As an entrepreneur, you’re no stranger to hard work and long hours. You’ve been wearing all the hats in building your business to this point, but now you’re thinking you need some help. It may be time to hire an employee or two so you can have some semblance of a life outside the office. Bringing employees on board entails writing a job description, searching for candidates, reviewing résumés, conducting interviews and identifying who’s a good fit with your company culture and workplace environment. Small business owners often think long and hard before they staff up. Especially after they add in the extra expense of salary and benefits along with legal and tax requirements.
When you reach the point where you can no longer keep your company running all by yourself, it may be time to hire an employee or two. Before you go through the search and screening and hiring process, see if you can solve your manpower problem with consultants and freelancers, and analyze the expense comparison between part-time versus full-time employees.
A good job description helps to sell the position to qualified candidates. At a minimum, it should contain the job title, description, duties, required skills and qualifications. It should clearly lay out compensation and benefits.
Personal referrals from friends and colleagues may be one of the best ways to find pre-vetted candidates. You can search far and wide for your ideal employee by using job boards and job search engines. If you don’t want to do the searching yourself, a professional recruiter can save time by finding qualified candidates who may not be actively reading posted job descriptions.
Screening is critical for narrowing down a flood of applicants to just a few worth interviewing. Study résumés and cover letters, conduct mini-interviews over the phone, check social networks like Facebook, and pay attention to nuances in all email communications to nail down the best candidates.
The personal interview is your chance to get a sense of the intangibles, such as passion, initiative, goals, cultural fit, attitudes, and communication skills. Do your homework on the applicant before the interview and then ask open-ended questions to encourage in-depth, meaningful answers.
Skills and experience are an important part of hiring a candidate. However, candidates should also have a good cultural and personal fit to you and your company. This will ensure they are happy and motivated to do their best work. Look for candidates who are passionate about the job and who share your values.
A résumé and interview will provide facts about a candidate, but to uncover less tangible aspects of the applicant’s performance you need to contact their former work place. Former employers and managers will not only give you an idea of their performance but also their collaborative work style. Depending on the job responsibilities, you may also want to run credit and criminal background checks.
A formal job offer is a negotiation process, so set your absolute salary and benefit limits ahead of time. Make a competitive offer that gives you room to move. Use perks that cost less than a higher salary, such as flex schedules or generous holiday time off, to sweeten your offer.