Back when I started my first job in agency recruiting, I flew down to Florida for my company’s sales training. The training consisted of learning sales tactics. One lesson we were taught is that, you need to spend money to make money. This was mostly apropos of us investing in a nice suit and buying business cards so we could look the part — even though all of us were fresh out of college and couldn’t afford it.

Now recruiting for expansion-stage companies, I can tell you that that little obnoxious saying still holds true, especially when it comes to hiring top talent. In Frank Addante’s article for Inc., Hire the Best Candidate, The One You Can’t Afford,” he outlines the benefits of hiring the very best of the best, even if they are not within your budget. This article got me thinking about how the best hires impact expansion-stage companies. Expansion-stage companies, by nature, are in an accelerated growth mode where each hire is critical to the direction of the company. In order to get the best talent, sometimes you need to pay the big bucks. Keep an open mind when it comes to salary. The benefits of hiring the best outweigh hiring the less expensive pretty good candidate.

Top talent begets top talent

A start-up or expansion stage company is in a critical position to set the tone for future talent. If you hire the most qualified person, chances are they will broaden your network with individuals who can be value-adds for your company. Think of someone professionally that you respect: If that person goes to a new company and tells you how great it is — chances are you’re listening. One exceptional individual can increase your talent pipeline tenfold.

One top producer can do the work of many

Would you pay the price for one individual who pulls their weight and produces good work in a timely manner, or would you rather have to oversee two people whose work is average? Seems like a clear choice.

One bad apple…

You’ve heard the phrase that “One bad apple spoils the bunch.” Well, the opposite is true, as well. If you bring in a rock star to your company, chances are some people will be threatened, but in a good way. A good healthy dose of competition is sometimes just what complacent employees need to raise their work to rock-star level, too. Not to mention that everyone benefits from a fresh perspective.

Is the most expensive candidate always the best? No, absolutely not. But typically a more expensive candidate comes from a good pedigree. The bottom line is, if you are looking to cut costs while growing your business, think twice before you deem candidates as too expensive. You may be overlooking the talent you need to get your business to the next level.

photo by: 401(K) 2012

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