So this raises an interesting question – is there ever a time when it makes sense to hire two junior resources instead of a more expensive senior person? After all, you get two sets of hands, two brains – makes sense doesn’t it? Sometimes.
This perspective is echoed by a VP Finance we spoke with, who gave us some time and perspective on the tricky art of building a high quality team.
It takes a lot of time and energy to build or rebuild a team. The right personnel, with the right mix of skills, can lead to resounding success. Weighted heavily in this magic formula is how complex the challenge is to be solved and the timeline attached to it. When deadlines are looming it makes sense to hire a senior resource who can ramp up quickly. The VP Finance we spoke to reinforced this perspective, “If you have a business need that’s pretty immediate, you don’t have time to say, ‘I’m going to spend the next 6-12 months grooming these two resources to bring them up to speed.”’ In this scenario you need someone who can take control of a large, complex problem and have an immediate impact.
Is there a time, however, when bringing more junior staff on board ticks the right boxes? Perhaps for a more general role, where the timelines are more generous and there’s a mentoring model in place? The VP Finance that we connected with said that the size of the team needed to be taken into account. “If I had a large team of 10-20 people, some of whom were highly experienced, then I would have staff available to mentor. In this case it makes sense to hire more junior staff that could grow with the organization and enhance the company’s capabilities.” It also means that you can shape both the hard and soft skills of your team to best fit the culture of the organization – a win for any company.
Forward thinking companies consider succession planning an integral part of their business model. So where does it come into play when hiring junior or senior staff? The Finance VP we tapped into had some thoughts on this as well, “At our company we identify who the potential successors are to each key role. We then try to determine what we’re doing to help that person be ready. From this, an action plan is created.” A company willing to invest in grooming its junior staff for success reaps the benefits down the road in the form of relatively seamless transitions.
When it comes to hiring, the decision to go with a ‘two for one mentality’ should really be dictated by timelines and need. Evaluate whether you have someone on your team who can take on the mentoring required to bring junior staff up to speed. See if your schedule permits the inevitable time demands that come with hiring less experienced resources. Assess your succession plan and determine if you want to bring someone on board that you can groom for the company’s future goals. At the end of the day, if the issue to be addressed is complex and your deadlines are up close in the mirror, then it’s a senior hire that would best fill the gap.
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