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The new year brings with it new opportunities, whether in the form of additional hiring budget, extra revenue from customers signing new 12-month contracts, or other seasonal spikes in income.

Of course any new year is also a time of uncertainty until we all get to grips with the shape of the economy, but having the right workforce in place is a crucial step towards dealing with whatever changes 2017 may bring.

Here are some of our top hiring tips for 2017, to ready your workforce for whatever comes your way.

Think fast

Many industries are short of talent and if you’re using a recruitment agency because your own direct hiring efforts have not proved fruitful, there’s a good chance you’re in one of those industries.

Try to resist the temptation to reject the first candidate you interview, and instead judge them on their own merits – recruitment agencies work hard to only put forward suitable applicants.

While there is a tendency to say no to the first suggestion, you may be rejecting the best person for the job, whereas hiring them immediately gives you the talent you need and a faster return on investment.

Set your goals

Whether you’re hiring to fill a gap or to prepare for future growth, make sure you are clear in your own mind about what you are looking for.

This not only makes it more likely that you will find what you need faster; it is also fairer on candidates as it allows your recruitment agency to recommend applicants who are a closer fit for what you need.

Be transparent

Work closely with your recruitment agency and be honest and open about what you need, and especially about why you reject any unsuccessful applicants.

Again, by bringing the agency into your circle of trust, you make it much easier for them to understand what you are looking for and make better recommendations in the future.

Self-employed economy

If you haven’t previously considered hiring self-employed candidates, it’s worth looking at again, as even in the past few years this has become a more mature and widespread mode of employment.

Candidates relish the feeling of greater control over their career, but employers can often get highly talented individuals on better terms than if they were a permanent employee in the traditional sense.

You may even find they are much more engaged and disciplined in terms of their personal career development, as self-employed individuals typically have their future employability in mind at all times.

Be prepared

Going back to our first points in this article – nobody knows exactly what the economy will bring in 2017, and the businesses that thrive will be those that are best prepared for any newly emerging trends.

A self-employed workforce gives you great flexibility with fewer inescapable commitments to your employees, while an ongoing relationship with a recruitment agency should make it easier to fill any new staffing needs as they develop over the course of 2017 too.

Being prepared

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