Hi there readers!
We often get emailed with people asking about the best way to employ new staff, and avoid the common pitfalls! It’s a tricky subject, however with the right advice, you can navigate it and come out with a winner. Here’s our advice:
- Make sure you know exactly what you want first. Many small business owners will know they need some help, but not what they actually want the person to do – they just expect to hire mini version of themselves, who will do whatever is asked of them. This can be problematic for both parties though, as it is unclear what is expected. The best thing to do is to sit down and make a list – start broad, and become more specific, around the tasks and general deliverables you will want from the new staff member. It may be worth while to jot a quick development plan too, to show how they get trained up over time and what they will progress from and to. Nothing too formal, but just along the lines of “0-6 months, learn the general business and take over management of invoices and payments. 6-12 months, learn the accounting procedures and become in charge of that”.
- Decide what type of person you are looking for. Have an idea in mind of they type of person you want to employ. Are you looking for someone who is young and can be moulded into the employee you want, or are you after a seasoned professional who can come in and do a job without your help? This will enable you as a small business owner to ensure you are getting the right fit, and narrow your candidate list down when it comes to interviews. You should also consider the fact you can be too specific – don’t rule out someone who looks good just because they aren’t an exact fit on your initial thoughts!
- Consider your budget. This is closely linked with number 2, as if you are after a seasoned professional, you need to check the latest salaries on offer in the market to ensure you get a decent employee. If you don’t have a great budget, why not consider employing an apprentice? They are cheap, young, and tend to stick around for many years if treated well and trained up properly in your career. We recently had help taking on an apprentice from the National Academy of Excellence (who are also based in the North-West). They managed to secure us government funding and we can honestly say our apprentice is one of the best we ever employed!
- Do the interview with a panel. Even if you have to ask a friend or family member, make sure you have at least 1 other view on the candidate. Sometimes we can miss or misinterpret things, and we need someone else to bounce an opinion off. This is important, as it also puts you in control if you get nervous, as you feel backed up and that you can really delve into an area if you feel it necessary.
- Follow up references. A lot of small business owners will take a reference, but then not bother to chase it up as they ‘trust’ their chosen employee and just want to get started – but this can be a huge mistake! Always chase the references up to ensure there is nothing hidden that you need to be aware of. It gives you peace of mind and assures you further you made the right choice.
- Develop your staff member. When in a small business environment, we can often suffer from being reactive, instead of proactive. However, we will most likely get a high turnover of staff if we do this, so take the time out to ensure you have a training plan in place, and perhaps enquire into an NVQ (you can get funding for these so it’s free a lot of the time!).
Hopefully these tips cover the main areas to ensure you get a great candidate. There are many more things to look out for, but f you follow these main points, you’ll be well on your way to employing someone who gives back far more than it costs you!