By Richard Longstreet
One common trend that we’re seeing in the boutique consulting market is businesses looking to grow quickly as we start to emerge from the pandemic. Whether this be opening new offices, or launching new divisions, or just looking to hire quickly – consultancies have identified now as an opportunity to increase their headcount and continue to deliver great work for their clients. Among our other work we’re currently helping four different consultancies rapidly build their teams, three of them have ambitions to double in size in the next 12 months.
Doubling the size of your team in one year is no mean feat. Here are a few tips on how to go about it:
1 – Which hires, when?
It’s important to start by mapping out what you want the team to look like a year down the line. How many SMs/Managers are you looking for? What about more junior consultants? Will you be hiring graduates?
Once you have the team structure, numbers and levels sorted, it’s time to prioritize those hires and create a timeline for when you need them started. Who do you need to bring in first? Maybe more senior hires who will want to help shape the team? Which are going to be the more difficult hires to make? Are there particular in-demand skills you’re looking to hire? If you’re hiring graduates you have to consider that the graduate hiring window starts a year in advance. Also consider at this point if all your new employees need to be permanent staff, could you rely on contractors/associates to fill gaps but allow you extra flexibility?
Once you have this info you can start to think about how to make the hires.
2 – Interview Process
When embarking on a large recruitment drive it’s important to have a clear interview process from the outset. Think about the candidate while you’re creating this – are they likely to know your business already or will they need ‘selling’ on who you are and the opportunities you offer? In a competitive recruitment market (as now) most candidates will have multiple concurrent applications, so it’s important to sell your role & company to the candidate throughout the process, and also to keep your interview process to a maximum of 3 stages to avoid losing candidates to other, faster-moving, processes.
Consider how you’ll assess your candidates. Will you use online tests? If so, consider using these after a first stage (otherwise you’re asking for a lot of upfront effort from candidates and risk losing some before they’ve got to know your business). What about a case study? Are you going to ask candidates to prepare something in advance of your interviews? Factor that into the timeline for your hires.
Once you have designed your interview process, book time in your diary for interviews every week, have your colleagues do the same so you can prioritise interviews at designated times.
3 – Engaging a recruiter
Firstly, decide whether you’re going to manage all recruitment in-house, use a recruitment partner, or a combination of the two. Significant team builds require a lot of invested time, and need a dedicated team. For this reason, many businesses rely on recruitment consultancies for support.
If you’re engaging a recruitment partner, whether as a sole channel or combined with your internal team, we have a few pointers on how to get the most out of that relationship:
- Engage them early – bring your recruitment partner on the journey with you. Leverage their experience to help you structure your recruitment process. Use their insight into the recruitment market to prioritise your hires.
- Clear instruction – give the context to your growth, and be specific on the hires you’re looking for them to support you with. Detail when you need CVs by, what your interview process will be, what’s important to you with the hires. Equally, they should be clear with you about where they can best support you.
- Regular communication – from our experience partnering with firms going through team builds it’s vital to have regular communication. Priorities can change, sometimes candidates can slip through the cracks, you can cover feedback (including feedback back from candidates). It also ensures you’re both on the same page. We’d suggest booking in a weekly call with your recruiter.
4 – Review Progress
Building a team can take some time, and it’s worth regularly reviewing your progress against your plans. Your priorities might change as you recruit, you might learn more from the market and it could narrow/widen the brief you’ve given your recruiter. Equally, this allows for some flexibility in your hiring plans dependent on the projects you’re winning and your business development pipeline. We would suggest also including your recruiter in this review process as they can keep you updated on what they’re seeing in the market.
Obviously, once you’ve brought your team on board, it’s important to keep them engaged as you grow your business, perhaps a topic for another blog…
Tarka Talent are a recruitment agency focusing on the Strategy, Transformation, and Change Management space.
We work across permanent and contract roles, using the latest recruitment technology and our unrivalled knowledge of the industry to identify and approach the best candidates in the market.
To find out more, visit tarkatalent.co.uk