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For a most staffing firms, especially smaller ones, knowing when to hire a new employee is a big decision. Hire a new rep too early and there won’t be enough work to go around. Too late, and your staff will be stretched thin until the hire is ready to pitch in.

Luckily, with a little attention to your company’s data, you’ll be able to much better gauge when might be the right time to hire. Here are three leading indicators to be aware of that will help you expand your team at the right time and at the right pace.

1. Your open job orders are stalling

 

Job orders in your pipeline can stall for various reasons. Usually, if there hasn’t been an activity on a job order in ten business days, you can classify them as stalled. When your job order charts start filling up with stalled ones (seen in red here), you need to determine whether the lack of activity is due to a lack of time on the part of your team.

Usually, you will see less activity on the smaller job orders, as your team focuses their limited time on the high value ones. If you start to see this in your weekly reports, it’s a good leading indicator that your team is being stretched too thin.

2. Your time-to-fill is increasing

With less time for your team to give each job order proper attention, another indicator that you might need to shore up your team with a new hire is the overall time-to-fill. By looking at an aggregate of your entire team’s cycle, you will begin to see a week over week, or month over month (as pictured here), lengthening of the stages in your process.

A longer overall time in the initial stage is especially troubling as it is a good indicator that your team doesn’t have the time to start on new leads. This is a great problem to have, but it might be time to hire a new rep to take on the overflow.

You can also drill into the time-to-fill of individual employees, especially your veterans, to see whether they are seeing longer cycles; a good way to confirm your overall suspicions.

3. Your pipeline projections shows a busy future

If the first two weren’t enough, your pipeline projection should be the clearest indicator of them all. Every staffing firm should have a good sales forecast in their monthly wrap up reports. Having a forecast is like having a crystal ball and can help your team plan, especially when it comes to what resources you’ll need in coming months.

If your projections are seeing a steady increase in anticipated new business (like the chart above), and if you’re already seeing your team strained, this is a red flag that you should be looking for new hires immediately. Keep in mind, it will take new employees some time to be productive, so you’ll want to start sooner than later.

Don’t hire new employees too late or too early. Let your data lead you to the right time to expand your team, so you can scale in-step with your company’s expected revenue growth.

 

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Samuel Clemens
Sam is founder and chief of product & marketing for InsightSquared. Previously, Sam was VP Product at HubSpot, VP Product at BzzAgent, and on the founding team at Elance.com. His background also includes venture capital with Greylock Partners, the Algorithms group at Amazon.com, and management consulting with Booz Allen Hamilton. Sam has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Applied Math from Yale. In his off time he dives shipwrecks in the New England area.
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