Why do you need to hire, or how can you justify the increase in your team strength? This question is, by far, one of the most frustrating for hiring managers as this comes up at three different stages: with the CEO, HR and the recruiter at the intake call. In most cases, the reasons to justify a new hire are usually centered around understaffed teams, overbearing workload affecting the quality of work and depreciated employee morale. 

As a recruiter, I will agree that the reasons listed above are all valid, but it is also important for the relevant stakeholders to dig deeper into areas, such as the cost of hiring and training a new employee, technology that can do the work, and most importantly, hiring inwards.

In this article, I will provide you with some of the reasons it’s so hard to advocate for more team members, questions to ask before making the decision to hire, and a three-step analysis breakdown that ensures you are hiring for a need and not just a want.

Let’s begin with the key reasons why it is hard to advocate for additional team members

  1. Data: You have not yet adequately represented your current state, trends, and impact on the goals your team is trying to achieve, as well as facts that highlight the need for action or the consequences of not hiring using realistic data sets.
  2. Evaluation: Inability to show that you have evaluated your current team against current projects, results and areas for improvement that fit the overall business strategy

Important questions to ask before you think of hiring new team members

Business numbers look great, and the cash is starting to roll in. Maybe it’s time to hire some new employees, but first let’s ask the following:

What is the financial runway for XYZ’s business?

Statistics show that experienced professionals move jobs for higher pay amongst other things – so before your recruiters begin to poach people from your competitors, it is very important that you ask all the relevant financial questions and understand what drives revenue. It’s also important that you ensure you determine leading indicators, predictable factors that can forecast where your business is headed.

Should I hire, train or promote?

Your most valuable resource is your people. Take a close look at the existing staff, and conduct extensive job evaluations to determine if you need to look outside your company to get the work done or look internally by upskilling a few people. Hiring internally would not only lower hiring costs, including advertising and interview time, but also save over 10 – 16 weeks of training time for the new hire.

Is it the right time to hire?

The key to recruitment success is matching hiring to the time when new employees can begin to generate revenue, as well as when there is a clear pathway to time-bound projects that require specific skill sets. In many cases, from my experience, it takes eight to ten weeks to hire someone. How quickly can you hire and put new people to work? If the work plan is not quite ready, new employees sit on their hands.

Am I declining new business opportunities?

There’s steady growth and a strong portfolio of existing clients that you have worked for but you need to turn down new opportunities to work with new clients, that’s most likely a sign that you’re understaffed. To take on new clients and do more work, you’ll likely need to recruit new hires to help manage the increased workload.

Before you go ahead and put in that requisition for 4 additional team members, consider the following:

  • If employees are overworked, by working overtime or not taking vacations – for example, they’re at risk of burning out. Examine making your processes more efficient.
  • If employees seem to be busy, but revenue is not looking up, they just may be billing incorrectly or improperly trained. You may want to invest in training or improve your processes instead.
  • If this new role is billable: it directly generates revenue or overhead that handles general business functions.
  • If a new business offering requires a skill set that is lacking in your current team and hidden cost of hiring including health insurance coverage, training program costs etc

My 3 step analysis breakdown

Step 1: “Why do I need to make this hire?” should always be the first you ask yourself.

If the answer is, “because I, or the team, are just too busy,” that is not good enough. Your goal should be to bring in people that will add value that does not already exist.

Step 2: Make a list of what you hope to achieve with this hire.

On the left side, have the basic job description that states clearly what the scope of the role is as of today, and on the right side, have a wider scope of what that role will do soon – with that being more important work, as this is what makes this potential hire standout. Be very specific about how this person is going to contribute to growth through ideas, and certain skills they possess that might not be needed for the actual job role but one that will benefit your company’s growth in a different way altogether.

Step 3: Upon completion of both lists, you want to ask yourself if the future needs and goals outweigh the present

Benchmark that on what you envision for the company in the next 1- 3 years or more. This should help point you in the right direction.

Businesses of all sizes must get the timing right when hiring new employees. Normalize hiring new employees when there’s enough work to demand additional help and your financial situation is stable enough to manage the additional cost of a new employee to avoid layoffs and long-term blowbacks on the company image/reputation.

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