In the scale-up space, where finding the right talent is often the number one issue, there is a question that resonates like no other: How do I hire the right people when I am too busy to hire?
The problem is, for scaling companies, recruitment isn’t a natural core competency, but it is one that needs addressing as success comes along and the company needs to expand. However, it seems to be that once you reach the point where you need to hire new talent, ironically, that’s when you don’t have the time to do it. Recruiting as you’re trying to scale every other aspect of your business is like building a plane while flying—it’s not an easy task, especially when the pressure is on.
If this sounds like you, you might want to ask yourself these three questions:
1. Should I Get Someone Else to Do It?
Hiring the right people to move the company forward can be a real time drain for those in senior management roles who need to focus on other elements of scaling the business, not the least of which include product development. The perception that using your founders and senior leadership as recruiters saves your company time and money often isn’t the case—especially when you need your core team to focus on growth, product development, and marketing. Their time is valuable, and it’s difficult for them to drop everything to source and network, as well as interview. It is often more efficient to outsource this process to the experts who have the time and capacity.
2. Surely, External Recruiters’ Help Won’t ‘Get’ Our Culture?
Hiring the right candidates who fit your organization’s culture (and can add to the inner circle) is important and should rank high on the agenda for scaling businesses and challenger brands. But with the time it takes to network, connect, and chase after top talent, it is not an area most businesses have time to focus on themselves. Instead, this often falls to the wayside and is overlooked in favor of other important factors to enable growth.
With the changing landscape of HR and internal recruitment teams flexing, chances are, whether someone is on your payroll or not, recruiting in 2021 is going to be different from the past. The usual elevator pitch won’t always work, especially because your company is most likely different from what it was even 6 months ago. In my experience, telling leaders you are paying for a specific expert who needs their partnership to save time and money does lend itself to an appreciation of the work at hand.
Today, there are many options to use a recruitment partner that works with a few key leaders to augment and extend the internal team’s expertise and time. Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) providers can embed their team into your organization, taking the time to get to know who you are as an employer and provide candidates who not only meet the skill requirements but also can fit with your culture and add to it. They can also do all the legwork needed to build out a funnel of passive and active candidates who are interested in not just working but also working for you.
3. When Do I Outsource Versus Insource?
Upon reaching a certain stage, organizations might choose to consider bringing their recruitment internally, but until this point, it is more efficient to outsource this process to the specialists. The myth is that outsourcing is expensive, but the reality is that it is not.
Instead of having your core team spend 90 days sourcing, interviewing, and onboarding candidates, key players can instead focus on the product. The right recruitment partner who is prepped and engaged will bring you expertly sourced candidates and make those vital hires while receiving insight and feedback to help develop your employer brand and culture and help future recruitment and retention efforts.
With RPO becoming a flexible resource for many, growing businesses have the option of scaling services to suit their requirements. They can fulfill a larger number of hires to facilitate growth and scale back in quieter periods. Creating or leveraging an agile employer brand ensures the right talent will still be connecting with your company—even while you’re not actively recruiting.
Contrary to the myth that outsourcing your talent search means a huge ongoing commitment that can only be the domain of larger brands, if you want to be truly agile, you might want to consider a flexible, scalable, long-term program for candidate marketing and searching. This might actually be the scale-up’s route to successful growth while the management team focuses on the product or service that created the business in the first place (and, of course, the customers).
Jody Robie is Senior Vice President and shareholder for North America at Talent Works.