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Who Are You Really Looking to Hire?

Posted on May 7th 2019


Who Are You Really Looking to Hire?

The right employees, or lack thereof, can be one of the biggest constraints in an organization.

It takes time and a lot of resources to recruit, interview, hire, onboard, and train. Replicating the right hires can be even more difficult as a business scales and needs increase.

One of the issues with trying to replicate the same hire again and again is that over time, the same hire isn't the one you really need - even when you're staffing the same position.

Consider these two scenarios:

1. Emily

Emily is a friendly, outgoing, personable, and intelligent customer service representative that was hired two years ago. She set the bar for what her position can do, and she's a great culture addition to her team and the company.

Emily's also bored. She's hit her pay cap, but isn't qualified or motivated to take on a bigger role.

Hiring more Emily's solves an enormous service need at the outset. The organization needs friendly, personable people to help resolve customer service issues and keep clients onboard.

But Emily's only last 18 months. The cost to find her is low, but the cost of hiring, onboarding, training, and benefits is high. Her quick exit makes it difficult to break even on the investment.

2. Sara

Sara is a shy but friendly customer service representative at the same company. She's at the outset of her career, is more economically motivated (and therefore more expensive) than Emily, and loves her job.

But replicating Sara means more full-time school schedules. Saras' hours are tricky to work around, and some of the team feels like Saras receive advantages they don't. She's are good at her job, but can get distracted digging into other areas of the business, product, and organization. She wants to be a part of other conversations when the real need is to answer phones.

Saras stick around. Through her education and on-the-job experience, she's qualified to take on a bigger role and move faster into others down the road.

When this company ran into a shortage of customer service representatives, they went out and found a pool of Emily's to hire. They were less expensive initially, making it easier to bear the load of multiple hires at once.

Six months later, the company was in the same position as a handful of other bored Emily's left for the same reasons.

Hiring, especially in entry-level roles, is often viewed through a short-term lens. There are calls that need to be answered, customers that need to be served, admin work that needs to be done. Everything else can be sorted out later.

The problem is that "later" is a moving target, often pushed further and further back by the same set of decisions and principles that caused the short-term need in the first place.

The organizations that outperform, out-woo and ultimately beat their competition, adopt a long-term strategy for staffing even their most basic roles. They invest wisely at the bottom to earn an employee return at the mid and higher levels of their business.

Is who you're looking for today the result of previous shortsightedness? Or are they really the person you need?