Listen to an entrepreneurship podcast today and you’re likely to hear a version of this statement, ‘Your time is your most limited resource - outsource everything you can so that you spend the most time possible in your zone of genius.” Most business owners I talk to tell me hiring is the hardest thing they do. They don’t know where to find great talent or how to accurately assess their ability to do the job. Many fear they will make a wrong hiring decision and I’ve seen it paralyze business owners until they avoid hiring altogether, at great expense to their business expansion plans. As the CEO of a recruiting firm focused on connecting mission-driven companies with service-minded talent, I hear three main reasons our clients choose to outsource their recruiting efforts to my team.
- Time. Let’s face it, writing a job description, posting on job boards, putting it on social media, emailing all your contacts, receiving resumes of people completely unqualified for the job, finding qualified candidates, calling qualified candidates, screening candidates, setting up interviews, the list of tasks goes on and on. Most people significantly underestimate the time involved in hiring the right candidate. When I recruited for McChrystal Group, our team invested a minimum of 1.5 hours on candidates we were interested in learning more about and often over 10 hours on candidates we were very interested in. Of those, we conducted in-person interviews with approximately five to ten people to every one person we hired (these are not official statistics). That means one successful hire generally cost over 70 hours. We were lucky to have a steady stream of candidates, so we spent no time on advertising positions or sourcing talent. Add between 20-40 hours if you need to go looking for candidates.
- Expertise. When I started recruiting, I had no idea the training that goes into effective recruiting. Every step, from knowing how to find candidates (it’s not job boards) to asking the right interview questions assessing culture fit, is an art and a science all at once. In working with small business owners, I’ve found that a big concern in hiring staff is simply not knowing how - whether it be not knowing how to create a job description or not knowing how to ask the best interview questions to make the right decision - the whole process is daunting.
- Insufficient Network. As a business owner, you’ve worked hard to build your network, which includes your online presence. However, these efforts are generally aimed at customer acquisition, not candidate acquisition. What happens when you need to hire a Facilities Manager? How many Facilities Managers are within your physical or online networks?Probably not many. You are told to leverage your network in hiring, but if your network isn’t stocked with people able to do your job, that may not be enough.
Outsourcing your recruiting to a professional recruiter:
- Saves you time. Professional recruiters do the tedious parts, letting you focus your energy on interviewing the best, most qualified candidates.
- Leverages the recruiters’ expertise. Most recruiters will tell you the best candidates come from the passive job market. This means they aren’t the people surfing indeed.com for your posting. Recruiters use their expertise to go digging for candidates, call them, get them interested in your organization, screen them for fit, and set you up for an interview. You get the benefit of their expertise in reading resumes and people.
- Gives you access to networks of job seekers. Recruiters curate content of interest to job seekers in your target market. They build a following of people looking for jobs. The interface with other recruiters who have large talent pools and job search experts (resume writers, career coaches) who are aware of the newest talent on the market. They have lists of people they can email to share your job opportunity. They spend 40-60 hours a week finding new places to meet great candidates. For most small businesses, it would take years of targeted effort to match the reach of a recruiter’s network.
What can’t you outsource? You can’t outsource the face to face interviews. You need to meet your candidates, bring them into your space, and see how they fit in your organization. You must bring it across the finish line. However, allowing a professional to do the front end work is worth the financial investment to save yourself time and energy while gaining expertise and access to the best talent available.