As witnessed by the recent collapse of Zirtual, hiring employees (or over-hiring in Zirtual’s case) can cause the implosion of a company. Often owners and founders get visions explosive growth in their head and they figure if they can just hire enough people to accommodate the presumed need, all will be well with the world. Well it doesn’t quite work like that. Many times founders and owners don’t seek out advisors in time to help them manage their growth. So they make costly hiring mistakes.
Some of the biggest problems with small business hiring are lack of planning, lack of understanding of how to properly source ideal candidates, and improperly outsourcing without understanding what they get for their money. Don’t think it’s limited to just small businesses. I have seen hiring gone wrong in big companies as well. But I often find that at the heart of the problem lies inadequate planning.
I know that things happen unexpectedly. That new multi-million dollar project that your company was awarded. The sudden cash infusion that frees you up to bring on more help all of a sudden. Or even a sudden influx of new clients can make you go from zero to sixty overnight. So how do you manage that? What is your recruiting strategy?
There are real options out there for small companies.
You can hire an in-house person (or persons) to manage your staffing and recruiting. Ideally these are people who have experience in full life cycle recruiting, who serve as in-house consultants to hiring managers. They understand the company’s needs and are vital in constructing long term workforce planning with the C Suite. I know some people think recruiting can be deduced to placing some ads on job boards, social media or Craig’s List, or delegated to an assistant who will sift through resumes. But it doesn’t work like that. In my opinion, today’s recruiter has to have a seat at the table, especially in small companies without a huge or dedicated HR department. They are the first line of contact in many cases with your brand. So it’s only right that their role should not be dismissed or downplayed. And they better come with a skill set and a bag of tools of the trade to get the job done.
You can contract with agencies to find temporary and/or permanent hires. In working with many larger clients, I have seen budgets broken over the use of agencies. Listen, before any agency people come in here yelling at me, I’m not discounting your usefulness. However, I will point out that many companies, especially smaller ones, default to agencies out of fear. They see that they’ve been struggling to find quality hires, so they turn to the first agency with a sweet sounding deal.
Hiring managers get so overwhelmed and frustrated, that they just want this task off their plates. So they agree to work with an agency. The agency may or may not be rock stars. In some cases, a disconnect will rear its ugly head and the time to fill ends up taking longer than expected. And let’s not forget about the companies that want to cast a wide net and contract with multiple agencies on contingency. Sure, there are more people working on your job, BUT there are MANY PEOPLE WORKING ON YOUR JOB fishing in the same ponds for the same candidates.
Trust me, this is not an ideal situation because what ends up happening is you, the client, end up with a distrust and disdain for agencies when you are the reason it didn’t work for you. Good agencies provide value. But you have to put them in position to service you effectively. And again, this could get costly when you start adding up fees. So use agencies strategically and only when necessary. It has to make financial sense.
Finally, you can use recruitment process outsourcing. RPO as it’s called, has been going through some upgrades and many companies are now offering a streamlined set of services where they function as the client companies right hand. An RPO works much like any other service you outsource. It is a professional service and they become your recruitment department. They handle the full life cycle recruiting process, workforce planning, manage your database, promote and protect your employer brand, and get your positions filled in a timely manner. You have an entire team at your disposal.
If you manage your recruiting strategically and bring in professionals who know what they’re doing, you will be able avoid the struggles of over hiring. CEOs, partners, founders, department managers and assistants are not recruiters. So don’t take on the task of hiring for your company. Always get proper counsel and make sure you budget for current and future hiring. Once you prepare a workforce plan, be sure to update it periodically to ensure you are staying on target.
If you’re considering expanding your team and need help with plan, strategy and hiring, schedule an appointment for a no cost Discovery Session. And be sure to complete your application for the upcoming Incubate to Accelerate program that kicks off in February 2016.
Share your hiring stories below.
Til next time,
Recruiting is bigger than Craig’s List ads!
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Adrienne Graham is the Founder & CEO of Empower Me! Corporation (www.empowerme.org), a Growth Strategies consultancy for high growth companies. She provides Strategic Business Growth consulting services to companies with high growth potential to assist clients in creating processes and strategies to effectively scale, run, grow and position their business for success. Check out her radio show Views From the Top on Blog Talk Radio & iTunes. Adrienne is also an avid techie dedicated to promoting diversity in the tech community. She is steadily building her empire one company at a time. And her company CurvyGirlCloset.com helps turn closets into commerce for the plus-sized fashionista. She is also a Mentor for the Straight Shot Accelerator in Omaha, NE, which helps guide startups into successfully launched ventures.