Expanding a work team can be one of the most difficult moves for businesses, particularly if you’re running a small operation. There are so many factors to consider when choosing to expand that the decision can be a stressful one.
One of the most vital decisions you need to make first though, is whether you should expand through an increased headcount or simply outsource whatever needs to be done. The decision you make will very much depend on your individual requirements at the time and which direction you are taking your company towards.
Whether you decide to hire in-house or outsource a job there are always pros and cons. Knowing them will help you make a better decision depending on your needs. Before we look into that, let’s take a look at an example of a scenario where it might be useful to outsource the work;
Case Example: Building Your Business Website
Caption: Web hosting is just a small portion of what you need to know to build a business website. Outsourcing will be much more practical for non-tech savvy companies
If you’re a small company and not involved in the field of technology, chances are that you won’t even know how to start off with your digital presence. Social Media is fine but what you really need is a corporate site.
Market survey shows the cost of building a business website can range from as low as $200 to perhaps $1,500 for a basic site but that can stretch depending on your requirements. For sites with more complex requirement, that price can easily go up to $10,000 or more.
The point to make here is that the skills required to execute the job are likely to be out of your scope of expertise. Rather than hiring an in-house web developer who won’t have much to do after the site is done, outsource it and pay minimal fees for maintenance on the site.
On the other hand, if you are planning to run an online store or eCommerce-based business, hiring in-house may be the better option. Since the eCommerce site is your core business, taking on talent and retaining it as part of your ongoing operations would be the smart choice.
Why Hire in-house
1) Direct Interaction
Close communication, face time and inter-skills jobs lay the pathway on the journey towards a cohesive company. A company which works well together is often better equipped to undertake projects. Ultimately, the synergy that is built is the lifeblood of smooth operations.
Having an employee factored in as a key part of your company can be a stabilizing factor. Wages give employees a better sense of security which works out well and at the same time assures you that the talent won’t disappear overnight, thanks to contracts. Employees who are given avenues of growth are also more vested in the long-term viability of the company.
In some cases confidentiality may force your hand and make you shy away from outsourcing. If you really require whatever you’re working on to stay within the confines of your office, hiring in-house will protect you to a greater extent.
When taking on staff full time you are assuring that there will be dedicated resources for certain projects. Staff can be assigned to specific tasks, unlike having it outsourced to a freelancer who will likely have to split their time between several projects.
As you can see from most of the points I’ve outlined here, hiring in-house usually works well when aiming to build sustainable operations with long term objectives in mind. Still, finding the right talent can be tough and careful attention should be paid to the hiring process.
To make sure that you hire the right people;
- Look in the right places
- Double check credentials and do a pre-screening
- Conduct background checks
- Ask the right questions
- Trust your instincts
Caption: UpWork is a great place to find pre-vetter freelancers for any job
1) Specialized Services
Freelancers are usually the easiest to outsource to as they are more agile than agencies. Whichever direction you go, it is very likely that you will be able to cut to the chase and outsource effectively as freelancers are usually highly specialized in specific disciplines.
2) Costs are Project-specific
Even though it may cost a bit more to outsource these costs are usually for shorter periods of time. For example, you may decide to outsource a specific portion of a project which your company does not usually handle. In a sense, you are taking on board specific skills for short periods of time only.
3) Easy to Find Talent
Many freelancers are available through sites which function like job agencies. This enables you to quickly identify and vet potential freelancers without having to go through extensive screening processes.
4) Global Possibilities
Thanks to digital advances, outsourcing jobs now means there is a high possibility you can expand your search beyond borders. Take advantage of the global talent pool and leverage on currency strengths, especially if you’re based in a country like the US.
Outsourcing to agencies or freelancers can be a little shaky if you aren’t careful in your specifications when hiring. However, as you can see, they are an effective way of rapidly acquiring talent which can assure you that the necessary skills will be available and ready to go with your project.
I have personally experienced the headaches of trying to dig through a ton of profiles and applications trying to find the right freelancer. There are also many sites out there which you can find freelancers on but are of dubious quality.
I recommend you cut to the chase and work with a site which pre-vets the profiles that go up on them. Here are some sites which you can use to find freelancers to outsource to;
Irrespective of your decision to hire in-house or outsource, the key thing is to find the right person for the job. Hiring the right person will result in not just a job well-done but the potential to gain an invaluable resource for your company.
To do this I’ve prepared a quick checklist you can use as a guide to find the right talent;
Finding the Right Talent for the Job
1. Clearly Define the Job
Before you can find the right person for a job, always have clearly in mind the needs that have to be filled. Start with a job analysis by gathering information on needed skills, desired outcomes as well as duties and responsibilities. Avoid the employer trap of over-allocating a skillset and focus on the role that needs to be filled instead.
2. Have a Recruiting Strategy
Involve key stakeholders in the hiring process when planning your recruiting strategy. Based on the job you have defined, work together to develop a cohesive strategy to bring the right person on board for the job.
3. Follow a Checklist!
To ensure that you’re not getting off track, always develop and follow a checklist for your hiring process. This will ensure that your carefully planned strategies are not compromised by skipping steps accidentally. These lists can also serve to help you keep record of your recruiting efforts.
4. Take on the Right Skills
When hiring for a job or project, ensure that you are directly addressing the needs that must be filled. Avoid hiring with future development in mind as that might not always work out to your benefit. Remember, just because you don’t hire one talent now doesn’t mean you can’t KIV it for future reference and revisit the profile when the need arises.
5. Always Review Carefully
No matter how good an interview goes, or a resume looks, always conduct your due diligence and review everything. This includes things all along the line from resumes to even application letters. Everything that is provided to you has the potential to shed some light on the talent involved.
6. Ask the Right Questions
The actual interview whether in-person or remote is the most crucial part of the process. Remember that you are not just confirming actual key competencies but also personality traits to ensure that the person would be a right fit for the job as well as your corporate culture. In this process, the right questions matter. Ensure that these are structured not just to find the right person for the job but to distinguish the ‘capable’ from the ‘outstanding’.
Conclusion: Hiring Intent Matters
When finding the right talent for a job, it is important to realize that most of the key elements are the same whether you are hiring in-house or outsourcing. The main differentiating factor between the two is intent for your company.
Take for example the case of hiring in-house; your intent is to take on talented staff for the long-term. This would place additional focus on things like compatibility with corporate culture. In outsourcing this will perhaps not matter as much but still need to be kept an eye on. After all, you still must work with them, even if it’s for the duration of only a single project.
By having a solid recruitment strategy in place and paying attention to the right processes, you can help ensure that you are really taking on the right talent for the job. Recruitment can be costly, so ignore them at your peril!