Growing a business, there’s no escaping the hiring game. We all want the best people for our company, and for every single person to help grow our business even further. Not necessarily expanding our revenue or size – not all jobs pay for themselves – but to achieve excellence, stay ahead or beat our rivals. We need everyone we hire to help stay on top of whatever our game is.
Hiring people really is quite the ordeal. There is so much to take into account, and we don’t all have a super professional HR department right when we start out. Just like the company, our hiring game needs to grow. And even when we get to that level of having an HR department, finding the best people to find (and keep!) the best people is a challenge in itself.
And then, when someone finds their way to our company: do they have all the right skills to fit our – often very demanding – job offer? Do they fit right into the culture of our company?
The right fit, the right time
Not only is it difficult to find the right fit, another challenge can be to find the right time to hire.
Sometimes we hire because we want more things to happen for our business, more often do we hire to try and keep up with all that is already happening in our business. The first puts us at risk of the ‘too much too soon” – with investments that have yet to pay off, the latter may force us into a position of hiring the wrong people just to save the day.
So what is the right time to invest in finding the right fit? Well, how much time do you have? There is so much to know* about hiring the right people, it’s no wonder recruitment companies are booming.
*We already wrote several pieces about it and we are nowhere near the end of the subject (browse our news page for a lovely afternoon of reading).
Let’s take a short-cut, and focus on what mistakes not to make to save you precious time, energy and money. We’ve collected three basic rules of thumb, please read on.
Don’t hire just because you can
It must be a wonderful feeling to have the freedom to go binge hire new people when you can, thanks to a great year or with even more significant capital thanks to investors.
You can double, triple, quadruple the size of your company in months time, and growth will manifest itself through the number of people working for you.
That is if it would be possible to grow your company proportional to the number of people you add to it. If that were so, investing in more people would be risk-free and all companies would know no limits to their growth (not taking into account that there’s not enough people fit for the jobs).
Even if you would be able to exclusively hire just the right people every single time, will demand always keep up? What if business slows down? There may not be enough work to go round, and everyone will still need to get paid.
The faster you grow, the more difficult it is to get the balance of workload and the workforce just right. This may also mean that there’s too much work to get done.
Hiring too fast for relief
If your company is growing, the workload will also grow. Sometimes to a point where it’s getting too much for the team to handle, not only the amount of work but also the type of work. Work moves from one to the next with everyone’s overflowing schedules, and incoming tasks end up at the desks of the wrong people, in the absence of the right people.
With the fear of having people heading towards a burn out: keep your head cool. Yes something needs to happen, but you don’t need to hire someone today.
First, thoroughly assess your needs. What exactly do you need to reinforce and support your team to grow in a sustainable way? Attracting more people just for the sake of instant relief, puts you at risk of attracting the wrong people, which will cost you and your team a lot more.
Buy more time. Take a step back to see if there’s any projects or tasks that can wait, or can be skipped altogether. Ever growing lists of to do’s, not getting done? Hire freelancers to help out until you have the right people in place.
The right people in place
The opposite of hiring too fast for relief, is waiting for the right one to come along. As tempting as it may be: Do not wait for a prince on a white horse. Or is the case of attracting talent, it’s the one with the flashy track record: the “unicorn” employee. Same white horse, cuter outfit, even greater expectations – unicorns are most often expected to deliver miracles.
Don’t go chasing unicorns. Looking for that employee with the proven track record, comes with all sorts of drawbacks. First of all: attracting this person, it’s you against – well basically: the world. It will take up a lot of time and money to catch a unicorn and then it may not even want to go for a ride. And even when you do end up together, there’s no guaranteeing the fairytale ending.
Not everyone who was previously employed in a successful company, is capable of translating that same success to your type of business or company.
The unicorn employee may have proven themselves once (or twice, or..) before, but may not fit your culture, your product or service, your strategy as well as they did their previous company. A different environment may produce a completely different outcome; not anyone’s fault, the right skills don’t necessarily come with a right fit.
Moving on from a previous successful company, the unicorn is often looking for a new challenge, and looking to move up. This often means moving out of an executive role, into a position of leadership, losing touch with the tools and trades that got them there in the first place: that which you sought to bring to your company.
With all bets on Bonfire (sorry we couldn’t help ourselves), it’s easy to overlook junior talent that may well be capable to grow into senior positions if you spend your time, energy and money on helping them get ahead, instead of spending it all on finding “the one”. The frogs may turn into…
Look for help to grow your team wisely
Recruitment companies aren’t flourishing for nothing. If you don’t have time to play hiring games, seek help. You don’t have to pay companies to find new talent, why not ask your employees if they know anyone fit for the job? They already understand your culture and strategy and what it takes to get the job done.
Whatever you do, invest in finding the right people with your time and your energy and possibly your team. If that doesn’t work, put your money to work.
Grow your team wisely and your business may live happily ever after.