A strong team is vital for a small business to be sustaining or successful in the long term. And, for a small or medium business owner, hiring and nurturing a strong team is a critical step towards this organization building.Many, if not all, entrepreneurs struggling with the process of attracting and then hiring the right person for their business.
So, I thought I would try and write a few hiring tips for entrepreneurs, with inputs from my friend Mike Boyd, Executive Vice President of Instant Imprints.
There is certainly no shortage of advice on the subject of recruitment on the web. And yet there is not a single comprehensive article that can address all the facets of hiring talent that is of help to entrepreneurs.
So here is a list that has been categorized into
- Getting ready
- Finding the Talent
- Screening and interviewing
This first piece will deal with you, the small and medium business owner, getting ready for the whole process. Here are some tips for that process.
- Know exactly what you expect from your new hire.
Before you advertise for help, sit down and write a job description. Exactly what is the job? What skills does it require? List your goals for the new hire – do you want someone who can fill in on short notice when you need to take a day off, or do you want someone who can work a regular schedule? Do you want someone who can meet with clients, set their own schedules and attend meetings and events on your behalf or do you simply need someone who can pick up your overflow?
By spending time working through your thoughts on hired help you are setting yourself up for a great working relationship. If you can clearly articulate the job to all applicants, they will have the opportunity to determine if this is a mutually agreeable fit. Be sure to concentrate on specific job-related descriptions, and not subjective information.
“Too many times, when a small or medium business owner hires, he expects the new employee to shoulder everything that isn’t being done currently”, says Joe Kennedy, author of “The Small Business Owners Manual.” And that can be everything from keeping the books to making the coffee.
Instead, keep a running list of the tasks with which you might need help, he says, and use it to write the job description when you’re ready to hire.
- Don’t expect to hire a replica of you!
Each person you meet and interview will be a living, breathing human, with their own habits, mannerisms and even ideas! This is fine – -as long as their ideas and habits are not philosophically opposed to yours. As noted small business mentor, Peggy Arvidson-Dailey, said, “My first hire, Jen, was pursuing a graduate degree, had just moved to the area and is nearly 20 years younger than I am! She’s detail-oriented and relies on schedules to get things done. I’m a bit more ‘seat of my pants’ type of operator. She’s a perfect fit because she complements my way of working! Over time she’s grown into managing portions of my business that I neglected – like maintaining scheduling and billing.”
- Determine what type of manager you are!
It’s imperative that you’re honest about your work style. After all, if you say you want an independent thinker, but really do a lot of ‘checking-in’ you may end up with an unhappy helper. On the other hand, if you hire someone who needs lots of feedback, you need to be sure that you are cut out for the ‘people part’ of the management process.
Unlike large businesses, which are bogged down with policies and procedures, smallbusinesses are free to look at less traditional solutions, says Fred Steingold, a Chicago-based attorney and the author of “Hiring Your First Employee.” If you need help around the office, do you want to hire someone outright or go through a temp agency for a while? While a temp will cost more, the arrangement lets you “try out” the employee without paperwork or commitments.
Another option is independent contractors. If you need occasional help, like bookkeeping, you may be able to hire someone to handle the duties from time to time as an independent contractor, says Steingold. You’re paying the person only when needed and you don’t have to add another body to the payroll.
- Set aside time
If you expect to hire someone by the 15th of next month you may be setting yourself up for failure. Just as you can’t expect to find a perfect replica of you – you can’t always put a deadline on your hiring process. In other words, plan to advertise, interview and train until you find the RIGHT person. (SECRET TIP: If you find the right person – Hire them right away and then find work for them! Never pass up a great hire!)
In the next few blogs I will give you some tips for finding the talent, screening and interviewing and on-boarding your talent.