Are you late again?
There are many scenarios and reasons why you may need new resources. Your company is growing or you received a new project and need more people in order to deliver on time. You may have lost some team members. Or you need a new skillset for your team. Whatever the reason is, you usually need to start with gaining approvals for the hiring you plan to initiate.
And depending on your company’s internal processes, the company’s financials and your ability to justify the business needs, that can take time.
Once you finally get the green light to hire, it is often in a hurry and you might have a tendency to hire the first possible candidate that can do the job.
Common motto: Yesterday was too late
I have had so many instances with clients who were in discussions with me for several months, telling me about starting a project soon and that they will need a certain type of candidate. Even though I tried to encourage them to start the process early, they usually came to me one month before they needed a candidate. And that’s too late, unfortunately!
Yes, I can find someone in one month, but can that person start in one month as well? Most likely no, because they have to give notice to their current employer, sometimes there is summer holidays approaching, or end of the year bonuses to wait for or important projects to finalize or even a competition clause etc. So, in the end, the client gets his candidate late. Then there might be once again the pressure to hire the first one who is good enough yet may not be the best. And the higher the level of the role you want to fill is, the more senior the candidates are, and the longer the time is needed to hire them. The entire process takes longer.
Probably the biggest mistake is underestimating the time needed to hire one candidate
If every company would be thinking ahead and planning enough, each would have a very clear plan. What if, for example, someone from your team leaves; do you have someone to replace him/her? Do you have potential talent to be promoted? You might want to map your people and identify the roles where you know that there is no one who could replace them from internal resources.
In some companies, you may have even very critical knowledge tied to just one individual, and if that individual leaves or simply takes a longer sick leave, then you may be faced with quite serious challenges. And as you already know, it does take time to hire someone. The more niche skills people have, the more challenging it is to hire quickly.
Understand your need before it even arises
Now stop and consider the following:
- Is there someone in your team who has such critical knowledge that makes it very challenging to replace him/her?
- Is there someone in your team, that if that individual would be on a longer sick leave, the whole team would suffer? If so, do you have a quick solution?
- Is there anyone in your team who could potentially replace you (if that would be the case?)
- Can you think about the financial consequences if you lost those individuals with critical knowledge? Is it possible to estimate and calculate what it could mean to your team and the company?
After thinking of those, you may conclude that you are actually not prepared for such situations/scenarios.
What could you do now?
Ideally, you would be proactively building a pipeline of potential candidates for important and critical roles where you have identified that it is not easy to find a successor or special knowledge is needed etc. Therefore, when the need arises, you have a talent pool ready and you are a few weeks ahead in the entire recruiting process. Next, you just need to find the ones who are open to a career change at that very moment.
There are already several companies doing proactively talent mapping for certain areas or they may have vendors for that; so once the need to hire comes, they are ahead and can hire much faster.
Many people, unfortunately, look at this practice from the angle that they are not going to spend money on building a talent pool now; you never know if you will actually need it in the future and then it is money spent with no return.
But if you look at it from the perspective that you could sleep better if you knew that you can hire much faster when the need comes, it could allow your project to remain on time, you can deliver to your client on time or it could help to avoid someone from your team leaving due to burnout etc. It is actually a kind of insurance. How do you value that and how important it is to you?
So, to summarize: “When to start?” I would simply say, “Well ahead” before you have a real and pressing need. Then it is usually quite late already.
With passionate regards,
P.S. If you would like to share your comments, join the discussion on our LinkedIn page and leave your comments there. I would be glad to hear your experiences…