As a small business owner, you often hire on an “emergency” basis – an employee leaves, is fired, or you have a growth spurt and all of a sudden, you need an employee TODAY. It is easy to feel that a warm body is better than nothing; however, that warm body you hire may be a short-term help but often creates a long-term problem.
What does it take to successfully hire employees? You need to develop a hiring system that starts with the concept that hiring is an on-going process, a constant low-level investment of time and energy with occasional hiring spikes.
Step One: Constant Recruitment
We’ve all met an amazing employee who is happy, helpful, and knowledgeable when we are the customer/client. That is the type of employee we each want working for us. Your job is to determine the characteristics that are the best fit for your business and be on the lookout for potential employees all the time. Hand out business cards, take names and numbers, connect on Facebook or LinkedIn – keep in touch with those enthusiastic individuals (i.e., potential applicants) for when you have an opening.
Step Two: Essential Communication Tool – Job Description
Write a description identifying a job by title, essential functions and duties, and what knowledge, skills and abilities are needed for the employee to be successful. A good description can assist you in the hiring process, performance management, compensation, training and more. When you have an opening, you review the job description, ensure its current, and then hire an employee who fits.
Step Three: Plan the interview and work the plan
The interviewing process should answer to the following: Is this person the right one for your business? For the position you have available? With the right skills and personality?
Plan how many interviews you want to conduct – this is not a busy-work exercise; this is for the future of your business. A typical interviewing process might consist several of the following: a telephone interview, a team interview with future co-workers, a team interview with supervisors, a one-on-one interview.
Plan the questions you are going to ask – write them down and ask all of the candidates the same questions. Consider asking your current employees the interview questions – then you’ll know the type of answers that might fit your business the best. Take notes during the interviews. After an afternoon of interviewing, all the candidates will be running together in your mind.
Step Four: Evaluate the Candidates
Use a score card. Immediately after each interview, fill it out. Mark each candidate appropriately. Remember, you aren’t attempting to compare candidates with each other; you are comparing candidates to the job description and team environment you already have.
Step Five: Reference Check
After finding the perfect candidate, take the time to run a background check and call and check each reference the applicant listed. Don’t hurry now; it is critical to the future of your business to check references prior to hiring.
Step Six: Orient the Employee
Don’t just sit back and relax after you’ve hired the employee. Make sure you spend some time every day and make sure your new employee is getting the training, support, resources, etc., that they need to be a successful employee. Set them up to succeed, not fail.
Congratulations on making a wise hiring decision. Now you can return to the low-level, on-going constant recruiting that you started off with. Keep up the good work!