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How Do I Know When to Hire?: How Do You Know Series

How do you know when to add headcount to your existing team? How do you know when to replace existing performers? In essence, when do you make the decision to place that ad on Indeed and LinkedIn? This is often a tough choice, especially for small businesses with small payroll budgets or those who are in a growth mode. Payroll is often the largest controllable expense outside of cost-of-goods for organizations and the choice to spend those valuable dollars on additional personnel can be extremely daunting when looking at what the payback might be.

There are some specific things to consider here and we can help explore a few initial conversation questions to help point you in the right direction.


  • Is your current team delivering on your purpose with consistency?

  • Is your customer experience suffering from the inability to serve them?

  • Is your employee experience suffering from the inability to serve them?

Behavioral + Results Expectations:

  • What is the specific output needed to deliver your budgetary expectations?

  • What are the behaviors needed to deliver the results that meet your budgetary expectations?

  • Does your current team possess the ability to deliver the needed behaviors? Who is underperforming?


  • If you answer, “No,” to the Purpose questions above, review the Expectations questions and determine if your existing team will deliver the outcomes you are seeking. If you discover that the team does not possess the needed ability, you have some choices...

    • Close all Performance Gaps

      • Refocus training and teaching efforts.

      • Refocus clarity around expectations, communication, and prioritization.

      • Refocus efforts to establish accountability, commitment, and culture.

    • Hire new talent that can deliver the expectations right out of the gate.

      • Define the core competencies and interview questions that tie to them.

      • Look for those who will meet the competencies and raise the bar of execution.

      • Replace underperformers who lower the bar of execution.

This process must be done regularly with a clear focus on the result expectations and what behaviors will deliver them. In your analysis, keep a consistent focus on where your acceptability bar sits. Specifically, what output must happen for you to deliver your purpose? That is your objective. Keep that as your measuring stick. If you are not delivering it, you must take action and make some sort of change.

It should start with an examination of your own Performance Gaps. What elements do you own and are falling short, as the leader? These are the most impactful things that can make immediate improvements, and as you have direct control over them, you can dramatically set the stage for success. From there look at your existing team and close their gaps.

Then, if you feel comfortable that they are doing all they can to deliver results to the best of their ability, you should look at replacing underperformers and supplementing the current top performing force with additional talent. And, of course, when making the hiring decisions, ensure you are comparing their predicted or potential talent level against your current top performers and your core competencies, not the middle of the pack. Always move forward!


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