August 12, 2019

The ultimate guide to hiring employees (Part one)

How would you rate your hiring skills? Many small business owners give significant thought to who it might be that can help drive business professionally and creatively. However, they can give little thought to the technicalities of actually employing staff – including making sure they’re employed correctly, managed effectively and if required, terminations take place correction. With that in mind, here is part one of my two-part guide to making sure you get the fundamentals of human resources right when it comes to hiring in small business, even when you may not have a specialist HR function.

There are some important factors you’ll need to get when it comes to hiring a new employee including:

1. Recruiting a new staff member

Generally, there are two aspects to this – attracting the attention of the right people and reviewing their applications to make sure they have the right temperament, skillset and outlook your business needs.

The job advertisement:

For me, the first step comes down nailing your job advertisement. Here, I always advise:

– Stating your top three selling points – consider why someone would want to work for you and get this down succinctly and powerfully.
– Keeping your company details short and sharp – don’t try to cram in every single detail of your business, refer them to your website instead.
– Outlining the specific duties – this isn’t a time to be vague or elusive. If you expect someone to do a lot of admin, tell them that upfront.
– Using bullet points – see how much information can be conveyed quickly when you do?
– Making the application process seamless – the more hoops, the fewer people will jump through them.
– Using action words – compel people to act now.

Hot Tip: Always advertise on Monday, not a Friday – that’s when people are most likely to think about leaving their current role.

When the applications and CVs start to come in, it can seem a little overwhelming. Here I recommend:

– Looking at the way it’s presented – remember it’s not the only thing.
– Drilling down to the experience – if you’re going to spend a lot of time anywhere on CVs, make it here.
– Picking up the phone – if anyone piques your interest, jump on the phone and do a quick interview. Always clarify location and salary expectations and ask them about any notice period they’d need to give their current employer.
– Emailing any interview details – let them know in writing so that there’s no ambiguity.

2. Interviewing properly

The next step is interviewing the candidates – this is your chance to engage with them, sell your business and culture and start to get a sense if they’re going to be right for your organisation. After all, good candidates need a reason to work for you.

However, there are certain things you should be doing in the interview process that can give you a better idea of picking the right candidate. For example, ask the right questions – most employers fail at this stage because the interview becomes just another ‘meet and greet’. Instead, focus on getting to the bottom of four key areas:

– Work history – find out what they’ve achieved and why they want to move on.
– Aspirations – it’s vital you know that they’re outlook is compatible with yours.
– Key skills and attributes – get them to explain why they’re suited to the role and your business.
– Behavioural-based questions – how do they react in certain situations, what makes them tick and what’s their working style like?

I also suggest using a structured interview guide. This should include:

– A welcome – thank them for coming, introduce yourself and your business and tell them why they’re here.
– Asking every question – avoid skipping questions if you’re pressed for time.
– Giving them the chance to ask questions – find out how curious they are about what their role might entail and where their career might lead.
– Keeping it clean – avoid talking about the candidate’s personal life and never ask questions about age, disability, religion or intentions when it comes to children.
– Closing the interview – tell them the next steps and what they should expect from you.

3. Interview warnings – the 411

When you interview candidates, don’t fall into these common traps as many employers do:

– Talking too much – you’re here to find out about them, so let the candidate do the majority of the talking.
– Making a decision too early – it’s a big call, so take plenty of time to go through all prospective candidates.
– Asking leading questions – let the candidate explain don’t give them the answer you want to hear.
– Use a stress interview – don’t try to forcefully fluster someone as you’ll come off looking worse for it, not them.
– Failing to call referees – these are possibly your most valuable point of information after the interviewing process, so use them wisely.

Your goal should be to make everyone you interview, ultimately want to join your business regardless of whether they’re appropriate. If you make the interview experience enjoyable for everyone, and they’ll be brand advocates for you and your organisation – trust me!

I’ll be releasing part two of my ultimate guide to hiring in the next week or so. If you have any questions regarding the hiring process or might be ready to consider outsourcing your organisation’s recruitment, then speak with me today.

say hi to our author

Merilyn founded Catalina Consultants in 2012 on the belief that all organisations, regardless of size, should have access to top quality bespoke HR services. She enjoys working closely with her clients and believes that the best results are built on relationships of rapport, trust and authenticity. Growing up, Merilyn had her sight set on stardom and dreamed of becoming an actor. She also sang and played the piano, but ended up studying accounting and HR. Whilst she hasn’t won her Grammy just yet, she still loves a good karaoke night. Merilyn loves to travel with her family, with South Africa being one of her most memorable destinations.

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