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How To Manage Hiring Expectations According To Scope, Cost, And Time

When you’re looking to a hire a new employee, it helps to manage expectations. Oftentimes people are on the lookout for the “perfect candidate,” but they’re not prepared to pay more money or spend more time looking for him or her. Hiring talent, whether contingent or full-time, should take into account the age-old Project Management Triangle: you can control the scope, cost, and schedule of the process but each of those factors will affect the others. In other words, you can’t always have your cake and eat it too.

The scope is the talent level of the individual you’re looking for; the cost refers to the overall cost of the hire; and the schedule refers to the time-frame in which you hire the employee. Before you set out to hire someone, you need to think about all three factors, but the scope is the most important. Ask yourself this: who are you looking for? That “perfect candidate?” Or more of a diamond in the rough you can train to be a star employee? The scope or talent level of the candidate will affect those two other factors: the time and cost of the hiring process. Here’s what to expect based on the different types of employees you’re hoping to hire. Remember: setting realistic expectations and managing them can help you be more aware of the time and money it will take to get the right person for your company.


The Diamond

The diamond is “the perfect candidate.” I put that in quotation marks because the notion of the perfect candidate can be a dangerous trap to fall into. It’s hard to find someone who will check every qualification and “nice to have” quality on your list. If you’re truly trying to pursue that ideal candidate, though, you have a few options that will affect the time and cost.

  • You can pay top dollar and shorten the timeline, but cover your scope.
  • You can pay market rate for your scope but put your schedule at risk to sell someone on your culture, technology, or career opportunities.

Another option is to shift your expectations slightly. Start screening your candidates for aptitude and attitude, not just bullet points on a resume. After all, someone who may actually be the “perfect” employee may not check every box on your ideal list but could be molded to become a star player. Which brings us to…

The Diamond In The Rough

This type of candidate usually has the potential to grow into that “perfect candidate” you’re looking for. They might not have the exact experience you’re looking for, but they learn quickly and have a good base of knowledge to improve upon. Think of them as the “up and coming” candidate versus someone who already possesses the exact skillset you need. As I alluded to above, there are a few advantages to hiring a diamond in the rough, as it can save you time and money. But you should still consider a few things:

  • What roles within your organization does it make the most sense to make this type of hire?
  • How much training will this person need right away? How much will it cost to train this person and does that still save you money for the overall cost of the hire?


The Solid Player

So what if you want more of the middle-of-the-road candidate who meets most of what you’re looking for? You want to go for the “solid player.” This type of hire meets most of your qualifications and is a good fit for your company. Their attitude and soft skills are as much a match for your organization as their experience. With that said, you still need to make sure you balance time, cost, and scope while looking for a solid player so you don’t lose track of cost while in a panic to reduce the timeline.

Depending on what type of candidate you’re looking for, you can expect to spend more time and money on the hiring process. That’s why no matter the scope of your talent search, it pays to have hiring be a continuous, built-in process. You want to have candidates in the pipeline so that when you need to fill a position you already have different candidates in mind and you don’t end up wasting time and money. Leverage either your expertise, your internal talent organization, or external experts to help you find the best candidates to meet your company’s needs.  As Edward Deming stated, “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing.”  In the case of your team and the talent you want to work with, there is no better way to win than with a great team.



If your company needs help finding the right talent, contact us today! For more career tips and advice check out Versique’s blog.


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