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What should a recruitment business' first hire be?

recruitment company first hire

​How to bring in the first non-sales member of your team...and why it should (probably) be in Operations

If you're seeking to make a first non-sales hire for your business, congratulations! You've made it this far, and doubtless put in a lot of hard work to get here.

But now is not the time to take your eye off the ball.

Effective hiring is vital to the growth and success of any business, so this is something you need to get right. This article will help you do that, by outlining the key factors to consider, the type of profile you should be looking for and suggesting the position you should prioritise.

Not got this far yet? Click here for advice on starting a recruitment company

A CEO's job...

In a very small business, the most important engine of company growth you possess is the hours you as the CEO/Owner, etc. work. You should be highly mindful that any new hire is likely to take up a significant part of this, at least initially, through training, coaching, collaborating and reviewing. So it is important to consider two key questions: 

  • How much time will you need to spend managing this person? 

  • What could you be achieving in that time?

Cost vs Value

It may be tempting to bring on someone significantly more junior than yourself to handle the routine, dull stuff that currently takes up too much of your time...

You also would not have to make a significant outlay on salary...

On the surface level, this approach makes sense. But consider the two key questions involved.

Firstly, the more inexperienced the hire, the more time you will have to spend training and coaching them. Moreover, even once they have completed training and settle into their day-to-day, they are likely to require significant hands-on management, taking up even more of your time.

And think about what your time is achieving here – the completion of simple tasks.

Overall, you are likely to free up some of your own time, but when you subtract the time spent on management and the expenditure on their salary, it becomes highly dubious as to whether this is the optimum hire for your business.

Moreover, were that person to leave the company, due to your decision or theirs, you are back to square one and have nothing of lasting utility to show for the time you have spent...

Strong foundations are key

Instead, your first non-sales hire should create value independent of your own work.

An experienced back-office employee can make significant improvements to the way your business is run, by bringing a skillset that is unlikely to already exist in the business. Ultimately, this is far more likely to grow your business by providing solid foundations of best practice and proven strategy.

Of course, you are likely to need to spend more on remuneration...

But this person will also require less training and coaching, which along with their valuable contribution to your company, makes this a worthwhile hire. 

Click here for an explanation of how a finance function changes as a company grows

Operations for the WIN!

So where you should you make that first non-sales hire in your business?

The answer to this question is dependent on the circumstances of you and your company.

Nevertheless, there is a strong case that, generally, the optimum first hire to make is an Operations Manager.

As you will doubtless have discovered already, running your own business means spending large periods of your day managing the entity you have created, rather than using the skills your company is built around to attract clients and place candidates.

An SME-experienced Operations Manager will not only be able to take these responsibilities off your hands, but are likely to be able to execute them to a higher standard than you are able to yourself.

Returning to the two key questions, this person will not require significant amounts of your time, and will make a valuable contribution to your business across multiple areas, meaning the time you do spend is worthwhile. 

And the profile?

Versatility is the key trait you should be seeking in your Operations Manager.

The stronger their ability to work across multiple areas, the more of your time that is freed up.

Crucially, it is important to note that core operations tasks cannot be outsourced, in contrast to finance for example, meaning the responsibility would otherwise fall on your shoulders.

So it is clear that bringing in someone to handle this remit is certainly beneficial for your time, allowing to spend more time on the central activities of the business.

But you should also consider the fact that if you are ambitious and seek to continue expanding, an Operations Manager with hiring experience will be a highly valuable asset, as they will be able to take responsibility for hiring processes, onboarding, learning and development and your nascent HR function.

Click here for trend analysis of recruitment marketing

As specialists in hiring back-office staff for the recruitment sector, Camino Partners possess a strong roster of excellent candidates who could be the perfect first hire for your business. Get in touch today and see what we can offer:

​Matt Franklin

If you are interested in finding out more about setting up an Operations function from scratch, reach out to our Operations Director Natasha Southfor a chat!