It’s an impossible task to know EXACTLY the headcount you’re going to need at any given time to run a successful business, largely because it can change at the drop of a hat. After all, very few employees share with you when they’re looking for a new job. The first you’re likely to hear about it is when you get that email asking if they can have a quick meeting at the end of the day…. And we all know how that goes!

And taking in to account sickness, annual leave, unexpectedly busy times,  business growth, maternity or paternity leave..  there’s always going to be a juggle required to keep staffing levels on an even keel.


There ARE things you can do to make sure you’re not falling into a negative cycle of recruitment – essentially factoring in your recruitment strategy as a key part of your plans rather than the “leave it and see what happens” approach.

As recruitment experts in the business travel space, when we receive a new vacancy, it’d be fairly accurate to say that 80% of the time it comes alongside one of the sentences we’re about to share with you below.


“We need someone, like, yesterday”.

Sometimes this happens and you’re caught short, someone gets signed off long term sick etc. But running on skeleton staff is always going to put you in a compromising position should staffing levels suddenly change. In this instance, you’re likely to make a panic hire rather than the right one. If you can be slightly over on your preferred headcount to cover for such instances, that’s the way to go.


“We’ve just won a new client and we need X amount of skilled people to start a training course in 3 weeks.”

Whilst it’s amazing you’ve won the client, restricting your talent pool to those who are available immediately only, or, who only have 1-2 weeks notice period (unlikely for someone in a skilled role) is a risky strategy when it comes to making sure you can deliver the service you’ve promised. Ensure you are realistic about the talent pool available and that the implementation of your new client aligns with when your business is ready or you risk a catastrophic start to your new relationship.


“We’ve tried to redistribute the work for the person that left 6 months ago but we’re probably going to have to hire someone else”

And in the meantime, your remaining staff have got more and more fed up with being put on and are alr
eady interviewing elsewhere…


“We haven’t quite got sign off yet but we’re looking to interview anyway….”

Great people won’t hang around and are likely to receive more than one job offer. If you interview a candidate and you like them but aren’t in a position to offer a role, someone else probably will, wasting your time and meaning you have to start all over again.


“We’ve had the vacancy open for 4 weeks, tried to do it ourselves but not had any luck..”

We do understand that the budget to involve a recruitment agency isn’t always there for some businesses, or, seems like it’s an expense that can be avoided for others.   BUT (you knew that was coming didn’t you?!)  Let’s say you instruct an agency and it’s another 3-4 weeks before you’ve then completed those interviews, selected and offered someone. That person is likely to have a months notice period. You’re now 3 MONTHS down the line before your new starter has even logged in for the first time, never mind got to grips with your procedures. If you have the luxury of time and capacity to recruit yourself, no problem. But opening the vacancy up to an agency alongside your own attempts will maximise your chances of filling that role in the time you need it done by.


 And so, some tips from us for planning ahead for your recruitment look a little something like this:

Taking someone on a month or two earlier than you need them just to secure the right person.

Allowing yourself enough time to train someone who might not tick all the boxes but you know will be a valuable asset.

Having conversations with us, experts in the field before you confirm timeframes for work that needs to be done with your clients.

Factoring in the potential for recruitment to be a rollercoaster- as much as we’d all like it to go smoothly, there can be bumps in the road that can set you back.

Aiming to fill positions as they become available, not waiting to see how the rest of the team can cope with one person down.

Communicating within your own business- HR, Hiring Managers, Managers.. everyone needs to know the current and expected workloads of ALL staff in order to push forward with sign off for new starters sooner rather than later.

We hope this is helpful and gives you some food for thought if recruitment is on the horizon for your company in 2024. Where you can plan for it, please do, using all available options.  Where you can’t, hopefully you’ll have a great partnership with a couple of wonderful recruiters who can help you (check out the Contact Us page here of course!)