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Guest Post – How to Resource Efficiently With the Customer at the Forefront

By Jeffrey Chorpenning, Vice President at Mason Frank International, a Salesforce Recruiting Agency.

Finding the right talent to fulfill your vision is one of the hardest parts of completing a project. You need to consider who to hire, how much you’re willing to spend and when to bring them on board. When resourcing talent, it’s important to place your customer at the heart of the decision-making process, whether that customer is a client, end-user, or the interest is with you.

Establish a clear focus

Customer centricity is being adopted by many successful businesses across a variety of industries. It creates a system which constantly puts the customer at the forefront and considers their experience through each touchpoint. This concept is most often applied to business-to-customer interactions but the principle is equally valuable for business-to-business.

This is a really useful way of thinking with regards to resourcing. If you’re hiring staff to complete a project, how are they serving project requirements and how can that be translated to the client?

Poor hiring can have serious consequences. Not only can it result in not meeting project needs but also monetary loss. A bad hire can also affect other members of your team by bringing down morale and slowing down productivity.

Look for opportunities to recruit

If you can identify which skills are in-demand, you put yourself in a fantastic position to keep customers happy, attract the best people and stay ahead of the competition. The main way to expand your professional services company by bringing on new staff to work on billable activities so this is also a fantastic growth strategy.

You can identify the right time to hire by linking your sales activities to resource planning. Start by looking at projects in the pipeline and see what skills are most sought after. If you have sustained demand for particular skills across multiple projects then you have a well-justified opportunity to recruit. There is enough business coming down the line that you need to hire new people.

Also, consider soft booking resources against a project before they’ve been won. Ensure your salespeople scope out opportunities in detail and record the roles and skills needed to deliver the work. Earmark consultants against the project when you think a deal is likely so you can forecast which consultants are available and when. This will give you an advanced warning when demand outstrips supply and help you decide where to recruit.

The hiring process  

It’s not always easy to decide when the best time to make a serious personal investment is. At what stage of the project do you begin looking for the hire? Who should be involved in the hiring process?

Hiring requirements should be met before a project commences. You must have time to brief involved parties well in advance of deadlines. You should also allocate enough budget to consider projects overrunning. A contingency plan is the safest way to ensure your project can be fully completed. It’s best to do this through a quantified assessment rather than guesswork. Just make sure your numbers consider potential hurdles.

Executing the hire

Don’t underestimate the importance of investing time and budget into developing an effective hiring system.

Hiring an internal recruiter could an option but this really depends on the scale of your organization. Consider how much of a demand hiring is across your projects and whether this would be a sound investment.

It is really important that you don’t saddle recruitment responsibility on someone who isn’t qualified or has other responsibilities. For instance, the project manager is there to oversee day-to-day and manage people’s workload. They’re unlikely to be the best person to find and attract talent.

Resourcing shouldn’t be a secondary consideration made with divided attention. Hiring can take a long time. It requires someone to trawl through the right networks and create relationships to access them. The next stage is whittling down candidates, weeding out those that aren’t a good fit, and convincing the right people to join the project. This is just an incredibly simplified breakdown of recruitment.

A good alternative is to outsource hiring. The cost of a recruiter is often tiny in comparison to bearing that cross internally. Additionally, you’re likely to yield a better result simply because a recruiter will have access to the network and is likely to have a bank of candidates ready. Furthermore, the accountability falls on an external organization.

Working with a specialist agency with a specific interest in your niche gives you deeper access to the best pool of candidates. Look out for opportunities to register for candidate searches where you’ll be able to search for the specific skills you need in a closed pool of potential workers. You could also opt to post your job and let recruiters narrow down your list.

However you choose to resource your talent, just remember to keep your customer at the forefront. Make decisions with them as a primary consideration. Don’t dismiss staffing within your budget and allow ample time for all to become familiarised with projects. Finally, consider how you’ll be able to find the best talent to meet your needs.