To grow properly, companies need to establish a hiring process that is focused equally on the present and future. This can be a delicate balance, says Tom Gimbel, the president and CEO of the LaSalle Network, a $37 million staffing and recruiting firm based in Chicago. One the one hand, says Gimbel, you don't want to wait to hire only when you have a need, as this can slow the growth of your company. But neither do you want to grow so fast that you end up hiring subpar candidates.
Gimbel shares four ways that companies can ensure that they are maintaining a proper balance in their hiring process.
1. Always be interviewing. "I really believe that the right time for entrepreneurs, especially of small and growing companies, to make a hire is before they actually have the need," says Gimbel. One proactive way to ensure candidate flow is to constantly be interviewing people for a variety of positions. "It also helps keep you abreast of what's going on in the marketplace," says Gimbel. "Doing one or two interviews a week can really add value to your company."
2. Focus on quality over speed. If your company is growing so rapidly that you start to think about hiring subpar people to fit a need, it's time to take a step back. Gimbel faced this himself at LaSalle, after he'd been at the company for around eight years. "We made the decision to slow down our growth a little and really focus on quality," Gimbel says. That helped create a snowball effect that then led to the company going from $20 million in sales to $37 million in only three years.
3. Proactive networking. When you're looking to add talent, networking is vital, not only with clients but with vendors and peers, even dating back to college or graduate school networks before your firm was even started. "There's a lot of reciprocity in the marketplace," says Gimbel. "Be proactive in offering advice and help to others."
4. Make every hire count. Especially when a company has 100 or fewer employees, every hire is important. "If you're looking at one out of 10 people, it's 10 percent. That's a lot," Gimbel says. "Whether it's a computer programmer, or an administrative assistant, or an account, or a sales person, or a marketing professional, make every hire count."
As you're streamlining your recruiting strategies, don't forget about employee retention, says Gimbel. "So you have your client interface, your acquisition of new talent, and recruiting. But the area that's most often overlooked is retaining your key people."