Over the last few months I’ve been working with a client to hire three new members of their customer service team. And it has taken months – the vacancies arose in July, the new hires will start work this month. The knock-on effect has been huge – the cost of temporary staff, the drop in team performance and morale, the increased customer issues and so on.
In my experience, people underestimate how long it takes to recruit someone and therefore don’t plan effectively for it.
People only act when a vacancy arises or workload becomes untenable – thinking they can fill the gap quickly and easily.
But waiting until an employee hands in their notice is too late. It’s like only looking for your new home once the people who’ve bought your house start showing up with their furniture! You risk making a hasty hiring decision that you’ll come to regret later.
For me, successful recruitment is all about planning. Planning gives you the time and space to do things properly, to make the right decisions and to have a smooth, timely changeover of staff.
How long does it take to recruit?
Think about your recruitment process. It might look like this:
- 12th Jan you brief your recruitment agency
- 13th-23rd Jan your recruitment agency looks for CVs, headhunts, advertises
- 26th Jan you sift CVs and invite people to interview
- 2nd – 6th Feb you conduct interviews/assessment of sifted candidates
- 13th Feb final interviews take place
- 16th Feb you make an offer to the successful candidate and produce contract paperwork
- 17th Feb your chosen candidate resigns from previous employer (one month’s notice)
- 18th Mar your new employee starts work (hurrah at last!)
You can see from this quite conservative estimation that it can take a few months. Waiting until a vacancy arises before taking action is therefore clearly not the best option.
So what can you do about it?
1. Reduce your time to hire
Having itemised the stages of your recruitment process can you now identify any areas that could be trimmed or condensed? Are there elements of the procedures, paperwork or materials that could be prepared in advance? Can you schedule all the key stages in advance of going to market?
2. Predict when someone might move on
Rather than waiting until someone hands in their notice what can you do to better predict when they might move on? Is there a typical timeframe for people leaving a particular position? Do your line managers have a handle on motivation levels in their team?
3. Predict when a team might be overstretched
Is spend on temps rising? Is there an increase in overtime or conversely, sick leave that might suggest people are over worked? Are there new initiatives on the horizon that will require additional manpower?
4. Succession planning
Are there ways to plan promotions and development in your organisation? It doesn’t have to be too formal, it might just be a conversation with an employee about who in the team has the potential to fill their shoes when they move on from the role.
So start that new resolution today and get planning!
I believe that by thinking through and planning for these issues you can start to take control of how and when recruitment happens. Which will make 2015 a much calmer, less knee-jerk, more successful year.