Posted by Jeff Abram
As a recruitment consultant to Fortune 500 companies along with some of the most dynamic small businesses looking to grow, I get asked this question frequently – When is the best time to hire?
The answer will change depending on your organizational depth, market conditions or future growth plans. The answer is always the same…hire before it’s too late. I have seen so many companies lose out on outstanding talent because they wanted to take their time, wait for conditions to improve, budgets to be approved, organization realignment, etc…the list goes on.
I often find that companies take too long to hire and as a result, they lose their top choices in candidates. They might have lost the candidate to other offers, loss of interest (which can often be attributed to companies taking too much time to make a decision). The result is lost market share, lost sales, lost customers, lost revenue. It costs 3 to 5 times more to get a new customer than it would to keep a current customer.
Three main areas of any organization are the most influential and most at risk when hiring is delayed or eliminated. These are Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service. Of course this is assuming that your product or service is competitive, your R&D is on stream and your pricing is in line.
Sales is your lifeline. If you have inferior sales personnel, managers or strategies you can expect a decrease in sales and profits in short order. The best sales people always win the day. There are exceptions for sure. Does Apple need the very best sales talent to survive? Probably not since they have done an amazing job investing in their staff and have become a world and industry leader in its segment. Alternatively, Microsoft has one of the most proactive recruitment strategies I have ever seen. This allows them to stay on top of their game and access the best of the best worldwide. Have a look at your organization and really be honest, how many of your sales people would you rehire? If the answer is anything less than every one of them then you have potential for growth and additional sales.
Marketing programs, promotions and events are your lifeblood. How do your current customers keep you top of mind? How do your future and potential customers learn and get excited about your products or service? Don’t wait until market share is lost and picked up by a competitor who is investing in the talent to make a difference.
Customer service is the heart of your organization. It does not matter how much you sell or how inviting your marketing campaign is if you cannot deliver and follow up. A positive customer experience is crucial to keeping current customers and to attracting the one time user to be loyal and become a repeat purchaser.
When is the best time to hire? Hire before you lose customers to your competitors, lose market share, lose revenue. Hire before the momentum of all of your hard work and investment is lost. Hire as though you cannot fail, take care of your hiring and the people you hire will take care of your business.
Develop a proactive, cost effective, manageable recruitment and hiring strategy. Talent is in short supply and is not going to improve in the foreseeable future based on the aging population, inconsistent immigration of skills and low birth rates. Don’t wait for a box to open up in your organizational chart or someone to retire. Replace your lowest performing sales, marketing or customer service person with your best just a few times a year and you will grow, prosper and become an industry leader. It is impossible not to.
Hire before it’s too late.