Recruiting your first staff is tremendously exciting. For many small business owners, it comes after months or even years of hard work, trying to do everything for yourself, and hiring freelancers to help out when you need to. Getting to the point where you can take on permanent staff and start to build your team usually means that things have been going well. It means that you can afford to pay people and that you are confident that you will be able to do so for the foreseeable future. Being able to hire staff means that you are too busy to do everything on your own, or that you have reached the point where you need more experience and expertise to take your business forward.
Being excited about getting to recruit often means that we don’t do it very well. Small business owners often give jobs to people that they know. They bring friends, family, and former colleagues in without thinking about what they need, and if these people will fill a gap in their business and bring something new to the team. Or, they open up recruitment, take in CVs and again, hire without giving it much thought. We don’t think about the hours that we need or the skills. Many small business owners often fail to take care of details like background checks, contracts, liability insurance, or risk assessments. All of these mistakes could lead to you hiring the wrong people, having a high staff turnover, spending longer than you need to recruiting, spending more money than you can afford and even facing legal ramifications. If you are going to hire, it’s worth taking the time to do it right in the first place.
Think About What You Need – Be Specific
The biggest mistake that employers make when recruiting new staff is going in blindly. They need more bodies, and so they hire. But, not all bodies are equal. Before you start to advertise for a position, think about precisely what you need. Look at your schedule and work out how many hours you need. Do you need a full-time team member, or would help on weekends do? Do you need someone who can work specific hours, or can you afford to be more flexible with what you offer? Do you have the time to train people up, or do you need someone with experience? Are there specific skills that you need to do a particular role, or are you just looking for general help? Try to be as precise with your needs as you possibly can.
Get Your Advertisement Right
If you know exactly what you need, advertise for it. Again, be specific. If you need someone to work certain days, say that. But, also advertise what you have got to offer. Will there be training and the chance of development? You’ll still get plenty of unsuitable applications, but it will filter a few out and mean that successful applicants know exactly what to expect.
Perform Background and Reference Checks
Most people ask for two references when they advertise a job. Very few actually take the time to check these references. Do it. Check references properly, and use the Checkr website to perform background checks quickly and efficiently without risking people’s private data.
Prepare an Interview Template
Interviewing can be tough. If you’ve got several interviews all on one day, it can get boring and tedious. When you interview someone that you get on with, it can quickly become a chat, instead of a formal process. This is fine. It’s good to get a feel for the personality behind the rehearsed answers. But, you don’t want to come out of the interview, realizing that you know about their private life but have no idea of their working style or experience.
Build an interview template, so that you ask all of your applicants the same questions. You can still have a chat, and make things more informal, but asking everyone the same questions will help you to get the answers that you need.
Consider Trial Shifts
Interviews, application forms and CVs are a great way to find out if someone has the experience and education that you need. But, they don’t give you a real idea of how people work. Consider offering a short trial shift to anyone that makes it through the interview stage, to help you make your decision.
Keep an Open Mind
You should never judge a book by its cover. Keep an open mind while recruiting, and don’t just hire the kind of person that you’d expect to work well. Taking a chance sometimes is the best thing that you can do.