In today’s post-recession economic climate, many companies are growing and on the hunt for new talent.
This is obviously great news. However, for some small and medium-sized enterprises, hiring staff can be fraught with difficulty.
Employees are an expensive asset and choosing the wrong person can end up costing you more than it generates in the long run.
Employment law makes the decision even more important, because if you hire the wrong person, it can be very difficult to fire them—or expensive to move them on by other means.
With some thought and thorough planning, you can determine your requirements, find strong candidates with relevant experience and narrow down the selection.
Skilled and enthusiastic staff will make all the difference to your business.
Here are our top tips for finding the right person for the job.
Plan your strategy
Hiring staff should be part of your business plan when you’re starting or buying a business. Think about your goals and how you expect to grow as a business. How many staff will you need and what duties will they perform as you evolve?
Make a list of what your business/team needs and what you want each employee to take on. Research market rates and offer a competitive salary based on what you can afford.
Be transparent in your job description
Many businesses use standardized job descriptions from online templates and recruitment agencies, but savvy small-business owners will tailor their advert to fit their business.
For example, do you need a writer for your blog who also understands the importance of visual content and how to use social media?
Sometimes it just isn’t possible to find someone with all relevant experience, so it’s worthwhile making two lists—one of essential qualifications and experience and another listing desired, but not essential, attributes—and rank your requirements by their importance.
Be 100% honest in your advert and you’ll save time in the long run. Any job advert, however well drafted, is likely to encourage unsuitable applicants, but transparency in what you want will deter most timewasters.
Don’t forget your company culture
Every small business has a unique way of doing things. Not only does this impact on how your business operates but also how it’s seen by its customers.
While skills, qualifications and experience are important, it also matters that the candidate fits with your company culture.
There are plenty of ways to find candidates.
Recruitment agencies are, of course, specialists in the discipline and can find candidates with relevant skills pretty quickly. However, they often charge a substantial fee.
If you need someone quickly, don’t have time to conduct the process yourself or need to fill a high ranking position then it is often worthwhile, but there are plenty of other options:
- Use LinkedIn. Update your profile to let people know you’re hiring and search for people in your industry and location with the right skills.
- Ask business partners and existing clients. Explain the type of person that you are looking for and ask them if they know anyone suitable who they can recommend.
- Advertise the position on your website. Perhaps add a vacancies or ‘work for us’ button that takes visitors to the job description and details on how to apply.
- Advertise on job websites. These will also charge you a fee, but a much lower fee than that levied by a recruitment agency.
- Post about it on social media. You can’t get better free advertising, and it’s likely that the people who see it will already follow you and therefore already have some understanding of your brand.
Make a shortlist
Filtering your applicants can be a laborious process. Look through each application and assess them next to your criteria.
What are their qualifications—are they relevant and up to date?
What work experience do they have? Have they moved jobs several times in the space of a year? This could be a warning sign.
Do they have a background in your industry?
How do they behave on social media? While this might seem like prying, if it’s posted on a public forum then it’s out there for public consumption. Social media is a useful tool for gauging whether a candidate’s personality fits with your ethos.
Invite them to interview
Draw up a set of questions. Include open-ended questions (as opposed to those that can be answered simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’) so the candidate has the opportunity to talk about themselves.
And always encourage them to talk about their achievements, both in the workplace and outside.
It might also be worth enquiring about their interests and hobbies to get an insight into their personality.
Ask them about your business and ethos. This way you can assess their commitment: have they done any research?
Trust your instincts
Sometimes it’s best to trust your instincts. If you meet someone and they feel right immediately as well as ticking all the right boxes for experience, skills, qualifications and personality, then you’ve possibly found the right person for the role.
Author: By Melanie Luff, Online Journalist for BusinessesForSale.com, the market-leading directory of business opportunities from Dynamis. Melanie writes for all titles in the Dynamis Stable including PropertySales.com and FranchiseSales.com.