The team over at 37Signals has talked about this before but not until now have I been a big believer. It’s the theory of holding off on hiring as long as possible or until you’ve explored every other alternative to hiring that additional staff member. They argue that hiring too fast before you truly understand the need of the position or have explored automation will lead to wasted efforts and inefficient resources.
Why? Well they believe, and I believe in this as well, that most people can get cozy and “make work” for themselves in just about any position. So the idea of hiring someone quickly could lead to an inefficient use of that resource if the position is not well defined or 100% needed. The resource will get into the job and just “create work” for themselves to “feel busy” when many times that work could have been automated, spread out over a few people, or just plainly stopped being done. That’s what taking your time in hiring is all about.
I’m taking it a step further in saying only “hire when it hurts”. Meaning, I suggest personally getting involved where the resource is needed and try to do the work yourself (or get as close to it as possible). Then think about ways to not hire by the reasons mentioned above, automate, do the work yourself, not do the work, etc. Once you go down that path, see if it starts to “hurt”. Not physically of course and you don’t want to kill your company, but you should be able to tell fairly quickly whether a resource is needed or not. If they are, HIRE HIRE HIRE. But only hire when you’re ready and when you absolutely know you need a resource.
There is one big assumption here though that I’ll mention now and write about later. Managers should always be “interviewing” and “networking” with potential candidates! Especially in small teams, a big part of a leader’s job is that HR responsibility. You never know when someone could leave, get ill, etc. and the hiring process does take a while. More to come on that later.
At BrightGauge, we took our time to find a Support Specialist and after 4 months of me doing the job personally and us continuing to interview, we found the right fit to come in at the right time. Steve, welcome to the team!!