Staff are the backbone of every business – large or small. Ensuring you have the right team around you is one of the fundamentals of having a successful business.
Recruiting staff for your business can be a very daunting task, especially in a small business. There are a few key tips and tricks to ensuring you get the right hire every time.
Let’s start at the very beginning, once you’ve registered as an employer and understood employment laws it is time to establish exactly what you’re looking for. Before writing the job description, take some time to work out the three Ws; Who, What and When. Be sure to have a firm idea of your business's core values and culture as one of the primary things you'll be looking for in an employee is that they fit within those values and culture.
What exactly are you looking for?
Who is simply the type of person you want to take on, create a basic avatar of who you think will fit into your business and your business's core values and culture. Also, remember to consider what previous experience and level of expertise you’re looking for.
What is what can you afford – you may want someone with a PhD and thirty years of experience – but can you really afford it? It may be worth looking into internships and apprenticeships. Don’t forget to consider your responsibilities as an employer (pension contributions etc.) and any benefit or incentive schemes you want to offer. Also don’t forget to factor in the expense of hiring someone, job listings, advertisements etc.
When do you want them to work for you? When do you want them to start? how many hours a week do you want them for? do you want a contractor or a full employee? Make sure to think this stage through carefully as it will affect how you will go through the recruiting process.
Getting the word out there
Now that we have the type of person you’re looking for you need to write the job description – be sure to include who you are and what you do, what the new employee will be doing, what you’re looking for from them, who they will report to and some perks of working at the company. Make sure the job description is inclusive, so you eliminate the risk of discrimination or breeching diversity and equality laws.
Once written and approved advertise the job where your avatar is likely to see them. Your company’s website is a given, Social media, referrals, trade bodies and associations, local community newspapers and noticeboards, universities and job listing sites. Choose wisely, however, as many of these options incur costs.
Reviewing the applications
When reviewing applicants, ensure you speak to them on the phone and not judge based on the CV, explain your business to them and see what they have to offer. Use these phone calls to whittle down your choice of candidates to around five different candidates. Before inviting anybody into the office in sure to check all relevant information about them, read through their CV and previous experience and make sure to prepare what questions you’re going to ask them in the interview.
When interviewing the candidate, it is important to know what you can and cannot say, be honest and open in the interview and ensure they feel comfortable rather than scared or nervous. If your job requires certain skills, you can test those skills through skills-based assessments. This can be an interview where candidates answer a set of technical questions, a written exam, a test project, or a series of short tasks in a work environment. Make sure assessments don’t take too much time and aren’t too intense only evaluate a candidate’s ability to do the necessary tasks for the job. Be sure to ask more than just work-related questions, be sure to ask personality and situational-based questions too. Many businesses will invite candidates to two interviews, the first to assess their personality and the second to see their technical ability and suitability for the job.
Narrowing down the options
When choosing between the candidates be sure to follow these three key points:
- Try to be as fair and objective as possible in your decisions.
- Challenge any implicit or unconscious bias you have by pushing for diversity. Different perspectives encourage creativity and innovation and help you find the best solution to a problem.
- If you have other people within your business – present redacted information to them. They won’t have any bias and will help you choose to base on facts rather than feelings. Feelings are important but be sure the facts are straight first.
Be sure to check the candidate's references and raise any concerns with them too – they will know the candidate and will be able to shed further light on the candidate’s situation.
Offering the job is the next big step, ensure your employment arrangement contains: the employer name, employee name, job description, hours and place of work, pay, whether employment is casual, fixed-term, full-time, part-time, or permanent, start date (and end date for fixed-term employment), entitlements such as leave and holidays, holiday work pay, and more. Only then can you make a formal offer. Ensure you do this in writing and ensure you send the employment arrangement alongside this. They may not accept straight away, give them a few days to digest the news and the offer before chasing up. They may wish to negotiate a few changes with you – if this is the case ensure they’re in writing and sent to the candidate to ensure you’re both on the same page.
Next, check your employer's responsibilities which are, in a nutshell: acting in good faith, paying on time, monitoring health and safety, protecting employee privacy and knowing the details of leave entitlements – more details are available here
The next steps...
Now it’s time to arrange contracts, start dates and onboarding – but we will cover that more in a later blog.