Bringing on a new hire has the potential to transform your business. Whether you're hiring your first employee of adding a new member to your team, it's critical to find the right match for the position and culture. But starting from scratch can be intimidating. That's why we've outlined the process and where to go to find those candidates.
When to Hire
In freight brokerages, employees often take on many roles, frequently switching from task to task and working outside their job description to keep up with business growth. Even though this ability to work across departments is a sign of flexibility, resourcefulness and drive, it can also be a clue that your employees are stretched too thin. This over-extension can eventually lead to burnout, low productivity and inefficiencies in your business.
To keep your brokerage growing and maintain high morale, watch out for these signs that it's time to start hiring. High employee turnover, frequently not getting the loads you have covered, not being able to track and trace your over the road loads, you have access to more business than you can get to, you're company's sales pipeline is shrinking, and most importantly you're sales reps aren't prospecting because they can't keep up with everything else on their plate.
Am I Making Enough Money?
To put it simply, your team should always be operating a little below capacity. For instance a brokerage that is cash flowing and operating at margins of 14-18%. You've got a handful of customers and you're moving 10-20 loads per week. And you're making roughly $2-3k per week in gross profit. This is right around where a broker will require an assistant. Or your brokerage will need to hire its first employee.
There is a bit of a caveat here. All brokerages and books of business are a little different. Some customers require much more handholding. Lot's more phone calls and email updates. They have more urgent issues that need resolved. These aren't bad things, as long as you're being paid for your efforts. But, they do point out that some books of business will require more than 1 or 2 hires sooner than others. Only you as the CEO or owner will be able to determine your workload verses the amount of money you're earning.
For example, I have one book of business that does $10-15k per week and 40-50 loads. And 1 of my assistants handles almost all of it entirely themselves. I have a client that runs those same numbers with 4-5 people. It's because they are two completely different customers and modes of transportation.
Where to Find Candidates?
Now that we've discussed the criteria before you hire. Where do you go to find candidates? Let's start with job postings on popular sites like Indeed.com and Zip Recruiter. They each offer a variety of features, but there are some key distinctions between the two.
Indeed allows you to post jobs for free, and aggregates job listings from other job boards. This means any job listing you post there shows on the same page as the listings. You can make your job stand apart by sponsoring the listing on a pay-per-click basis. This is a great option for employers who need more control over their budget for hiring campaigns.
ZipRecruiter costs money to post your listing, and even more if you want to make it a sponsored post. However, it doesn’t aggregate job listings from other sites, so your listing won’t be lost in the mix. Instead, it takes your listing and posts it to over 100 other job boards, giving your job even wider access to pools of candidates.
Employee Referral Programs
Employee referral programs are a great way to get candidates that share similar values as your existing team. Most of the brokerages out there offer an incentive for referrals. For example many will pay a cash bonus for a referral that completes an interview, like $100. Then pay $500-$1000 if they hire the candidate and they stick around for 2 or 3 months. These are especially effective when you have younger teams in their 20's and recently out of college. It gives them an opportunity to work with their friends and can create a fun working environment. Many brokerages advertise this as the work hard play hard mentality.
Whether you're hiring through a job posting or an employee referral program you will have to review resumes, interview a lot, and most likely over the course of a year not everyone you hire will work out. It's difficult to determine if a candidate will work out for any number of reasons. What I've personally been using for the past few years is Lean Solution Group. Why choose a staffing agency though when there are plenty of other options?
Because of the time it takes to weed through the candidates that aren't a good fit. The time it takes to train someone new from scratch. And very importantly what I could be doing with that time instead, my opportunity cost.
When my book of business reached the point where I needed to hire someone to take things off my plate I couldn't wait a few weeks hoping I'd find the right candidate. I needed the help immediately. And I also didn't want to pay for the office or manage the HR side of it. I wanted to press the easy button, have a conversation about the needs of the role I was creating. And have Lean Staffing bring me a handful of qualified candidates. I chose the best fit, they put them through logistics training and classes. Set them up with their tech packages, phone computer etc.. And they were ready to learn the ins and outs of my customers. It was as easy as that.
At the end of the day you'll need to decide which options are the best fit for your brokerage and budget. I have clients that use everyone of the strategies discussed in this video. They have a few referral hires, 3 people from Lean and recently picked up a new sales person from Indeed. Keep an open mind and congratulate yourself if you're at the stage where you need to hire to keep up. That's a hell of an accomplishment in and of itself.