Business people walking in a modern office lobbyAt Maxwell Money, we’re like many of our private and business clients in that we depend on talented professionals to ensure the success of our service. As we’ve ramped up our business—growing from a staff of 8 to almost 20 in less than three years—we’ve learned a lot about successful hiring practices. Here are five key things we’ve learned that you can leverage, too.

Decide what drives your culture

If you’ve ever worked for more than one organization, you’ll know from experience that each organization has its own culture and that culture has a profound influence on who joins it and how well they work within it.

What kind of organization do you want to be? If you haven’t already thought about your mission and values, now is the time to discuss them with stakeholders—and figure out how you’re going to “walk the talk.” Statements about supporting work/life balance don’t mean much unless you support them with good policies for vacations, sick time, and personal leave. And talk about valuing each employee has to be backed by carefully thought-out plans for promotion and professional growth.

Articulate your brand

When you’re interviewing a potential hire, they’re trying to impress you—and you should be trying to impress them, too. Whether you’re hiring a personal chef or a CEO, you need to build a case for why they should join your organization and not some other one. Especially when you’re hiring highly sought-after people, you need to be ready to tell them what’s unique or interesting about your organization, and how affiliation with it will help them in forwarding their careers.

Recruit every day

At Maxwell Money, we’ve learned that it pays to have a recruitment mindset every day. Even when we don’t have any open positions, hiring is in the back of our minds. When we meet new people, when we talk to people about their experiences and their networks, we’re listening for mentions of good bookkeepers. We always ask for details and often for referrals, too. We also encourage our current and former employees to refer professionals they know and respect. It doesn’t matter if the bookkeeper isn’t ready to move yet, or we’re not ready to hire. We’re building a pipeline so that when we do have an opening, we already know talented people that can fill it.

Know when not to hire

By recruiting every day and building a pipeline, you can protect yourself from one of the biggest mistakes organizations make, which is to rely on just one resource to perform a critical role. If that person leaves, then you’ll be under pressure to replace him or her right away because of the inconvenience of having that position empty. Take a look at your organization and create a backup plan in advance of any need, so you don’t find yourself in this potentially dangerous position. Otherwise, it’s too easy to rush into making a mediocre personnel choice. We’ve learned from our experience and our clients’ that this doesn’t pay—in fact, it can end up costing you in time, money, and disruption to your organization.

Get ready to move quickly

Take your time in finding the right person, but when you do, be ready to act quickly. Good people typically don’t stay on the market very long, so your ideal candidate could well be another organization’s ideal candidate, too. If you’re the second one to make the offer, you could lose out unless you sweeten the deal with more money or better benefits. Get everything set up ahead of time, so you’re ready to move when the right candidate comes along. And don’t forget the points mentioned at the beginning of this blog: your organization’s culture and brand and your ability to communicate those effectively could be what makes a highly desirable candidate want to work for you, even when other offers are on the table.