Every HR professional and recruiter faces the challenge of knowing how to balance hiring needs, projecting what position and hires to prioritize and ensuring key people are in place to help accomplish business goals and needs. It’s a juggling act that can have a direct affect on a company’s business success. It’s an often overlooked aspect of the recruiting and HR industry. Executives and management expect HR and recruiters to be able to find talent and put them in place when needed. It can be a juggling act.
For Tim Mayer, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist with Mortenson Construction, the key factor when prioritizing positions is business need, with a dual focus on immediate projects and future growth.
“Our hiring is often aligned with the start of a project and those dates can provide a timeline for the staffing process,” says Mayer. “At the same time, it is important to identify and connect with top talent in the industry that could help us meet future goals, even if there isn’t a current requisition where they are clear fit.”
Irelis Arias, Director of Human Resources at HRdirect, a leading source of practical and affordable HR products and services for smart employers, says when there are multiple positions open, priority is usually given to a position where there is an immediate need to fill due to workflow or to a high level position that is key to the organization and cannot be open for very long.
“With respect to workflow, it could be that the open position is for a role that is extremely busy and having it open means others in the department have to pick up the work load while the position is vacant, causing that to become a priority,” says Arias.
Arias points a key factor in all of this: There is a big difference between large corporations and small businesses when it comes to determining or prioritizing what positions to hire.
“There are priorities in certain roles with a big business, but recruiting is a priority in every position with a small business because even if you only have two employees, those two are doing it all and most likely working numerous hours to meet the goals of the company, so hiring becomes an urgent need.” says Aria.
On the contrary, big businesses often have the ability to get others to cover the position until someone is hired, says Arias.
“Hiring is made when there is a need to fill a position and the focus should be on where the immediate need is,” says Arias. “Small businesses should focus on bringing on employees as needed and not being afraid of over staffing. Some small business owners tend to shy away from staffing appropriately for fear of the business slowing down and needing to do layoff’s; however, in that scenario they run the risk of losing the employees they do have because they are overworking them.”
In a case where a company may need help, but not in a permanent role, that’s a good time to consider hiring contract or temporary workers. This can solve hiring issues on short-term or project need basis.
As a larger company, Mortensen puts a great deal of resources into its recruiting efforts, but networking always seems to be the leading source of finding top candidates, says Mayer. Those same principles can be incorporated by recruiters, hiring managers and small business owners looking to add talent now or in the future.
“LinkedIn is a great (free) networking tool to leverage, that I highly recommend everyone use,” says Mayer. “I also recommend approaching day-to-day recruiting and business activities with a focus on identifying and connecting with talented people. I try and instill an ‘everyone is a recruiter’ attitude across our business units, as an employee, or customer referral can be a great source for candidates.”
At Mortensen, projects have specific resource requirements, says Mayer, so ensuring those teams are fully staffed drives necessary hires. As a recruiter (and a company) Mayer and Mortensen are always looking for talented people across the organization, but especially in their core positions – which include project managers, engineers and superintendents. Project timing is also important when it comes time to hire key positions.
“Our growth plans put us in a position to identify future opportunities for top talent,” says Mayer.
Added Mayer: “I strive for a culture where our employees are always thinking about who would make great team members as they work and interact with people every day. What better source for candidates than from someone you have worked with in the past and trust?”
Those positions that would be nice to fill – but may not help solve an immediate business need, always take a back seat when it comes to hiring, says Arias, but at some point they too need to be filled.
“Those positions don’t come as often and usually are the ones an organization looks at as a future hire that may be due to it being a newly created position or because of unexpected growth,” says Arias. “If that is the case, the organization should routinely be meeting to discuss what are the pros and cons of waiting to hire these roles. Obviously the priority would go to positions with immediate needs for the company’s bottom line.”
That’s why it’s important recruiters stay connected to top talent and prospects, whether there is an immediate need or not, to hire. When that time comes up and there is a need to hire, those already established relationships can help fill key positions faster.
“Continue to stay connected to talented people, ven if there isn’t a clear and immediate need,” says Mayer. “They are good contacts to have for networking should a future need arise that is a fit.