The over-hiring debate: where do you stand?

Anthony Haynes writes: Regular readers of this blog won’t be entirely surprised to hear that FJWilson Talent is a fan of Steve Boese’s HR Technology blog. On that blog recently (“The Celtics, coaching, and compensation”, 5 July) Boese has written about the good sense he finds in not over-hiring.

His post uses as a case study basketball team Boston Celtics’ decision to replace an elite coach with a much less well-known and less experienced one. Boese commends the thinking behind this decision on the grounds that:

“All organizations say they want to attract and retain the ‘best’ talent. But sometimes doing what is necessary to land the ‘best’ talent doesn’t make sense from a broader organizational context. And when you need to move off what is needed to land the top talent in terms of compensation, then you also likely need to think more expansively and creatively about who you can bring in. Maybe you place a bet on an up-and-comer. Maybe you don’t worry so much about ’10 years experience doing exactly the same job’.”

In response to Boese’s post (which he commends), Rory C. Trotter on the Something Different HR blog  develops the general question  of whether it’s ever good to over-hire (“Is it ever a good idea to over-hire?“, 5 July). He suggests that there are two cases where the answer might be “Yes”:

1. You’re back-filling a position that you expect will come open soon (in which case you’re really hiring the employee for a bigger job and just want time to train them) [and] 2. You expect the complexity and/or span of control of the job you’re filling to grow over time (in which case it makes sense to have someone in the job that will be able to complete the additional responsibilities once the role expands).”

Is Trotter right? And are there any other circumstances where over-hiring might be good? We’d welcome your thoughts.


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