Hiring the right staff is crucial to the success of small business.
Hiring is one thing every small business owner should get right. However, depending on the type or size of your business, you may not need to hire any staff at the start up stage. As the business begins to grow, it will get to a point that you will need additional hands to work with you. Knowing when to hire and ability to hire a right personnel is very crucial. Getting a right person can actually be a spring board for your growth. But if you get it wrong, it can bring some setbacks to your company. Dan Radcliffe put it this way; “I’ve learnt that the people that work for you will essentially make or break your business. It is important to have the right staff in the right positions regardless of whether it is a driver who picks people from the airport …If the staff is not passionate about their job and do not enjoy what they are doing you will never get the full results your business is capable of. Take time while choosing employees as they will play a very large role in determining how successful your business is”
Therefore, before hiring a staff, it has to be well thought out. You may truly need an additional hand but there are options you can explore. At times, employing a freelancer or outsourcing the function to an independent service provider may be the right decision. It is less expensive outsourcing some functions in an organization especially those that are not the core functions of the business or those that are not performed frequently. It can be safe to delay hiring key managers until you are convinced that your initial rounds of experimentation have produced a stable business venture. Nevertheless, the following guidelines are considered very important when hiring a staff:
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Develop your checklist
The essence of your checklist is to ensure that you have taking all important factors into consideration before hiring your staff. Some of the things you may consider include the following:
- The need for the staff
- The number of staff needed
- Alternative ways of getting the job done without recruiting
- Key requirements needed for the position in term of qualification, experience etc
- The salary range for the position
- How much you can afford to pay
- Availability of resources for staff use
- How to recruit
Develop a Job Description
A job description typically outlines the necessary skills, training and education needed by a potential employee. It will spell out the following:
- Job Title
- Position summary
- Job requirements and qualifications
- Duties and responsibilities of the job
- Working condition
Once a job description is prepared, it can serve a basis for:
- interviewing candidates
- orienting a new employee
- defining where the job is positioned in the organisation structure
- setting employee and organization goal
- the evaluation of job performance
- establishing legally-binding contract of employment
Before you can recruit a staff, you have the responsibility of passing the information of job opening in your organization across to your potential employees. This can be achieved either by placing a short advert which may be in Newspapers, career website or just by the word of mouth among your friends and professional colleagues.
Except you outsource the recruitment processes to a consultant, after the advertising, you have to pre-select candidates that you considered appropriate for the position you want to fill having gone through their curriculum vitae. This pre-selection will help you reduce the number of candidates you need to interview in order to get the right candidate selected. You should create time for open interviews and talk with people you have shortlisted. One expert in this field advised that one should one should not rely solely on the information on the curriculum vitae as this can be manipulated to look great.
Some smart entrepreneurs usually develop relationship with their employee long before the need for hiring arises. During this time, they must have studied the behavioural pattern of the potential employee and concluded that he/she possesses the characteristics they are looking for in their employee. It is like digging your well before you are thirsty. This approach is good for small business owners. It is cheap and it reduces the risk of recruiting a wrong personnel.
Selecting the right candidates may not be as easy as one thinks, but every effort put into this can yield a good return for your business if you get it right.
Following these additional tips will help you ensure that your objectives for hiring an employee are achieved.
Don’t hire a person you can’t fire
For everything that has a beginning, there must be an end. Now that you want to recruit, you should bear it in mind that your staff may not work with you for their life time. They may leave you for one reason or the other. In the other hand, you may need to show them the way out in order to protect the interest of your business. Therefore, you should not make the mistake of hiring somebody you cannot fire. Some people may be difficult to fire no matter the level of inefficiency. Such people may be your blood relations. That is why I usually advise that it is better to recruit somebody who is not connected to you so that you can easily take any decision without the fear of what your parents, brother or sister may say. Business is business and it has to be seen and handled so. If you want to assist your brother with job, it is better you help him look for one elsewhere and not in your own business. This can save you future crisis which you alone may not be able to handle.
Interview Many Candidates
It doesn’t matter how urgent you need an employee, you should take time to interview as many people as possible. When it appears that you have gotten the right candidate, you can still interview two or more people thereafter. Since you already have the contact details of the candidates, you can contact the candidate you consider best suited for the position at the end of the whole exercise.
Hire a person with complementary skills
When you want to hire, there is tendency that you want to hire somebody who can do exactly what you can do with the belief that the person will be able to stand in for you any time you are not around. This sounds reasonable. But remember that your business is still young and in most cases will require that you are around most of the time. So, instead of looking for somebody who can do exact things you can do, it is better to hire somebody with complementary skills. It is then you can leverage on the synergy of having an additional hand. For example, if you are good in product development, hiring somebody with sales and marketing skills can boost your revenue tremendously.
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Check Reference and employment history
When applicants are seeking for job, they usually present their best side because they want to secure the job by all means. They know that no employer will like to employ someone with bad attitude. At interview stage, if you say something that can make people to get angry with you, they will just smile. So, no matter the level of your psychology, you may not actually know the type of person you are talking with. If somebody is a thief, you cannot see it written on his forehead. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how rigorous your recruitment process is, it is safer to double check the character of the person you want to hire. You can know more about your potential employee by going through his employment history and possibly requesting for recommendation for past employers. Perhaps there is no employment history, a person having a renowned personality as a referee may likely be a good one to work with. Meanwhile, having a reputable person as a referee is not enough, the person should be willing to sign an undertaking letter attesting to the character of your prospective employee.
Pay reasonable salary
Money is not everything but money is something. One of the ways by which you can attract and retain a good employee is by paying good salary. This makes him feel that you appreciate his contribution. Hear what Robert Bosch said “I don’t pay good wages because I have a lot of money; I have a lot of money because I pay good wages” . If your staff is well remunerated, he will give you his best. You may not be the best paying company in your industry but make sure that you pay reasonable amount. If your business cannot support additional hand, there is no point recruiting at the moment as you may be carrying unnecessary weight.
New employees seldom know exactly what is expected of them or how they will be measured. It’s important to communicate expectations and metrics clearly and succinctly from the onset. Unrealistic or unexpressed expectations can lead to frustrations.
Train your Staff
Many companies leave a tremendous amount of human potential untapped because their people are inadequately developed. Without a strong orientation, you are simply throwing the new employee into the environment he is not familiar with and this can lead to poor performance. You should train all new employees thoroughly in job requirements immediately upon hiring. You have to provide informal feedback and coaching, cross training and opportunities for advancement. Reinforce the attitudes and behaviour patterns you want. A new employee is usually highly receptive to suggestions and eagerly assimilates and readily accepts the organizational vision, mission and goals.
Remember that skills can be taught and developed but personality can’t. Having the right qualifications for a job is very important but I will say that having the right attitude is much more important. No matter the qualifications, a person with bad personality or attitude will always turn a bad hire. It is just a matter of time.
This statement from Lee Iacocca summarises it all. “Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss”