Handling Hiring Mid-Project
No one wants to deal with hiring in the middle of a project. Being forced to do so can make it difficult to focus on hiring for not just that project but also for the project your team will be in on a year — or in five years. But the thing to remember is a company is likely always “mid-project,” as the work of any company is a constantly ongoing process.
“You’re always in some kind of project mode — it’s not like companies are only working on one thing at a time,” said John Estes, vice president of IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology. “Anytime you hire, you’re going to be in the middle of a project.”
Of course, it’s more difficult to hire in the middle of some projects than others. In IT, for a development project that’s perhaps just a product refresh (such as deploying 1,000 computers throughout an organization), hiring mid-project will not be as much of a challenge.
“Sometimes, rolling out a PC is just rolling out a PC,” Estes said.
But a development project that’s very niche-specific will require a certain kind of talent, and in this situation companies, might end up paying more to quickly acquire the manpower they need.
“If someone’s going through an entire CRM or ERP installation, and they’ve got deadlines for certain modules that need to be installed, and there’s specific tweaks to the software that need to be written — new applications or whatever it may be — you’re going to have to find someone that for one is a hard skill set to find anyway, and someone that can come in and hit the ground running right away,” Estes said. “To do that sometimes means you’ve got to fork over a little more money to get that specific resource.”
There are also going to be factors to consider such as whether the new hire needs just technical skills or also needs business and management skills. There are also personal issues such as whether the individual can work well under pressure or work long hours. The key to not making a hiring misstep in this situation is not surrendering to the rush. Step back and decide the person you need is out there, and you will find him or her.
“One of the top hiring mistakes is rushing through the process, especially if one of your clients is being demanding about a certain deadline,” Estes said. “There is potential there to not dot the I’s and cross the T’s and make a poor hiring decision, even with a temporary consultant hire. Sometimes, that can be more detrimental than not hiring anybody.”
If a certain piece of manpower is desperately needed mid-project, and other avenues of hiring have been exhausted, there are always temp agencies. These days, staffing agencies strive to meet the needs of even the most specific, hard-to-fill positions, Estes said.
“A lot of companies will use some type of supplemental staffing company so they don’t necessarily have to hire that level of talent,” he said. “They can bring them in on more of an as-needed, ad hoc basis and get whatever they need done, and then that’s all they pay for.”
It might be a temporary solution, but it also might be better than throwing too much money at the problem and doing more harm than good.