On our journeys to world domination and Unicorn status, we hire a whole bunch of super-smart people to do really complex jobs. Some of which, we don’t even understand. The jobs that is, not the people.
Some of us grow at an exponential rate and some of us take a more considered and slightly cautious approach. Horses for courses. When you’ve taken on a whole bunch of VC funding, the expectation has suddenly changed and you’re in a whole different world. You’re certainly not in Kansas anymore. When your self-funding that growth, you’re understandably more cautious with your cashflow.
Regardless of the velocity of your growth, you can always get thrown a curly, and sometimes unexpected hiring challenge in the form of a role that you’re just struggling to fill.
For the savvy recruiter, this is a time to think about and discuss variables. We’ll take it as a given that you’ve run some great ad copy in the appropriate channels, ensured the skill set you’re looking for actually exists (It’s not that common, but I have seen businesses looking for a skill set/blend that doesn’t exist – so their “ideal hire” is not based in reality. Which in my experience, is always a good place to start), ensured your PD actually reflects your need, activated your internal and external referral networks, made some targeted approaches to potential candidates, ensured your hiring process is on point, made sure that your interviewing team are all available and briefed, and all the other things that need to happen.
But, when you’ve done all this and your day’s open column is still looking ugly, it’s time to take action. A discussion around the variables needs to be had, however, I’d advise being well-armed with data. A change in perception or expectation of workload is much easier to digest when it’s backed up with some facts. So, sources of candidates, number of applicants, candidates interviewed, candidates rejected (along with the high-level detail around the reasons why) and all the other good stuff is what you probably need.
The variables you could consider are in part guided by your company size, but if you have some data of the type listed here, they shouldn’t be guided by the status quo. They are in fact a great way to open dialogue that can change the way some of your stakeholders look at the world of work and your organisation’s place in it.
So what are these mystical variables? Here goes;
- Does the role have to based here?
- Could it be located in another office/location?
- Does this have to be a full-time role?
- Does this role have to be done by one person?
- Could this role be job shared?
- Could this role be split into two part time roles that cover two aspects of this role?
- Does this role have to be a permanent hire?
- Could it be a contract role for 6 months?
- Are there any current high flight risk staff that might be suitable for some training?
When you throw these discussions out there into the discussion, you may well be surprised at the response from your hiring teams. You may work in an environment where these are already common discussions in which case you’re probably having these at the beginning of the process.
However I get the feeling they’re not common discussions, but they are great ones to have. They may not just help you fill roles but they may also shift the dialogue around how work is done, which can only be a good thing.