The Urgent Hire: How to Get it Right

So you have an urgent need for a new hire. Maybe your star employee has taken another job offer, or a period of growth has resulted in the need for more bench strength.

Where do you start?

Small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) have limited opportunities to get it right when building a team. Overstaffing and poor hiring decisions can lead to distraction at best, and completely unravel a team or organization at their worst. Each new hire is critical, and so is spending the time and attention needed to find and select the right candidate.

Unfortunately, small organizations have minimal time to recruit new team members. If turnover happens, it may temporarily place the company in crisis mode to fill a key gap, with the focus often on hiring quickly rather than well. The typical response is to hand over the recruitment to an expensive recruitment agency, who will be motivated to put a bum in a seat quickly rather than find the very best fit for the organization.

There’s a better way. When you have an urgent opportunity to add a new team member, consider the following:

Slow down

Think carefully about the opportunity (vs. the crisis) of hiring someone new. Is there a different way to think about what needs to be done? Is there someone on your team who could take on new opportunities?

Think about the future state of your organization and what types of skills might be needed. Use this opportunity to build capacity and not just replace the tasks that are being performed today.

What are you looking for?

Make sure to properly define and describe what you are looking for, and avoid vanilla job postings. Think about what the organization needs, the purpose of the role, and the type of person who will fit well, both for the role and with your team in terms of skills, experience, character and competency.

Spend time on this – the thoughtfulness you put into the description will speak to the top caliber candidate you are looking for.

Build internal recruitment capacity

Identify a team who will be part of the process to define, source and select candidates. Build a talent pool from your own job board and postings on popular job boards like LinkedIn and Indeed.

If your internal team is tapped out, consider enlisting the support of experienced part-time recruiters to join your internal recruitment team and take care of the heavy lifting of sourcing and screening candidates.

Be Patient

Your next great hire won’t show up overnight.

It may take 2-3 months to find the right fit, and rushing the process may provide temporary relief, but is ultimately the wrong move. Find internal team members who can cover off on critical tasks in the meantime, and let the process run its course. You’ll be happier when you’re confident that you’ve found the right person.

Onboard well

Once you do find that awesome new hire, plan out a comprehensive onboarding plan. Don’t think in terms of the first day or week – rather think about the first 90 days. What do they need to know? Who do they need to meet? What are near term wins that will build confidence and allow them to become successful? This near term investment in time to focus on your critical new hire will pay off dividends and allow them to hit their stride.

Long-term solutions

If you have an urgent need, now isn’t the time to wish you had done some long-term sourcing ahead of time. But, to make your next turnover easier, it’s a good time to start. Here are some tips:

Create a future vision of the workforce for your organization over the long-term. This should be aligned with your long-term strategy and should consider the business realities you face, both now and in the future. This will help define the critical leadership and operational roles that will be needed. It can also foster career growth opportunities for your existing team as they see opportunities to develop new skills and grow as experiences present themselves. Make sure to also consider opportunities that emerging technologies might offer in supporting key activities.

Always be scouting. With the vision of your future state in mind, develop a long-term radar screen and use every opportunity to meet new people and future potential candidates to place on your radar. When you see talent that you may want now or in the future, keep these relationships alive, even if they never come to fruition. When you do decide to build up your A-team, you will have a list of potential candidates in the wings.


If you’re in a recruiting crisis, we can help. We love to work with organizations to quickly create and execute a proactive recruitment plan. Learn more about the Business Sherpa Group’s recruiting services.

About the Author

Margo Crawford is the President, CEO and founder of the Business Sherpa Group where she has been involved with over 50 companies throughout North America from formation stage through to sale. Margo is a recognized thought leader in the area of human resources and entrepreneurship, and is passionate about the long term success of small and mid sized enterprises.

Business Sherpa Group

Strategic and operational professionals providing flexible consulting services to SMEs.

Explore the solutions we offer or contact info@businesssherpagroup.com with your immediate needs or simply if you’d like to chat; the first coffee is on us!

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