The typical response to someone leaving is to hire someone to fill the same exact role, with the same responsibilities, as the person who left.
I suggest that A Better Approach is to first see if roles of existing staff should be realigned. Is someone performing some duties that (s)he does not do well? Could someone be assigned more duties that excite him or her and (s)he does well?
The person who left was unique. No one else is exactly the same as that person. We cannot clone that person. Everyone puts his/her own stamp on a role.
In addition to looking at whether or not we should realign duties to better utilize existing staff, I suggest following Jim Collins’ suggestion and finding the right person – for the organization, not for the open job. Many of our jobs will be changing. Find the person who can contribute most to the organization and who can adapt as the world changes. If we hire for current duties we may be hiring someone who cannot meet future needs.
What have your experiences been in hiring replacement staff?