Tips for Businesses on How to Hire Staff


How to Identify When You Need to Hire New People

Hiring staff is a tricky business. While no organisation wants to over-hire, if business owners wait too long to recruit, the simple truth is that opportunities for growth will be missed. With a larger number of employees, your business has added strength, and a greater capacity to take on more orders, rebound from setbacks, and reach new clients. Equally, the more people you interview and hire, the more adept you become at it: you understand the jobs markets; you know where to advertise, which pools to search to find potential employees, and how to spot the “red flags” that mean someone likely isn’t what you are looking for.

Temporary Staff Can Sometimes Fit the Bill

While investing in your employees makes sound business sense, if you’re not sure what the future holds for the company, or you foresee a greater short-term need for staff (for example to cover the Christmas period, the summer holidays, a maternity leave, long term sickness absence, etc.) then hiring temporary staff can give you the flexibility that you require. While you will not be obligated to hire someone permanently, if a temp worker impresses, you will be able to hire them permanently if there is the need in the business.

Growing the Company from Within

Sometimes the best new hires actually come from within the company. While fresh blood can invigorate a flagging business, promoting members of your existing team is often a great idea. If someone who has already proven their ability to work well within the company and fit within the culture seems up to the job, then promotion will benefit you as the business owner. Hiring new people is always a risk- and a costly one if you don’t get it right. By promoting from within, you can boost morale, improve employee retention rates, and continue to exploit your existing employees’ skills. That way, new positions will open up at entry level, where naturally new hires are a slightly less risky proposition. By keeping existing employees on-board, they can help with the recruitment process, as well as showing new junior-level employees the ropes.

Taking Responsibility as an Employer

Entrepreneur and Forbes contributor Alan Hall writes that, of the employees that he has had to dismiss over the course of his career, he was the one in the wrong. Those he dismissed were “good people”, he writes- it was actually he who messed up the hiring process. Hall has come up with a list of “7 Cs” -a checklist to help employers find the right people- and emphasises “Compatibility”. No matter how academically qualified, experienced, smart, and successful a person may be, if you have an idea that the candidate may not fit in with their would-be colleagues, gel with the clients, or indeed work harmoniously with you, then there is going to be a big problem pretty quickly. Hall also speaks of “Culture” and “Character”, which perhaps amount to the same thing. In order to work well together, as in romantic partnerships, it helps to have common values- and a few soft skills, such as being able to get along easily with others on the office, go a long way too.

Taking responsibility as an employer also means investing a lot of energy in the hiring process- rather than posting a standard-format job description, try and tailor your ad so that it really captures something of the flavor of your company. Say what skills and values are important to you: be upfront about it- say exactly what your business is looking for, and make sure you return to the specifics of the topic when you get people in for interviews.

Avoiding Costly Hiring Mistakes

According to employment giant Monster, making the wrong decision when hiring a new employee can cost you between three and five times their annual salary. Clearly, this is a situation to be avoided if at all possible. Monster recommend doing the hiring process properly: rather than hiring the first person you see for a position, even if you really like them, you should commit to seeing at least two other candidates- some large companies recruiting at higher levels interview as many as ten or fifteen people before making a decision. Essentially, the more people you see, the better your chance of making a dispassionate choice that’s best for your business.

Trusting Your Instinct

There’s a lot to be said for this. While as a society we seek to disregard trusting our instincts- we speak of “feminine intuition”, and we don’t take it especially seriously- and while it’s definitely not being suggested here that you should cut corners when it comes to due diligence, sometimes your gut instinct really is the best guide. Kate Harrison, also of Forbes, suggests speaking to former associates, friends, and even family members of a potential employee in addition to conventional referencing, but even if everything you hear seems positive, if you’re still unsure, maybe you should pause.

If something about your potential new hire seems a little “off”: perhaps they are evasive, don’t meet your eye, or otherwise give you the creeps in a way you’re not sure you can rationally explain, it’s probably better to hire someone else, even if that person has the most impressive CV of them all. 

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