Who You Should Hire and When
You’re a small contracting business. Naturally, that means each individual employee makes up a greater part of the overall organization. With each hire, the landscape of your business can change dramatically. From a financial, cultural and operational perspective, the decision to hire additional employees is a big one.
To help gauge your needs throughout the year on when and who to hire, start by answering the following three questions.
What Seasonal Fluctuations Does Your Business or Industry Experience?
Hiring may seem like a moving target, but one aspect of hiring you can plan for is seasonal highs and lows. Retail stores, for example, frequently hire extra help in November and December because sales increase 21.2% during the holiday season.
Small businesses in the contracting and construction industry experience similar peak times of the year. Construction workers are likely busier when the weather is nice, such as spring and summer for northern cities. In those same geographic regions, plumbers may actually see an uptick in work during the winter because of frozen pipes.
The key for small businesses is to identify when these peaks and valleys occur for you and plan your hiring needs (permanent or temp) accordingly. To do this, start with your own sales data to see when changes occur on an annual basis. Even as your business grows, are there consistencies you see year-to-year?
Beyond your personal business, what prior experience in the industry tells you about the seasonal fluctuations in your field?
Finally, if you’re really interested in digging into some statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Economic Indicators segment sales numbers by industry. From there, you can see how these change throughout the year on a macro-level.
After considering your own experience and checking industry numbers, plan out when those peak and valleys occur throughout the year.
Regardless of which season(s) you identify, successful hiring comes to those who are proactive and always looking to improve. Hiring at the wrong time or trying to hire too quickly diminishes your chances of securing the right candidate.
Will You Have Enough Work (and Money) for a New Employee?
Should you hire a new employee? Start by analyzing your financial situation. Think about how adding an additional employee will impact the company’s financial health.
Ask yourself, “Will adding to our payroll put us in the red, or will it help us better service our clients and increase profitability?”
Secondly, think about your current staffing situation:
Are you or your staff overly busy?
Are you and your employees working in areas of strength, or could new employees fill voids to better organize the staff around their skills and
Are you able to handle your current workload, or have you actually had to turn down offers for work?
Or, maybe you don’t have enough clients as is. Don’t increase staffing without any expectation of growth. Think about this: You can say “no” to potential customers, but can’t say “yes” to customers that aren’t asking for work.
At the end of the day, knowing if it’s time to hire is a judgment of the position your business is financially and how the current team is performing personally.
Related Article: Hiring Your First Employee? 5 Signs the Time Is Right
What Level of Work Do You Need?
You’ve heard the old adage, “age before beauty.” Oftentimes, business owners and hiring managers seek established industry experts over younger, new employees. The commonplace résumé, for example, is a record of accomplishments, which inherently plays to the strengths of a veteran in the industry.
Ask yourself, “When would hiring for potential actually be the better plan?”
Highly Experienced Talent
An established contractor can bring in more business if they’re already known in the industry or can offer a service that complements what you already provide. Another plus to an experienced employee is they will require less training. The tradeoff, of course, is that the new hire will be more expensive.
Hiring For Potential
Someone with less experience, who is newer to their career, offers entirely different pros and cons to the hiring process. On one hand, a younger employee will be affordable and willing to learn the trade in the manner you wish to teach it. They may come with less established skills, but that enables you to be a teacher and mentor. On the other hand, inexperienced contractors undoubtedly require more training and mentoring.
Ultimately, it is about hiring the best employee to fit the culture, needs and budget of your business. While the job description will dictate whether more experienced or inexperienced talent applies, the final decision should be motivated by the characteristics and skills that will best mesh with your business and take it to the next level.