The Role Canvas: 4 Questions to help you re-think how you hire

Download the Role Canvas

It may seem like a strange time to talk about hiring. I get that. We’re in the midst of massive changes in how we work and live that have created dramatic levels of job-loss across industries, and many companies are hesitant about hiring in this moment.

But (and there’s always a but), with weeks of valuable project time lost, there are many organisations who need to get work done and who are continuing to hire. And, with online tools and services now the default to buy, communicate, work, educate and entertain globally, some recruiters are reporting a surge in demand for product people .

Making a good hiring decision can be stressful and time consuming even at the best of times.

Mis-hires and resulting turnover is costly and can result in an organisation spending up to 1.5–2X of annual salary on someone who didn’t work out; and that doesn’t include the untold emotional financial cost that often accompanies a bad hiring decision. A study by the Nation Research Business Institute shows that:

With the added pressures of tightening budgets, uncertain markets, and adjusting to the new normal of remote working, getting a hire right has never been more challenging and more important — for those doing the hiring and for those looking for work.

It’s important for hiring organisations to remember that there is someone on the other end of that Zoom call interviewing for a job, and they also have hopes, goals and needs riding on the outcome of a well-informed hiring decision.

The Role Canvas: A collaborative approach to creating a meaningful role

Ensuring there’s a clear and shared understanding of the role that you’re hiring for is an essential first step to thinking more collaboratively and comprehensively about what a new role might be before the interviewing even begins. The Role Canvas that I’ve developed incorporates four (seemingly) simple questions to help you and your team do just that by focusing on the role’s purpose, accountabilities, and the human and technical skills essential to meeting the roles needs. By answering each question, a new piece of the role becomes clearer for the hiring manager, team members, stakeholders and recruiters involved.

Download the Canvas

Here’s an overview of how to approach each question on the canvas:

Facilitating a hiring team through these seemingly simplistic questions in a virtual or face-to-face workshop can generate useful debate around the role before you create a job description and start interviewing.

Holding a Role Canvas Session

Source: @youuxventures

When planning a Role Canvas workshop, keep these things in mind:

Creating a meaningful role is the foundation for building a strong product team. It ensures there’s clarity around purpose, accountabilities and skills — human and technical- that the team identifies collectively.

To find out more or to share your feedback on the Role Canvas, please visit:



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