Growing a successful business involves so much forecasting and visualization, you’d almost expect to see crystal balls on the desks of the world’s top entrepreneurs. Just think of all there is to think about; venture funding, revenue predictions, office space.
Unfortunately, one area often overlooked is forecasting your business’s hiring needs. Stakeholders get caught up in the day-to-day running of the business and scramble to fill needs as they arise.
As I say in my book, Double Double, if you’re scrambling to hire, it’s game over and you lose.
When I worked at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, I had our staffing plans mapped out by the month three years out. I had no choice, we were coming off our sixth straight year of 100% revenue growth. Things were expanding so fast that scrambling for new hires could have put us in a hole from which we never could have recovered.
I can’t stress it enough: You too should have your hiring needs forecast at least a year out. This gives you plenty of time to identify the role, define its requirements, seek ideal candidates and whittle them down in a robust, pragmatic recruiting process.
Filling holes as they open often leads to compromise, quick decisions and less-than-ideal hires. It also puts undue pressure on your existing staff who must work extra hard to fill the widening void as you go through the hiring process.
Have a plan for low growth, average growth and hyper-growth, so you’re prepared for all contingencies.
A lot of people scoff at this idea. “We’re an awesome place to work,” they say. “Great candidates will throw themselves at us.”
It’s foolish logic that can really get any company in trouble. If your business truly is a great place to work, you will likely have a lot of great people clamoring to work with you. But you’ll also have hundreds if not thousands of other candidates throwing their hats in the ring. The process of weeding out the duds is exhausting, and time consuming. You might eventually find the perfect fit, but you’ll the process will take a lot longer than you think, and put you further behind.
Then there are the problems faced by young, inexperienced companies. Even if the leaders forecast their hiring needs, they often severely underestimate the difficulty they’ll have in filling it.
I had one client who determined he needed to hire 12 teachers for his chain of bilingual preschools. Great, I said, how many resumes do you think you need to fill those roles, and where do you plan on getting them?
As I took him through the process, I showed him he’d need well over 500 applicants to have a realistic chance of finding 12 great fits. And as a small company that lacked any real ‘buzz’, reaching that number would be a challenge.
Finding the right candidate is hard enough; you need every advantage you can get. Being prepared gives you a chance to recruit on your terms, with no stress and no compromise. Just the way you like it.