of the team and the business. You can also include among these goals so-called ‘north stars,’ goals that the company sets as critical to its own success applied to the specific role or get inspired by company vision and mission and imagine how these can be reified in a defined role.


Back to our two examples.


CRM Manager

  • Achieving a 300% ROI on CRM activities.
  • CRM activities exceed 10% of total company revenue
  • Build a small CRM team (up to 3-5 people)
  • Become a good team/people manager (with annual reviews to support it and company-standard retention rates)
  • Manage a multi-million budget dedicated to CRM activities
  • Be able to teach and become a coach for CRM team members and newcomers to the company (become a Buddy)
  • Become an ambassador for the company, its values and culture
  • Be a spokesperson for the company at CRM-related events

Front-end Developer

  • Become a FULL stack developer (with a focus on Front-end)
  • Be able to surprise and delight customers with work delivered
  • Be able to meet commitments made in the sprint (at least 90%)
  • Always be “hungry for results” and outperform peers
  • Be promoted every year and get salary increases due to achievements
  • Be able to teach and become a coach for development team members and newcomers to the company
  • Become an ambassador for the company, its values and culture
  • Be able to get the job done no matter what, demonstrating the ability to sacrifice when necessary
An example of filled role-objectives canvas

Mistakes to Avoid

When writing the Role-Objective Canvas you need to avoid some common mistakes.

  • Going into too much detail: this is not the place to draft OKRs; this document is meant to analyze at a high level the objectives for a specific role, but they still do not take into account the peculiarities of the person who will be actually selected for that role.
  • Be lacking in credibility: sometimes it is possible to think of goals that are in fact unattainable and look more like dreams than feasible goals. Remember to only come up with goals that are commensurate with your real possibilities and the work context you are in and the budget you have.
  • Put too much pressure: especially in the short term, new resources need to understand the context in which they are working before they can begin to perform to the best of their abilities. Try to be patient and allow for an adequate onboarding period before expecting results from your resources.
  • Be too specific or generic: goals that are too specific or too generic or lack of a mix of them (use only one type) are wrong. If you use only generic goals you are not providing adequate challenge to your new resources; if you present only numerical results to be achieved you risk losing valuable resources to burn-out. Find the right balance between the two options.
  • Misunderstand the use of the Role-Objective Canvas: Remember that this tool helps you focus on the aspects sought in candidates during the selection process. It does not replace OKRs and MBOs that are also based on the actual characteristics and skills of the person chosen to fill the role.


A final note concerns the use of the Role-Objective Canvas. You can decide to show its content to all candidates or applicants who pass a certain step in your selection process. You can also decide not to make it visible to the candidates, but to possibly use it as an outline for an answer to their questions about it: Candidates often want to know what is expected of them in the short to medium term. 


I personally prefer not to show the objectives to candidates in a written form, to avoid two unpleasant side effects:

  • candidates preparing their answers to interviews and tests by being overly influenced by the expected results/goals 
  • person chosen for the role confusing these objectives with those that will instead be later agreed upon and discussed for passing the probationary period and for OKRs and MBOs

Conclusion: Start Using Role-Objectives Canvas

Writing a Role-Objectives Canvas is especially useful for hiring managers and those involved in the selection process to understand not only the characteristics of the best candidates for the role on the first day of employment, but also in their journey in the company, especially for those dynamic companies or roles that will have a major evolution over time. If the Job Description is a static snapshot of the candidates sought, with the Role-Objective Canvas we try to give dynamism to this snapshot and predict the evolution of a role through the expected outcomes. 


This document allows you to investigate candidate characteristics in greater detail, delving not only into what your team/company needs today, but also what they will need tomorrow. In the example of the CRM Manager search, it is noted that the person chosen will have to take on a team leader role in the medium to long term, and therefore it is appropriate to look now for candidates who have an interest in this and who demonstrate appropriate attitudes and soft skills to fill such a role in the future.

ExpHire: Let's Build the Role-Objectives Canvas

Our Role-Objectives Canvas goes hand-in-hand with the Recruitment canvas of which it is the natural continuation. Together they are the foundation upon which we build the job description and the entire selection process. We help you identify candidates who are good not only for the current role you are seeking, but also for possible and/or expected future developments. During the first meeting with your Expert we define together the objectives for each role in the short, medium and long term and base the search taking into account also the elements that emerge during this work.

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