3 reasons why traditional hiring is broken

Part I

In my role at Simplicity Consulting, I help hiring managers understand how to think about talent and how best to reach their business goals. And while each manager, team, and organization are unique, the downsides of the traditional hiring process are painfully universal.

It boils down to this: Traditional hiring is broken and here’s why.

Join me in the second part of this two part series where I share my ideas on how to fix it.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Need: You need to fill an open role - now.
Real talk: Traditional hiring is too slow ... and expensive.

Whether you need to fill a role that’s been vacant for far too long or add headcount to quickly pivot, traditional hiring—that is, hiring full- or part-time salaried employees—isn’t synonymous with speed … or cost savings.

LinkedIn 1 reports that only 30 percent of companies fill a vacant role within 30 days, and even then, it can take one to four months to process a new hire.

The opportunity cost of waiting to hire the “perfect” person is enormous. It costs 213 percent of an annual salary to replace a highly skilled employee, estimates Jack Altman, CEO of performance management company Lattice, in HuffPo. 2 Many hiring managers search for months for an elusive unicorn, only to have that unicorn leave for greener pastures in a year or two. 

Plus, it’s expensive. The true costs of hiring a full-time employee often outweigh those of an external on-demand expert.

As illustrated by Toptal's real employee cost calculator 3, an employee’s lower hourly rate exceeds a consultant’s higher rate once you factor indirect costs like benefits and taxes and a lengthy list of indirect overhead costs.

Annual compensation figures of traditional hiring vs. consultants. The total annual cost for employees is $190,403, and the total cost of consultants is $174,720.
Toptal’s real employee cost calculator shows the true cost comparison of a consultant billing $70/hr and a full-time employee earning $46/hr. Once direct and indirect costs are considered, the employee costs more to the company, despite a significantly lower hourly rate. (Source: Toptal)

It’s no wonder, then, that 83 percent of Fortune 500 executives tell McKinsey that they do not trust the effectiveness of their own hiring processes.4

Need: Your employee is going out on parental leave, and there’s no way you can survive without them.
Real talk: Traditional hiring focuses on the long game.

Traditional hiring doesn’t readily accommodate short-term headcount needs—something many employers learned the hard way during the pandemic. Coverage for an unexpected absence or few-month-long leave requires agility and speed. It demands a hiring model that breaks success into bite-sized chunks, not one grounded in the fading myth of employee retention.

All that assuming your employee returns: The impact of turnover is another challenge entirely.

Need: You need to quickly scale your team for an upcoming product launch, but won’t need the added headcount after the release.
Real talk: Traditional hiring is inflexible.

We already established that traditional hiring takes time (more than 30 days for 70 percent of companies, plus one to four months of processing), putting it at odds with today’s ever-increasing speed of business.

When you need to quickly build an on-demand team, the months required to source, screen, interview, hire, and onboard new employees will only hamper innovation and agility.

While traditional hiring has some serious limitations, there are alternatives that will help you overcome the costly and timely obstacles. In my next article, I will share a new hiring strategy that will keep you and your team thrive in this new world of work. Until then, please reach out to me with questions or an early look at this new approach.

Want to join the on-demand workforce and choose when and how you work?

Preorder our CEO and founder’s latest book, Work, Your Way: Reinvent Yourself, Create the Life You Want, and Thrive as a Consultant, from Harper Collins Leadership.  

Traditional hiring is broken. Three ways to fix it, for good!

Part II

In part one of this two-part series, I shared the top 3 reasons why traditional hiring is broken.

As someone who has been consulting with hiring managers at enterprise tech companies for over a decade on how to overcome the traditional hiring limitations, this alternative approach is a game-changer!

A new approach to traditional hiring

Wondering how to accelerate, reduce costs and create more flexibility in your hiring? Launch your hiring strategy into the future of work with on-demand, project-based talent. Here’s how to get started:

1. Expand your mindset.

It’s not traditional hiring or nothing: You have options.

As our CEO and founder, Lisa Hufford, likes to phrase it, shift your mindset from team to Team to embrace a total talent strategy.

A team consists solely of full-time employees. In contrast, a Team includes a collection of resources helping an organization reach its goals. There is no standard template—a Team can be any combination of FTEs, consultants, freelancers, vendors, agencies, and contractors.

In contrast to the weeks or months it takes to hire an employee, an on-demand expert can quickly be selected, hired, dropped in like a Navy Seal with a targeted mission, and add value, often in a matter of days.

2. Define success.

It might sound obvious, but it’s near-impossible to have a successful project without first clearly defining what success looks like. Ask yourself: What’s the most important outcome I need right now?

Dig a little deeper. What results do you want to see in 30 days? What about 90? What expertise do you have on your team, and where are your gaps? What milestones must be met? How will you measure success?

Don’t overlook the tactical logistics either. Successful clients break down what they need to do to meet their goals.

3. Evaluate your options.

Next, determine the best external talent options for your needs. You can search within your own networks or partner with a gig platform or on-demand talent company.  

If you go it alone, you’re on the hook for everything from drafting the project description and sourcing, vetting, and hiring to managing performance and payment.

While gig platforms are great, an on-demand talent company will provide curated, vetted talent and client-focused service. They’ll provide you with a trusted individual or team that meets your unique needs. They’ll also manage talent performance, deliverables, and success metrics for the project, so you, the hiring manager (a.k.a. client) can focus on the work that you want to be known for.

While traditional hiring has some serious limitations, there are alternatives that will help you overcome the costly and timely obstacles. To conquer the challenges of an ever-changing workforce, many companies are turning to on-demand talent alternatives with specialized consulting firms who can bring experienced consultants, capable of hitting the ground running, and a drive to produce results almost immediately.

Are you ready to launch your hiring strategy with on-demand, project-based talent in marketing, communications, and project/program management? Reach out to me and let’s talk about hiring strategies.

Want to join the on-demand workforce and choose when and how you work?

Grab our CEO and founder’s latest book, Work, Your Way: Reinvent Yourself, Create the Life You Want, and Thrive as a Consultant, from Harper Collins Leadership.  

What To Look For In A Consultant

In my time with Simplicity, I’ve met with hundreds of clients. I’ve heard their business challenges and aspirations, their pain points and their wish lists. In those conversations, I’ve also observed key commonalities in what they value in a great consultant.

Those consistent themes are the foundation of our core values, SMILE. They’re how we show up—and why our clients continue partnering with us. They’re also an incredibly useful framework for you to evaluate whether a consultant is the right resource for your team.

I’ll guide you through each of our core values (S - M - I - L - E), highlighting what to look for and why it matters.


Our guiding principles inspire us to bring our best selves to work, each and every day. These five values—Self starter, Meaningful relationships, Innovative, Learning, and Energy—represent the things that our clients have consistently asked for in our 14 years of client service. Here are the things to look for in a great consultant.

1. Self starter

This is one of the most important traits for a good consultant or on-demand resource. Regardless of experience level or role, a self-starter has the drive and internal motivation to take initiative and get things done.

What to look for:

What to ask: How have you been proactive in past projects?

2. Meaningful relationships

Our business was built on relationships, and we and our consultants strive to add value in every interaction and in every relationship. Building meaningful relationships will enable your consultant to earn trust and establish rapport with project stakeholders—essentials for the project’s success.

What to look for:

What to ask: How do you add value in your professional interactions and roles?

3. Innovative

Yes, it’s a buzzword, but an innovative approach is a differentiator in today’s fast-paced digital world. An innovative mindset will enable a consultant to think big and offer unique solutions.

What to look for:

What to ask: Are you a creative problem solver? How?

4. Learning

We encourage a growth mindset in our staff and consultants. That appetite for lifelong learning translates to an expert who’s constantly retooling their skills and staying up-to-date with the latest tools, approaches, and techniques. That also means the humility to admit mistakes and recognize others’ areas of expertise.

What to look for:

What to ask: What are you curious about? What areas are you looking to grow and improve?

5. Energy

Last but not least, let’s have a little fun! An infection infectious attitude and a willingness to jump in and contribute goes a long way. Look for that spark to find an expert that’s truly right for your team and the work.

What to look for:

What to ask: How do you recharge? What helps you be your best self every day?

We wrote the e[book] on client success

Want more resources? Now that you know what to look for in a consultant, download our 7 Habits of Highly Successful Hiring Managers eBook to get the definitive guidelines for repeatable project success.

Find your next consultant

When you’re ready to put our on-demand experts to work for you, let’s talk.