The October / November time frame is a milestone for many of our education clients: product and service utilization spikes, and many buying cycles are beginning. This customer-centric time of year can be the commercial focus for education technology and curriculum companies, and inevitably, other things get pushed aside. But it is also the time of year to start preparing for the next year’s success. Putting off organizational planning to late December and even January may be the norm, but it also hamstrings your ability to develop traction in the first quarter. My 28 years of hiring in the education space makes me compelled to recommend that the time to build next year’s candidate pipeline is now.
1. The competition for talent is continuing
With the US unemployment rate still at a near record low of 3.8%, and industry executives contesting for the right top talent, you should allow for extra time when hiring in case you cannot find or close on candidates right away. Based on the continuing need for commercial expertise in EdTech, Education, and Impact companies, great candidates may get multiple competing offers and even receive counteroffers from current employers. Your first choice hire can have multiple options; for each open role, companies should target several hireable candidates in case closing on them is difficult. Securing and managing multiple final applicants is challenging, so getting an early start and properly planning will set you up for success.
2. Hire when you aren’t desperate
Executives often wait until they are in a seemingly urgent need to fill a deficiency at their organization, and this amplifies at the beginning of each year. They rush the process, overlooking potential candidate flaws in hopes of getting a person on board quickly. Rapid hiring decisions can deliver a devastating blow to your business objectives, company culture, and morale if these hires are not the right match. You may have to rehire for the position, which costs time, money, and resources. Although the old saying “hire slow and fire fast” is debatable, give yourself extra time to think, analyze, and stay in control of the hiring process; you will find the right person to fill your needs.
3. End of year bonuses
Q4 can be a great time to engage potential candidates, but many executives and commercial talent who have annual bonuses will want to collect these before considering any career moves. When entering this time of year, consider two factors: candidate management and start date timing. Executive leaders should be instructing their hiring managers to implement a consistent high-touch approach to manage the candidates through the hiring process. The goal is to establish your organization and opportunity as top-of-mind for your potential hires. Regarding timing, hiring managers must be aware if likely front runners will achieve their end-of-year goals and when they are expecting bonuses to payout. Use these factors to thoughtfully secure a commitment for an excellent candidate to start on January 1st.
4. Impact Q1 right from the beginning
If you have your team in place by January, you are utilizing Q1 to build pipeline, create new strategies, and sell rather than onboard and train. Frequently, executives do not utilize their full headcount budget because they don’t recruit until the headcount goes into effect and crucial hires come months later. This often leaves several months of salary unspent, which, on the one hand, reduces Q1 costs, but should never be at the expense of building business momentum.
5. Consider getting help
November and December are notoriously busy execution and planning times in the education space and in all industries. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice this year’s commercial goals to build next year’s team. Outsourcing the hiring of critical roles or, ideally, engaging an industry-specific specialist search firm like The Renaissance Network can build your hiring capacity and raise your ability to secure the best talent. Get a jump start on 2024 hiring…while still finishing 2023 strong.
The time is now. As November approaches, it is the right time to think ahead to your headcount allocation for 2024 and put a smart plan in place to spend Q4 interviewing and hiring. Consider the five tips above. When Q1 comes, critical hires will be in place, allowing you and your team to focus on nailing your new business plan objectives.
The Renaissance Network
If you would like to discuss how we can help you attract, recruit, and retain top talent that can make a difference for your organization for next year, get in touch today… and let’s see how we can help.