One of the most critical aspects of growing any business is employing the right people. Get it right, and the business growth trajectory is likely to accelerate. Get it wrong, and the tentative step forward might lead to the proverbial three steps back. It’s costly, stressful and time-consuming to manage the consequences of a wrong hire. Entrepreneurs are happy to invest huge amounts of time and energy in making their business move from concept to reality, and forgo a market-rate salary in their pursuit of success.
Employers also know what they want to achieve and are motivated by their vision – so little is required in the way of self-management. However, it’s not so straightforward when they start managing others.
When business owners start employing people, the capital they have worked hard to accumulate is being invested in employees who could be earning more than business owners do and will rightly expect to be paid on time each month. The entrepreneurs will invariably want to see a quick return on the investment (ROI) or are likely to become frustrated. The best way to achieve quick ROI is by spending time on a thorough recruitment process, which will minimise the risk and maximise the opportunity.
Business owners must define their needs and then develop a job description. They need to ask themselves why they need to hire someone and must not accept the obvious answers such as, I’m busy, tired or overworked.
Develop a job specification
Developing a job specification is not the most exciting pursuit, but it will help employers identify the businesses actual needs, not their own perceived ones.
Here are the following questions the business owner must address –
- What do I expect the new hire to do in their first month, and the months that follow?
- What can I reasonably expect them to achieve, how quickly, and what can I do to help them?
- What core skills and attributes are absolute necessities?
- What new services could this new person offer clients or customers?
These factors should form the basis of the evaluation criteria. It is also crucial to test candidates wherever possible. For example, business owners must conduct a creative test while interviewing for the right candidate. This will help the employers to evaluate the right person. Above all, entrepreneurial companies require adaptability and flexibility, and employers must hire people that embrace this dynamic.
Once the employers have a good idea of what they are looking for, they must describe the job in an appealing, truthful way and cast their net. Recruitment firms and job boards can be helpful, but it’s possible to market a job through the networks. Reaching out through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and ask friends, family and business associates for recommendations is necessary.
Make the interview process consistent
The process of interviewing applicants is also crucial as comparing people is inherently difficult. The employer must design consistency into the process and follow the same format wherever possible. It is recommended to ask the same set of open-ended questions to each candidate, as this helps move from the formality of an interview to open and honest dialogue.
An entrepreneurial environment is not necessarily the safest choice for an employee, so the employer must find out why they are interested in the role. Explore their potential for mutual success, as growing businesses need people who can grow with them.
Also, prior to making a job offer, it is highly recommended to conduct two final checks –
- Taking up references, one of which should always be a former employer and asking the right questions to get insightful answers.
- The last and arguably the most important fence to clear is cultural fit
It is the one decision where the employer needs to augment their own thoughts with the views of others. If the employer is running a ‘one-man-show’, they need to rely on someone whose thoughts align with their needs and requirements. If the employer already has a few employees, they must encourage the staff to meet the candidate and gauge their opinion, and explore discrepancies.
6 Hiring Mistakes to Avoid
- Hiring Out of Desperation
First, employer must check on the hiring motivations and make sure they are planning ahead for the staffing needs. It’s one thing to know it is time to expand the team because a busy season is coming up in a few months and, require extra support. It’s another thing to entirely realize that busy season is upon the entrepreneurs and require extra help.
- Hiring Without a Clear Job Description
The first step in hiring is that employers must prepare a clear job description that outlines what they are looking for in a new employee and what they can expect from the job. The employers will quickly find that this step has major benefits for the whole company and not limited to the new employees.
- Improvising the Hiring Process
When an entrepreneur is running a business, they always have a lot on their hands, so it’s tempting to want to rush the hiring process to get the wheels in motion. But, too many new or small businesses fall short when hiring their first few employees because they skip crucial steps in the process, like background checks, following up with references and multiple interviews. It can be annoying to follow HR protocol when the candidate feels like the right fit right away, but it’s well worth to catch bad hires before they slip through the cracks.
- Hiring a “Mini-Me” of the Business Owner
A powerful side benefit of building out a formal hiring process is that employers are more likely to hire based on talent, drive and potential and not because they see themselves in potential hires. Mostly the business owner will try and build a team of people just like himself. New hires cannot be like their employers and so they might be constantly disappointed when the staff is unable to live up to their unrealistic expectations.
- Not Hiring Enough Positions
While planning to expand the business, employers must make sure they are hiring on the number of team members they really need, not just the number they can get by with.
- Not Anticipating Churn
One thing business owner often don’t realize when they first start hiring new employees is that even high-quality new hires may decide to leave the company within a few months or years — and they shouldn’t take it personally. There is a particular mindset of the person who goes to work in a startup or rapidly-growing small company that may not work in favour of the organization.
Building a high-performing team is one of the most rewarding and tangible measures of success; it creates a win-win environment which drives the growth of individuals and the company. Although recruitment can be time consuming, it is the best time investment the business owners can make. If organizations hire the right people, most other things tend to take care of themselves.