Hire Slow

Potentially Huge Business Mistakes

I’ve been reflecting on our recent recruitment drives and what I’ve learnt from them recently.

People are crucial to the success of your business.

Your business is only as good as the people within it.

One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses make time and time again (and believe me we’ve done this in the past) is to hire fast.

Here’s a textbook scenario: Someone hands in their resignation, they have a month’s notice because that’s the standard contract most people have and they never updated it. The company panic, they can’t cope with the work without them and they hire one of the first people through their interview process.

Here’s another: Your company land a new contract, the current team can’t cope with it so in order to fulfil, they hire fast because they don’t want to let that new customer down or strongly manage their expectations on start dates for fear of upsetting their new deal.

Here’s the problem though - in taking this approach to hiring you might get lucky but in my experience you’re more likely to end up with an ‘ok’ fit. Your gut instinct on people might be good but you’ve simply not given yourself time to look around and see what else is out there. I’ve been in hiring positions where I thought we were looking for a particular type of person and actually by the end of it I’ve had my eyes open to a completely different way. If you hire fast you simply don’t have that time.

In the last year and a bit, even despite the Pandemic, we’ve hired for three crucial roles in our company. The first, to lead our new Digital Marketing Academy. The second was our Operations Director, the first director to join James and I since we started 21 years ago and then most recently our new Business Development Manager.

In each of those hires we had no less than 5/6 interactions with the successful candidates. Here’s our ‘process’. We typically run a preliminary round of calls or pre-interviews with candidates to shortlist. We then have a ‘proper interview’ with the shortlist, usually asking them to carry out a task or presentation. It’s likely we’ll then invite one or two of those candidates in to meet other members of the team to get a feel for cultural fit and personality in a less formal setting. With Rob, our new Ops Director (now Managing Director) we went out for dinner with him. We’ll always invite feedback from the team they’ll be working in as that’s vital to the culture and wellbeing in the business. That will probably be followed up with one last discussion before we run some psychometric profiling on them. That will also need to be talked through with our advisors and the candidate if there are any concerns. We run two main psychometrics - DISC which gives us a good feeling for their personality type and ‘Outmatch’ which focuses on job role fit and how close a match the candidate is to that role based on key role attributes and behaviours.

All this by the way can take weeks, sometimes months. We took over 6 months to find Rob.  

But what’s the cost of getting the wrong person in your team? Poor output, demotivated team, high cost - all devastating blows for a business.

So how do you give yourself the best chance of not falling into the traps I mentioned towards the top of this post? Firstly, have an always hiring policy. This doesn’t mean you have to pretend to have jobs you don’t (and in fact you definitely shouldn’t do that) but that doesn’t stop you from encouraging anyone who is interested in future positions getting in touch. When you have that next role, you’re ready to hit the ground running and line up prelim interviews rather than thinking about getting an advert out. Consider your senior team and the notice periods they have. If someone is very important to your business then is a month’s notice really enough? I would always look at 3 months where I can.

Remember that (pre-pandemic certainly) the best people are not always available. They probably work for someone else, so as a leader, it’s your role to build the excitement and potential of working for you at all times. You want people falling over themselves to work for your organisation. Get that database of future A players ready to go.

So do you agree with me? Any tips on recruitment that have worked for you?

p.s. If you’re looking to work for a fun, hard working, driven digital marketing agency then drop me your CV. No current roles available as I write this but you never know where the/your future lies.

p.s.s See - every opportunity! ;)