Employing new staff can be a daunting task for any employer, but especially so for those who haven’t done it before. Whether your business is one that you’ve built to a point where you need more hands on deck, or is a startup that requires a team from the outset, hiring can feel socially foreign and downright uncomfortable.It doesn’t need to be like that, though! By following these tips, you can be much more comfortable in approaching the hiring process, and you will have better chance of finding the person that is a perfect fit for your company.
1. Know what you want
Hiring, when it all comes down to it, is about two things: the position you’re hiring for, and the prospective employee. Knowing what you want is all about describing the position. This is where you put together the ultimate wish-list of all the things you would like from your future employee. At this point, you should build a profile of the one ideal candidate for the job.
It can’t be over the top and unrealistic, though. You need to have a strong foundation for the position, to reduce ambiguity further down the track. You’ll need to make sure you know exactly what daily tasks you new staff member will be responsible for, and what skills they require, at a bare minimum, to be able to do the job. If you have particular needs that must be met, make sure to include them, but be aware that you are unlikely to find someone who fulfils every single requirement on your list. Using your wish-list as a guide, as opposed to a list of demands, will be more likely to find you the right candidate.
2. Include your other staff in hiring
Making your existing team part of the hiring process is one of the smartest decisions you can make when bringing on new staff. It’s likely that they will be working more closely with the new employee than you will, so making sure that personalities mesh from the outset should be a given.
Including your current employees in the hiring process has other benefits too. They are often more savvy to the actual day-to-day demands of a position, so can provide more pertinent information than your job description will. They can also share their experiences with prospective candidates to provide insight into the company culture.
The most important aspect of this tip is that both your existing staff and your prospective employee will see that their opinions are respected and acted upon, giving them more emotional investment in your business. This will translate to staff loyalty, longevity of positions, and a company culture that people want to be a part of.
3. Employ team players
Unfortunately, it happens all to often that a candidate for a position will be perfect on paper, possessing all the necessary skills and more, but will be impossible to work with, because of their attitude. It really is best to avoid hiring people like this wherever possible.
You may be tempted to hire the difficult genius, because of the skills they bring to your business, but if they are negatively affecting the social dynamic of your team, they could end up costing you much more than they provide. Instead, look for candidates who get along with the people in your office, who are friendly and respectful to everyone from the cleaner to the CEO. These are the people that will make your company a more comfortable place to work.
4. Remember that it’s a two-way street
Try to stay humble when you’re hiring. This might sound harsh, but you’re not doing your candidate a favour by employing them. Hiring staff is just a business transaction, in that they have skills you require, and you have a position they require. They don’t owe you anything, other than their dedication to your business in exchange for compensation. Loyalty and respect need to be earned.
Having said that, it works both ways. Candidates are not doing you a favour by coming to work for you. If you engage in the hiring process with a mindset of equality between you and your interviewee, you will earn their trust and respect much more quickly than if you allow a dramatic power imbalance to occur.
5. Keep an open mind
It’s a sad indictment on the world that people are still judged by the way they look, the way they dress, who their friends are, or where they went to school. Sometimes the perfect person for your position won’t look like the perfect person on paper. Consider the possibility that the most brilliant genius you’ll ever meet might not own a suit, or have enough money for a haircut.
Keeping an open mind doesn’t just stop at appearance or education. It may be possible that you have a candidate that would suit your company perfectly, but doesn’t have the requisite skills for the advertised position. Sometimes, you may need to rethink the job description, especially if you’re unwilling to lose this person who is an ideal cultural fit for your company.
6. The person is more important than the position
This is the most important tip to remember! Businesses revolve around people, not the other way around. The focus on company culture over the last couple of decades has really embraced this premise, and it is one of the most important factors to consider when employing new staff.
When you meet a person who fits your company culture, you will know. They will embrace your ideas, be positive about the direction your company is taking, and be able to work cohesively with your team from the outset. This is something that can’t be taught. What can be taught, however, are the skills required to fulfil the role outlined in your job description. While you should definitely be looking for someone who can work with your required tools, their current level of ability should be treated more leniently. By working with these tools every day, they will become experts, and will have you to thank for it. This, in turn, feeds back into the positive company culture.
7. Be flexible
Flexibility is paramount in all aspects of your business. You need to be able to adapt to gain the most from what you do. This rings equally true with your staff. By allowing deviation from the strict 9-5 routines of normal business life, you have the potential to achieve outstanding results from your employees.
If your business does not actually need to stick to strict routines, consider allowing employees to dictate their own starting times. This will allow you to get the most out of both your early risers, and your night owls. Encourage a positive work/life balance by providing comfortable work hours for parents. Give people the opportunity to work from home at times, if their position allows. Provide a socially responsible workplace by actively encouraging people to leave early to do volunteer work.
All of these options will display the flexibility that you foster in your workplace, making for a happier, more productive team. It also serves to enhance that all important company culture.
8. Join the conversation
What you think you need from a new employee, and what you actually require aren’t always the same thing. Sometimes, when you are so deep in the running of your business, you can’t see the forest for the trees. It’s a good idea to take a step back occasionally, and have a conversation with someone about what you’re doing.
There are plenty of business groups and events that you can be a part of, either virtually through social sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, or in the real world, through organisations like Meetup or Eventbrite. They will help you keep abreast of industry trends and required skills, and will be able to advise on the current state of potential employees available. They will help you understand if you are actually attracting the right people to your business in the first place, and if you’re new to hiring, they can help you with tips and assistance. Never be afraid to ask for help.
9. Try before you buy
It can be a good idea to offer short term probationary contracts, once you’ve hired someone, before you offer them a more permanent position. Not only does this give you the opportunity to see if your new employee is capable, and able to meet your expectations, but it will also allow them to experience the way your company works.
While CVs and references may give glowing reports about your candidate, nothing compares to you actually being able to experience their work ethic. You will see first hand if they really do fit your company culture, and whether they are able to learn the skills you require. They will get the opportunity to see if your company culture really is all you promised, and whether the job they are going to be doing is the same as the one they applied for.
10. Learn from your mistakes and move on
If, after all of these measures, the person you employ isn’t right for your business, you need to be able to move on and start again. Don’t be disgruntled, or rue the expense of a failed hire, as any stumbling block along the way will get you one step closer to finding the perfect staff. Don’t hold on to employees if they clearly don’t fit in with your company culture, as it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to bring them around to it.
Make sure to learn from your mistakes, though. Make a note of any issues you have with these unsuccessful hires, and keep these things in mind when you start recruiting again.
Finding the perfect person for your business will take some time, but don’t despair. The right person with the right skills will be out there, and once you find them, you’ll wonder how your business ever succeeded without them.
Reckon Limited does not provide professional advice. Consult a professional adviser before making any decisions.