One of the key stages in growing up in the business world is when you start to hire people.
That takes your business dream to an altogether new level and brings with it a whole new collection of information and business skills and decisions.
As a start-up or small business, where cash flow and cash control is critical, you need to keep one eye on the money at all times—even while sleeping.
One way that entrepreneurs control costs is by being a jack of all trades, but there comes a point where it will be more cost effective and efficient to hire in specialists, such as recruiters, accountants, book-keepers, and IT support, to take care of peripheral aspects of the business. Yet the question is, “When is the right time?”
Kazim Ladimeji is a recruiter, a 14-year veteran who focuses on small business with The Career Café, a resource in the U.K. for start-ups, small business and job seekers. Here are his 5 signs that you may need to hire/engage a specialist recruiter:
1. You have billable work waiting to be done and you have to stop work to hire
Empty desks will of course reduce your output and profitability, and so will you downing tools to hire a new person, but hiring is inevitable. However, it may be more cost-effective to have a specialist recruiter (be they commission-based or a temporary hire) do most of the hiring for you so you can continue to focus on billable work.
For example, the cost of you personally downing tools for two weeks might cost the company $10,000; yet using a specialist recruiter in one form or another could cost $3,000. Do the math: Would your prefer to lose $10,000 doing DIY hiring or perhaps $3,000 by using a recruiter and not downing tools in order to DIY hire?
2. Excessive time and cost of hire
Most small businesses use time sheets to track billable time for client invoicing, but ‘un-billable’ time is often not recorded. Don’t let that un-billable time turn into a black hole. Get a user friendly time sheet system and track all un-billable time and cost (based on your charge out rate) to find out what you spent in terms of time and cost on hiring staff. You might surprise yourself.
If your cost and time spent on hiring is becoming excessive, e.g. amounts that are negatively impacting profitability, it could be time to engage a specialist recruiter at a lower rate than yourself, giving you more time to work in a more profitable way, which can easily offset the costs of the recruitment support.
3. Regularly hiring friends and referrals without checking references and capabilities
It can be tempting to hire friends, referrals and acquaintances without assessing skills properly, and they can help to fill an urgent resourcing need you may have. But, if this represents your entire hiring policy then this is a high-risk policy. How do you know you are accessing best value and best practice? There are likely to be people on the market who may be able to add far more value. This is a sign you might need to engage a recruiter.
4. Lack of preparing job descriptions, written offer letters and employment contracts
If you are not preparing job descriptions, offer letters and contracts when hiring staff (for whatever reason), this is a clear sign you may need to hire a specialist recruiter. These are the basics of good hiring practice no matter what size of business, and if you are not doing this, you are placing yourself at much higher risk of making an unsuitable new hire.
5. Excessive empty desk time
How long are your desks staying empty? Often the cost of engaging specialist hiring support will easily be offset by the increased output you achieve as a result of hiring someone faster, which is very likely if you use a specialist recruiter.