There are two questions people continually ask us (and sometimes don’t hire us because of our answer): How much do you charge to hire an employee for me, and how long will it take?

A client whom we have successfully helped before told us, “I can’t use you this time because I need someone ASAP.” This was right after being delighted with the person we previously placed, and she is still there after two years. And mind you, this type of longevity and productivity has not previously occurred with this client. As business owners, we do understand that there are urgent, crisis times for hiring. But the process for getting someone who will be a “lifer” isn’t fast and furious – much like the dating process, it takes as long as it takes.

We all “know” that we should invest the time to hire right the first time. We all know a bad hire costs more. When an employee quits or when we are so busy we can’t see straight, that lands like appeasement. We need help and we need it now! But guess what? The process still takes as long as it takes.

We’ve been helping entrepreneurs hire support staff for a long time, and anyone who promises you they can place someone “fast and cheap” is not being truthful. They can tell you how long the process typically takes, but they can’t promise a good result in a specific time period. It’s like going on a dating site that promises you will find your match and be married happily within a set time period. You just can’t promise those results. I’d dare say that you can’t even promise to have candidates in a certain time period – well-qualified candidates, at least. You can always put a warm body into an interview to fulfill the promise, but a warm body doesn’t equal a qualified candidate. If you’ve found a company that can promise and deliver “the ideal fit” in a guaranteed time period, send us their name, because we want to know their secret!

So don’t ignore what we know is true – embrace the fact that hiring the “right” person isn’t a quick process unless you get unusually lucky (and luck can’t be duplicated). Accept that it may take a while, and find a solution to meet your urgent needs while still following a process to make a good hire, instead of abandoning all that we know and making a quick hire that is most likely going to be a costly failure.

Make a plan for the interim period that meets your urgent needs, while giving yourself time and space to find the right long-term addition to your team. Here are some ideas:

  1. Hire a temp agency with the mindset that they are going to be an extra set of hands on deck while you search for the ideal lifer candidate. The temp can keep the business running, make certain the phone is answered and greet clients warmly while you invest the time to find the ideal person. And trust us, you will know it when you meet them.
  2. Meet with your existing team. List out exactly what you are in desperate need of help with, and see what your existing team is able to possibly absorb temporarily. This isn’t a long-term solution; you don’t want to overwhelm your team and end up with burnout. But for a month or two, it’s possible for team to agree to pick up the slack, particularly if it’s discussed as a group and agreed to, and you offer an incentive (a bonus, etc.). This of course will only work if your existing team has the skill set or knowledge level to handle the urgent tasks.
  3. Outsource. I run a back-office drafting company. Many of the attorneys we work with use us as a temporary solution to overflow work in their busy season or to fill the drafting needs of their firm when they are in-between employees or someone is out for vacation or maternity/surgery leave. Our clients commonly share that even temporary outsourcing is a good experience, as it requires them to tighten up their design process, which then makes it easy to onboard a new employee into that role.
  4. Adjust your calendar. If you have something coming up that will require this new team member to make it happen, consider rescheduling it (NOT money appointments!!). Just because you’ve always done your client updates in May doesn’t mean you HAVE to do them in May. Maybe it won’t work to reschedule, but think it through and consider it. This may give you some breathing room to take the time to make a good hire. The key is to reschedule it – not postpone it. Think it through and put it on the calendar for a new time.

These are just a few of many ways to allow yourself immediate, albeit temporary, solutions that give you time and space to make a good hire.

I know it’s seductive to jump the gun and hire quickly. But you KNOW, like we know, that it just doesn’t work that way. And I promise you, whatever stress and chaos you are experiencing because you are in desperate need to hire someone will only be magnified by having the WRONG person onboard.

Click this link to schedule a discovery call and get more information about our process – which isn’t a quick fix, but it does WORK to get the right long-term hire on your team who has the mindset, behaviors, core values and integrity you ultimately need.

Laney Lyons