When is the Right Time to Hire?

The prospect of hiring a new employee can bring about feelings of excitement at the possibilities for your business or, in the seasoned manager's mind, a variety of stresses with the decision. Concerns range from additional resources required to support a new hire, the worry over their success or failure, and the simple understanding that making a hire has large impacts on this individual's life, your company's health and yes, you the manager.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average cost for each bad hire can equal 30 percent of that individual's annual earnings.

This is not a decision taken lightly by any experienced manager, but is an understood necessity in growing a successful organization.

In this article, we will provide insights on key questions/indicators that suggest it is time to bring on additional employees and important steps we should take before making any hiring decisions.

Is it Time to Hire?

As a first step in deciding if it is the right time to bring on another employee, ask these questions:

  • Are you missing growth opportunities? Do you have the resources and performance for growth but your staff cannot handle the additional workload? Do you continue to wait instead of grow?
  • Does the prospect of new/additional business make you cringe? Are you developing an aversion to growth due to overstretched resources?
  • Are you pitching in too often? It is our job as managers to primarily complete the work ONLY we can and to allow our team to manage their own aspects of the operation. If you are constantly having to roll up your sleeves and get involved in others work, it is not healthy for your company.
  • Are errors increasing in company performance? Especially true if you are beginning to see mistakes in your key-performing employees.
  • Are your customers beginning to notice problems? Are you starting to hear consistent feedback from clients on poor work quality, missed deadlines and/or poor communication from your team?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above, you need to take action. There is a chance the prudent action is hiring additional personnel, but before you make the costly commitment to acquiring and training help, take the steps described in the next section. 

The following exercise will take significantly less time, cost exponentially less, and have as much impact on your organization as hiring a new star employee. 

Before You Hire

Let’s face it, in business one of the most expensive and difficult aspects are employees. So, however we can streamline our process, rather than hire, not only limits needless additional labor but increases the value of existing employees.

For this reason, we recommend following the process 1.) eliminate, 2.) automate, and 3.) delegate within your organization before hiring.

   1.) Eliminate 

Before deciding you need to hire someone to complete a job make sure that the tasks you are hiring for are vital.

There are a multitude of routine tasks employees complete that add little to no value to an organization. The bigger your organization the easier this waste is missed. (Reports and meetings are prime offenders.) 

Take a hard look at the current work being completed by employees and eliminate those tasks that are not vital to moving your organization forward or providing value to customers. Not only will this process potentially allow current staff to handle the void a new hire would fill, but your employee satisfaction will improve from the removal of soul-sucking work from their days.

   2.) Automate 

After cleaning up blatant waste through the elimination process, you will have likely noticed some tasks could not be eliminated but are wasteful on the amount of time they require.

These are classic candidate tasks for automation. Get them down to as few steps as possible, and if there is a program out there, computer or otherwise, allow it to complete all or some of the work.

The increased efficiency of employees and systems in your business will elevate the value of existing staff and make a simpler process for future new hires to quickly learn. Systems will decrease mistakes (especially human error when software is utilized) or make problems (anomalies) more obvious when they occur. 

   3.) Delegate 

Now, only after elimination and automation, delegate the remainder of the work hopefully to employee's who have additional time from the previous two steps. If there is still additional workload causing answers to our section one questions to be yes, it is time to begin the hiring process.

Elimination and automation cannot guarantee delay of the hiring process. They will improve the effectiveness and happiness of current employees, provide management a clear understanding of voids for which they are hiring, and will develop a simpler process of bringing the right person onboard and up-to-speed.

“Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined. Otherwise, you waste someone else’s time instead of your own, which now wastes your hard-earned cash." -Tim Ferriss


Don't fall into the trap like so many managers who, out of desperation, hire without knowing what their organization actually needs. A new hire, whether great or terrible, will be one of the largest allocations of your company's resources. Follow the process outlined above and watch the health of your organization, as well as your hiring process, improve today. 

Action Steps:

  1. Do a health check on your organization by answering each of our questions in section one.
  2. Start with the aspects of your company suffering the greatest, but run as many departments of your company as possible through the eliminate, automate, and delegate process. 
  3. Reassure yourself in the chaos that more employees can often be an escalation of a problem rather than a solution. 

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. - Bill Gates

Blessings In Your Endeavors,

Ruben Watson 

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