by Helen Hopkins, President, Hire Standard  & Blue Zebra

Now that the economic engine is sputtering back to life, companies tell us they need to hire but are Reduce Hiring and Staffing Costshamstrung by budget concerns. Many companies have squeezed as much as they can out of existing staff and must add new talent – but executives are still approaching spending with a conservative eye. How can your company bridge the gap? Try these cost-conscious solutions that you can implement quickly.

Set Realistic Goals for the Time and Money:
Finding a great Staff Accountant will take more than one day, but should not take two months. Set a goal that allows enough time to consider your options, but not so much time that you lose great candidates in the process. Searches and contractor requests that drag on have a cost in terms of employee morale and lost revenue.

Fine Tune the Position Description:
A poorly defined role will waste money, time, and other resources. Start with an  old PD and update responsibilities and technical skills needed for optimum performance before starting your search. According to John Rossheim of, getting everyone to agree on what the job is comes first. However,  one executive or department head must make the “final cut”, getting the buy-in of others to move the process along.

Allow Only 24 Hours for Candidate Replies:
Establish a protocol for candidate responses.  Serious contenders answer their phones, check messages regularly, and reply to email inquiries daily.  Beware the candidate who was “out of town” or whose cell phone wasn’t working.

Judge Resumes on Performance, Not Perfection:
Remember you are interested in improving effectiveness, not selecting a mate for life! Resumes provide an overview of the individual, but can never capture all the fine points.

Reduce Your Risk:
Once you’ve identified someone, consider creative solutions before making the commitment to hire. Blue Zebra offers a turnkey solution for trying your intended candidate in the job for less than you can do it for yourself. Blue Zebra absorbs the employer risk while you get the reward: saving money, experiencing the “real” candidate and avoiding costly hiring mistakes.