I’ve struggled with this for a long time, but knowing when to hire an employee is a key skill to have. We’ve been growing steadily in recent months, and the pressure has continued to increase. In just a few short weeks, I’ll have my first employee (part time, but better than nothing!) to help keep things moving in the right direction. I can’t wait! Today I want to talk a little about when to make the decision to hire someone else.

I’m going to assume that your company, like mine, is trying to stay lean and competitive, so adding people on a whim is not going to fly in this case. Here are a few of the pieces of the puzzle that had to be in place for me to support the need for more help in building a new HR department.

3 tips for when to hire an employee

  1. You have to be working hard. It might seem silly or simplistic so say that out loud, but many people are just going through the motions and not giving it everything they have. Your manager needs to see you giving it everything you’ve got or there will be no leverage or data to back up your claim for more people. Here’s how that worked for me-In the past two months I’ve been recruiting pretty much nonstop. I’ve been taking care of a minimum amount of HR duties to keep things moving, but some things are just having to fall through the cracks. I’m keeping my manager in the loop to make sure we are targeting the same priorities, and he is very aware of what is and is not getting done. As that list of “not done” items starts reaching critical mass, it becomes an imperative statement on when to hire an employee.
  2. You have to know what you want. This was (and still is) the hardest for me. Do you want a seasoned professional to come in and take over a piece of the HR workload? Do you want an admin to come in, help with the data and paper shuffle, and grow into a specialty area over time? What specific tasks are you willing to give up?For a few weeks now I have been building a profile for the “perfect” candidate. I wanted them to be entry-level, have few preconceived notions about HR, and be a solid culture fit hire. I want them to take over some specific areas of the HR function so I can focus on some other key areas.
  3. Hire what you need and don’t get sidetracked. This one is tough for many people, and the hiring team definitely fell into this trap until we pulled ourselves back out. If you’re hiring for someone to handle benefits, don’t disqualify someone because they aren’t chatty and personable. If you’re hiring someone to take over your recruiting, pay more attention to their physical and verbal cues than you do to their college degree. You’re selecting someone for a specific role, and you will never find the person with 100% of the qualifications, experience, etc. that you want. That’s why you make up a fake profile for the perfect candidate and start bouncing applicants off that standard. It helps you to see which areas are critical and which are just “nice to have.” Hire for what you need, and don’t get sidetracked halfway through the process by a flashy candidate who might be a great hire but a poor fit for the tasks, team, or culture.

You’ll notice I didn’t talk about an HR to employee ratio at all within the context of this article. I know those ratios are all over the map and don’t necessarily measure the right thing anyway. I wanted to focus on what to look for if you are trying to decide when to hire an employee.

For those of you who have had to determine when to hire an employee, what

Subscribe for updates and get the free Organizational Culture Change Manifesto eBook

Subscriber Preferences
  • 3 thoughts on “3 Tips for When to Hire An Employee

    1. I like this post! However, you lost me on this point “If you’re hiring for someone to handle benefits, don’t disqualify someone because they aren’t chatty and personable.” I think it is very important for a benefits person to be personable, compassionate, etc. Many benefit questions arise out of unhappy circumstances i.e. divorce, illness or in the extreme loss of a loved one. Good luck with your new employee!!!

    2. Good insight. I have a very similar situation at work and I totally understand the “falling through the cracks” issue. My situation differs in that I’m currently dividing my time between my HR role and another vacant position.

    3. Good insight, Ben! I think second point is no brainer. Without knowing what tasks you want to be free from, you’re basically shooting in the dark. That stretches to third point automatically. The recruit should be someone who’s able to handle the tasks you want to be free from independently.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *