Our client is a company of about 30 employees with sales of slightly more than $4 million.
The challenge: Make the high-quality hires needed to continue building the business - without the benefit of a human resources manager.
Most small business owners have a passion and talent for their core operations and sometimes sales. Our client planned to hire an operations manager. He thought about hiring an operations manager who could handle some of the day-to-day tasks that were starting to eat into his time. There was no one to take work off our client's plate.
Even the prospect of carving out time to do the hiring was daunting. He worried about spending three days sorting through résumés when he could have been out generating sales. Applications were surging, the majority of whom were completely unqualified.
In addition, our client did not have the best track record when it came to hiring. A string of small disasters was discouraging and expensive. And he was attracting the wrong kind of candidate.
The options: Find an operations manager who is a "keeper". The client tried running ads on Craigslist and HRDC Web sites. This seemed the least expensive way to go. But including the time for culling résumés, it became clear that this was not the best way to find candidates, particularly a strong manager.
His other option was to hire a recruiter. But our client was not keen on spending typically $15,000.
The decision: Our client decided to use an agency to find his operations manager. Once the agency understood his needs, it sent him the résumés of 12 candidates. Our client selected six and spent a day interviewing them. He scheduled second interviews in which we participated with the top two candidates.
Our client interviewed one candidate, while we interviewed the other, and then we switched.
The most valuable part of the process came when we sat down afterward. Both applicants were highly qualified, but we were able to advise our client based on our arms-length perspective and our knowledge of our client needs and personality.
We additionally helped by doing professional reference checks, and we arranged for an online psychological profile. Once we were satisfied that the candidate was actually who we believed him to be from the interviews, our client made an offer based on terms and conditions that we helped negotiate. The offer was accepted.
The new operations manager immediately took accounting and finance off our client's plate. He also assumed responsibility for filling four remaining junior spots. The new operations manager estimated that he spent 20 percent of his time in the first two months on hiring, weeding through 1,500 résumés for the administrative position alone. To improve the process, they decided to be more proactive. They learned how to be more effective and selective using job web sites, creatively searching the sites' databases for people who met their needs. They also improved their interviewing skills based on some coaching from us. They learned that do-it-yourself staffing is not as cheap as it seems at first – and that professional help makes the process easier and cheaper by finding the right candidate the first time.