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Best Hiring Practices for Periods of High Growth

It’s a dream scenario: your business is experiencing a period of exponential growth, and you need to ramp up fast. Here’s the hitch: how do you solve the hiring problem?

Bringing on large numbers of new employees in a short time period is difficult for even the most established of businesses. If this is your first period of major growth, you might not even have the human resources staff in place to handle the process. Here are some best practices for companies who need to grow FAST.

1. Hire temps

If you need a lot of people to help with administrative tasks, such as data entry or filing, or you need a large number of staff to manage inventory and shipping, ramp up your staff quickly with a temp agency. Use the American Staffing Association’s tips to hire the best agency for your needs, and expect them to send you large numbers of qualified, skilled workers within a week. From there, you have the option to hire on the best workers, or simply keep the entire team on temporary status until you need to ramp down production again.

2. Ask Staff for Recommendations

Networking works both ways, so ask your current staff if they have any qualified leads on people who might be a good fit for your company. This works best when you are trying to fill mid-level jobs, such as project managers or finance assistants.

3. Understand hiring laws

The laws about job posting and hiring differ from state to state, so be familiar with the laws in your area. Know whether you are legally required to post a job opening publicly, and how you need to handle and store applicant information. It is sometimes time-consuming to follow all of the related hiring laws, especially when you have already identified a strong candidate, but it is important to keep everything in order to prevent potential discrimination lawsuits or other legal trouble.

4. Be wary of interns

Some companies, especially companies that need to ramp up fast but don’t yet have the cash flow to pay staff, try to hire unpaid interns to make up the workflow. Be very wary. Not only are interns generally untrained, there are also specific legal requirements about what interns can and cannot do. For example: an internship must be educational in nature and the intern’s work cannot “provide any immediate advantage to the employer.”

Yes, for many years employers and interns both looked the other way. However, there have been significant numbers of successful intern lawsuits in the past few years, and you don’t want your company to be on the wrong side of internship law. Expect the laws regarding intern work to change in a few years, but that won’t be soon enough for your hiring needs.

5. Consider consultants

If you can’t afford full-time staff but need more sophisticated candidates than temp agencies can provide, consider working with consultants or independent contractors. They get 1099s instead of W-2s, meaning they are responsible for paying their own health insurance, Social Security, etc. Consultants are also often extremely qualified candidates, many of them running their own freelance businesses in areas like marketing, web design, and product management.

Like interns, consultants come with their own set of laws. For example: if you require a consultant to be in the office from 9-5, Monday through Friday, you’re technically hiring an employee and must compensate accordingly. Instead, draw up a contract specifying the results your consultant must produce, and the time frame in which they need to be completed.

We’ve written previously about the best time to bring on consultants vs. employees. You can even hire a consultant to handle your entire hiring process, including employee onboarding and training.

6. Handle the documentation

When you hire large numbers of people quickly, you create large amounts of paperwork and documentation. Look into getting a system like Contract Logix to handle the data; this is especially important if you’re choosing to go the consultant route and need to create standardized legal contracts quickly.

Has your company had to hire large numbers of people quickly? How did you streamline the process? Do you have any tips for new businesses? Let us know in the comments.