A firm is only as strong as its people. Although that adage may seem trite, it is true – your business will only be successful if you have created a resource management strategy that places talented people in well-defined roles within your organizational hierarchy. In many companies, hiring and employee management are jobs requiring at least one full-time employee, if not an entire department. How can you build an effective system if you do not have those resources? By developing a recruitment strategy that is an ongoing, reflexive task.

Create a system for your employees and managers to submit suggestions for internal and external recruits. Keep team members informed about available job openings (and the traits and skills needed to fill the positions) and encourage them to keep these attributes in mind as they interact with people during marketing and networking events, business-related meetings and even in their personal lives.

Similar to how you must continuously drip on clients and prospects to maintain a steady flow of business, you must always be in recruiting mode, ready to bring on another employee as soon as the current workload becomes too great for your existing staff to manage and do well. As Matthew Asser explained in his hiring cycle series, the process of developing a role, searching for and selecting a recruit can span six months or more.

Build a Virtual Rolodex

As you meet people who you think could be strong candidates for your firm in roles that are currently open or will be in the future, create an internal schedule for keeping in contact with them. Perhaps create a calendar reminder to send them an email or make a call every month or quarter in order to maintain contact and establish a rapport. Depending on how aggressively you wish to recruit, you may even choose to send them details about a job opening and indicate that you think they should consider applying.

How do you decide when it’s time to hire an additional employee or to create a new position in your business? Do you have a system for anticipating your workload six months, one year or further into the future? Are you proactively building a pool of skilled advisors, marketing experts and supporting employees who can be tapped at the point that you need more boots on the ground?

By creating a virtual Rolodex of people with whom you have a good professional relationship and who you have primed as job candidates, you may be able to remove some of the panic associated with filling vacant positions quickly. This preparation can also increase the likelihood of new hires’ success in the organization, since you have a greater selection of more qualified applicants and will not feel forced to select someone who is not a good match for the role.

Your recruitment strategy can be considered alongside the process of creating your one-, five- and 10-year plans. The number of new clients you plan to sign in the coming year or the additional markets and services you wish to branch into two or three years from now will serve as a measure for how many people you should bring on and what kind of skills they should carry.