human resources

The quick-fix often comes unstuck when filling a resources gap

Engel Schmidl /

When you have a resource gap in your business, you often need it to be filled immediately, as in yesterday! So it’s very tempting and may seem like a necessary evil sometimes to go ahead and hire someone who might only tick half the boxes in order to fill the gap.

Of course it’s always done with good intentions – the hiring decision is likely made in the hope that all the new recruit will need is a little extra training and time to come up to the level you need them to be at.

Sounds workable in theory, but in reality, this quick-fix solution rarely does your business any good. The resource gap won’t necessarily go away if the candidate you hire isn’t up to the job that you’ve hired them to do and/or doesn’t fit into your business culture.

What you’re essentially doing here is setting them up to fail, which isn’t a good thing for them or your business. And as much as you think you’ll have the time and resources to give them that little extra training and support to deliver on the things you need them to, be realistic and determine whether that is genuinely the case.

If it is, great! If it isn’t, then things probably won’t work out in your favour.

It may be too big of an ask for your business to wait patiently until the individual you’ve hired can meet the expectations required of them and something your business simply cannot afford to do.

So how can you avoid this situation and ensure that you hire the best possible candidate for the role?

Well, a good place to start is to clearly define your selection criteria. Look beyond the parameters of a job description and consider not only the key skills and experiences the successful candidate will need to have in order to be successful in the role but also the knowledge and personal attributes necessary for them to be nothing less than great at the job you require them to do.

Certain roles will demand a set of key technical skills or experiences that are must-haves. Avoid compromising on these particularly if you (a) don’t have the resources to provide the level of training required to help the new recruit gain the necessary skills and experience and (b) if you need the new recruit to hit the ground running – fast.

Similarly, don’t discount individuals that have similar but not exactly the same skills and experience you’re looking for; take into consideration any transferrable skills they might have and couple this with any relevant personal attributes like a strong work ethic or positive can-do attitude to compensate for the lack of skill or knowledge.

As the old recruitment saying goes – recruit for attitude and train for skill. This can be true for a variety of roles, particularly roles that don’t require a high level of technical skill or prior experience.

Try not to settle. Sometimes it pays to wait things out. If the right candidate hasn’t come around just yet, don’t panic and hire the next best thing.

This may be easier said than done if you’re under the pump but in the long run, hiring someone that isn’t quite right for the role will cost you more time and money when they don’t work out and you have to go back through the recruitment process all over again.

Try different sourcing channels to attract the right candidate to the role and seek external help if you need to. In the meantime, look at your internal processes and try as best you can to cover resource gaps internally as a short-term solution until you find the perfect hire.

Finally, go with your gut. Intuition can be a powerful thing and help you avoid the regret associated with hindsight.

Near enough is often never good enough. Take the time to develop and work through a robust recruitment process that will see you hire not just any old candidate for the role but the best candidate for the role.

Janelle McKenzie and Abiramie Sathiamoorthy are the founders of HR firm E&I People Solutions.

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