Rapidly expanding companies require strong and skilled teams to support them during their time of growth. Typically the biggest challenge that fast growing companies face is the urgency they feel to hire ‘A’ players for critical roles within their team, that arise when demand for their products or services increases. Hence, it’s quite common to make mistakes as fast-growing companies strive to string together a team in a limited time period.
Creating a team that consists of the right individuals with the right skills can be more difficult than it seems at first glance. Here are some of the most common hiring mistakes companies make, and how they can be avoided:
Mistake # 1: Hiring Because You Think You Need To
When companies acquire funding, their first instinct is often times to make a bold move that establishes their presence in the market in order to create awareness of their products or services for their targeted customer base. Rapidly growing companies will often spend money on prestigious new offices, and fringe benefits for employees. However, getting carried away with short term gains can cost businesses the bigger picture.
The truth is, more salespeople don’t necessarily mean your business will be guaranteed more sales. When work begins to slow down a year down the road or the demand for your product becomes saturated, all a fast growing company will be left with, is an overpopulated workforce that needs to be paid.
Assess your company’s needs thoroughly and try to implement a structured recruitment plan that will not only save you money, but also time and effort. This assessment should include realistically forecasting the needs of your business 6 months, 12 and 18 months from now. Keep your hiring plans aligned with your business goals in order to find the right candidates for the jobs ahead.
Mistake # 2: Hiring Candidates with No Experience in Rapid Growth Environments
Fast growing businesses often feel compelled to seek highly talented candidates who have worked in similar execution roles at other companies. While these skill sets and prior experience is undoubtedly useful, it is also important to keep in mind that working in a high stress environment where a company is experiencing dramatic increases in growth while positive, is also extremely stressful. Finding a candidate that has been in a similar situation can be invaluable in helping you navigate some of the challenges that can be avoided with forethought.
Great employees are hired. But great employees can also be made. There are always plenty of talented and eager candidates in the job market, who are willing to strive for excellence and help your company achieve the results you need. Focus your hiring efforts on candidates who can learn from your business to eventually become senior managers. Be sure to look for soft skills as opposed to hard skills. In addition to looking for specific experience, consider employing some of the amazing personality profiling tools available these days. Even if the role you are looking to fill is not necessarily one of Chief Strategist, hiring people that tend to roll with the punches and are more entrepreneurial in nature as opposed to candidates that may tend to get rattled easily with a sudden change in plans will benefit in many ways down the line.
Mistake # 3: Being Afraid to Handle The Misfit
More often than not, companies enjoying explosive growth resort to filling some roles with candidates that do not quite meet their expectations, strictly to get a seat filled in times of urgent demand. And sometimes companies end up keeping poorly performing managers because they’re afraid to admit that there’s an unsuitable candidate in the management structure and are frankly too busy to make a change. The thinking is that someone is better than no one, and that would not be further from the truth.
An unsuitable candidate or a misfit in your team can be the source of limited or lessened productivity. Whether or not you choose to let them go, misfits and bad recruits end up hurting your corporate culture and causing you more trouble in the long run.
A thorough assessment of the roles you are looking to fill will help you find the candidate that not only fits the criteria perfectly but also performs well. Pre-screening candidates to understand their personality traits, cultural preferences and placing them in simulations of possible work situations can help you find the right candidate.
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Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of ISC and can be reached directly at or direct dial at 888-866-7276.
Carolyn McClendon is a Senior Recruiter at ISC and can be reached directly at or direct dial at 888-974-0086