It’s the people who will build your business, therefore, recruit the best talent at the earliest possible opportunity.
Never compromise when it comes to recruitment, otherwise, you create a headache that drains your time, energy and cash.
If you have ambition and want to grow; you and your team are maxed out and one person is personally writing proportionally too much of the business; if you know you need to expand your sales team – but aren’t sure when to take the leap… be assured you are not alone.
This is a problem that every growing business faces. Resources are still tight and you may be seriously bootstrapped. Cash flow may not always be flowing and you’re worried about the time and effort it will take to not only go through the recruitment process but also get them up to speed, while they potentially slow you down – and ultimately what if it all goes wrong and costs you a ton?
The answers, however, are simple:
1. Always recruit earlier than you originally planned
By the time you get to market, attract and select the right candidates, you will always look back and think, “I wish I’d started this process sooner”.
Always recruit multiple candidates at once. You may only offer the role to one (or two) but keep a second or third in reserve. Tell them that the role they originally applied for is no longer available, but that you’d like to keep in touch and, accepting that they may continue to look elsewhere in the market, if another position opens up in the near future you’ll be back in touch.
That way, if your new employee doesn’t look like they’ll make the grade, you’ll easily be able to backfill the position, all from the same recruitment cost. If, on the other hand, they do work out and pass their probation period, you may find in 12 weeks time you are able to open up another position to your reserve candidate.
Ultimately it is the people in your business that will solve every problem that may arise, so the earlier you build an exceptional team (cash flow allowing) the faster you will grow.
2. Recruit when you are losing opportunities
Are you falling over opportunities that are not being well managed due to lack of resource? If so then it’s a no-brainer, expand now!
The fear here is often questioning whether this is a short-term increase in need or a long-term trend. The fact is you’ll never know, but you’ll definitely miss out on capitalising on your market opportunity if you don’t have the resource to service it.
3. Recruit when you have the cash flow to cover the ramp up
What does it cost to recruit – really? Well, of course, there is the agency and advertising cost if you’ve gone down that route, but if there are more cost-effective ways to go to market, especially if you are bootstrapped.
The two figures you’ll need to build into your cash flow are;
(i) The initial salary cost and expenses whilst the new employee is on probation. Is that 13 weeks? If so, what does that cost equate to and can you cover it?
(ii) Secondly, depending on your sector and sales process, realistically how long does it take for new business to come out the bottom of your pipeline, which may be longer than your probation period? Are you prepared to cover their cost for a further three or so months if they have yet to produce income?
Clearly, understand these two risks and then you can plan and mitigate against them.
4. Get the right people on the bus
- Recruit for personality and train the rest.
- Keep a list of your dream team as you meet them, long before you expect them to either become available or you have a vacancy to fill.
- Wherever possible recruit talent as you meet them, rather than waiting for an ‘event’ before starting the recruitment process.
- Stick by the rule ‘recruit slowly, fire quickly’ – this might seem to contradict the previous point but what I mean is don’t rush into a recruitment choice if you are not sure, but when you know somebody is wrong, don’t hang around to fire them or it will become more complicated and costly for you
Between us, Lara and I have recruited hundreds of sales executives and directors over the years, which as you might imagine, also means we’ve had a few nightmares along the way!