Too busy to recruit? Here's what to do about it.

too_busy_to_recruitThis week, I'd like to help you avoid falling into a dangerous trap (you're welcome!).

The trap is called "too busy to recruit" - and it can be a vicious cycle.

You need more people to do the work you have, but getting those people takes more time and work, so instead, you keep struggling to finish the work you have, but it never gets done because you don't have enough people, but you can't hire new ones because you're too busy... and it repeats ad nauseum.

People who are stuck in this spiral are thinking about recruiting the wrong way.
So, here are three arguments for why you're never “too busy to recruit”:

1. The only way to escape the “too much work” hole is to spend time on hiring—procrastination just makes it worse.
If you're swamped, I want you to know—I've been there. I get it. However, I found out the hard way that the only way to get more bandwidth is by hiring someone to share the workload. Otherwise, the work never gets done, and it just keeps piling higher and higher.

Here's a trick that helped me: when I thought I couldn't pull myself away from work to spend an hour on recruiting each day, I asked myself: “what am I doing that's more important?”

If you're spending your time in meetings or doing anything that won't directly lead to hiring the best talent, cut it out of your schedule, and replace it with searching for great candidates. Otherwise, you're saying: “I'm building a house, but I don't have time to nail wood together.”

2. If you're a leader, hiring a great team is a core part of your job.
If you're a manager, you have to have a hiring mindset, which can be difficult at the beginning. You might be used to spending your time selling, programming, marketing, etc., because that's what you're best at—hell, it's why you were hired/promoted in the first place.

However, that's still thinking like an individual contributor. If you've been given the responsibility of hiring/managing/leading people, then recruiting is now a crucial part of your job. Your biggest impact won't come from you continuing to perform your old duties, it will come from effectively building and leading a team to do more than you could ever do on your own.

3. You can't half-ass it—the people you hire will make or break your company, so you have to invest the time and money to do it right.
Think about the risk/reward for hiring—a bad hire could sit at their desk, slowly draining your company from the inside, or they could mess up a presentation for your biggest client. Ultimately, you might have to fire them, which brings a whole new set of costs and risks. It's a complete mess.

By the same token, if you invest the resources and time to hire someone great, what could happen? They might make a million dollars for you, or develop a key invention, or solve a crucial problem for your product. Maybe they will inspire your colleagues and shape your company culture into one of the top places to work.

And what does it cost you to find a great candidate, versus one's who's borderline? The price of buying lunch for ten colleagues to get a referral or two from each of them? The effort of re-posting your job ads across multiple sources? The time it takes to hit up a few networking events?

Both the potential upside and downside for a new hire are literally limitless.
It just depends on the time and effort you spend to hire the best person possible.

So those three reasons are why I cringe whenever someone tells me they don't have time to hire someone. They may think they are focusing on what's important, but in fact, they're starving a critical business function, mortgaging their future, and failing to capture the enormous upside of hiring great talent.

Do you agree or disagree?
Reply below and let's discuss.

Greenhouse is recruiting software that works the way you want to. Find the best talent, improve your interviews, and make better decisions. Greenhouse gets it.

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