Having a weak or poorly assembled team is one of the factors that contribute to the failure of many new businesses. Due to limited resources, new business owners tend to hire relatives, friends or inexperienced individuals who can fit within their budget. This eventually results in inefficiency, ineffectiveness, low productivity levels and eventually the demise of many-a-small business. The following article outlines how business owners and managers can recruit the best individuals. This is a process which should start with an honest internal assessment and then followed by careful planning, selection, monitoring and evaluation.
Assessing the need
In most cases, the founders of new businesses wear multiple hats. They play the role of the developer, accountant, marketer and so on. As the business grows, the entrepreneur(s) find themselves overburdened and needing additional help. At times it might call on hiring a freelancer, a part time individual or getting a full time employee. While some business owners get excited about the prospect of growing their workforce and hiring their first employee, this might not always be what the business requires. The entrepreneur first needs to determine all the tasks to be performed and the amount of work that needs to be done. This involves.
A. Listing all tasks that are performed within the business.
B. Noting the frequency of each task. Is it performed daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly?
C. Grouping all those tasks into smaller related groups and categories.
D. Finding out which tasks the business owner can do
E. Determining whether the remaining tasks require a freelancer, part timer or full time employee.
F. Understanding the implications of hiring new employees on the company’s costs and profit.
Writing a job description
The second key step is outlining the tasks to be performed at each position by the individual who will take up the set role. This step also involves determining key competencies and abilities that are essential to performing these tasks exceptionally. Should the person have impeccable technical skills, a great understanding of numbers or simply a pleasant personality? The entrepreneur will also need to align the requirements of the role with the overall vision of the company. Are you trying to build an organisation whose focus is excellent customer service or provision of a great product? If your goal is customer service excellence then you will be required to choose individuals that are friendly, well mannered, competent and presentable. If your focus is exceptional products then your focus should be on the individual’s skill level and expertise. Choosing unqualified individuals will have adverse effects on the success of your organisation and could cost you dearly.
Advertising the post and hiring
The third major step is to actively seek and find the right candidate for your organisation. You could advertise in the local newspaper, social media, through acquaintances and even your own website. This might require the help of a legal expert to draft adverts that are in compliance with the laws of the land. It is also important to be sensitive about the community’s needs. Where possible, get locals. You will also need to present your business in a manner that will make it attractive to potential employees. This might also mean getting a great graphic designer to design beautiful flyers. You want to attract the best and it is important to also highlight the potential of your company even in your recruitment. Do not be apologetic about your company’s size.
Once you have a significant pool of resumès you can then create a shortlist of candidates and schedule interviews. If you have partners then you can form a panel with them. If you are working on your own, you might need to call on a trusted friend or advisor to help you conduct the initial interviews. Having a second or third opinion will give you a more objective view and free you from personal bias. Also remember that most people tend to present their best self during interviews. They will give you well rehearsed answers and in a lot of cases, they will even lie about their abilities. It is therefore important to ask as many questions as you can. This calls for a lot of planning. In some cases, you might even be required to do a second set of interviews in a different setting or environment. This could be over a cup of coffee at a local restaurant or with the candidate’s friends. Be as thorough as you can be…. and if you cannot find a suitable candidate, then repeat the process and cast your net wider. Do not settle.
Common mistakes to avoid when choosing candidates
• Do not be pressured into choosing family where inappropriate
• Do not be intimidated by smarter more experienced candidates
• Go beyond academic qualifications. Someone might be qualified for the position but may lack people skills or a pleasant personality.
• Call the references given on their CV and get some more detailed knowledge about the individual.
• You are the boss. Running a successful business calls for you to be in control. Your brother in law or mother in law might not be the ideal person to have as a subordinate. Just saying….
• Be fair. Provide equal opportunities and avoid discrimination of any form. If the task permits, include disabled individuals.
Come to an agreement/Contract
Once you have chosen a suitable candidate the next step is to come to an agreement with them. Before anything, you will need to prepare a brief presentation about your organisation, it’s vision, objectives as well as any other relevant information. This is often overlooked in new businesses but levelling of expectations could help prevent disputes and frustration in the future. It provides clarity to the employee and helps them identify their role within your organisation. You will also need to discuss how the employee will be paid. Will it be based on performance or an industry standard? After you have come to an agreement, you can then formalize the relationship with an employment contract. The contract should outline:
• expectations from the employee with regard to performance and discipline
• leave days
• dispute resolution
• If your business handles sensitive information and data, the contract should also include a confidentiality clause as well as a non compete clause.
For a more detailed guide on what to include in your employment contract please check out this article here.
I hope you found this article very helpful and I can’t wait to watch you build a great team.