As a small business owner, your biggest investment will be your staff. How you hire, who you hire, and when you hire, will have the biggest – positive or negative – effect on getting your business to the next level or not. On The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield, Pavlo Phitidis outlined his approach to getting recruitment right:
Hiring people is an essential component of business growth. Without people, you don’t have a business. You have a job – that’s you doing it all, all the time.
Hiring people should be done to free your time from the tasks that consuming your time the most and that are teachable. The free time should see you move onto the next set of activities to build or grow your business. This is possible because you now have the time to do this. But only if that hire sees the right person coming on board doing the right thing at the right time. If not, you get drawn back into the time-consuming tasks you hoped to free yourself from and carry a higher cost of an unproductive hanger-on.
Some business owners hire people to save them or the business. They believe that the hire has the skills or insight needed to ‘fix’ the problem that they think is holding the business back. Getting this right is a relief. Mostly, however, it is a disappointment and an expensive one at that.
Because both hiring motivations are right, getting it right is vital making hiring a key competence of a business owner.
Effective recruitment begins long before you begin advertising to fill a vacancy. Building a detailed job specification is just the start of the process. Your job specification should include: activities that you can to train someone to perform; activities that integrate with all the other activities that enable you to deliver a defined customer experience and, activities that are measurable. When drafting your job specification, think deeply about what your ideal candidates would be like – their background, demographics, skill sets, and attitudes.
Once you’ve drafted the job specification and designed the salary package you’re ready to offer to the right candidate, it’s time to advertise the offer. Ask interested candidates to include a covering letter and CV. Including a list of requirements for the application process is an initial test of your potential candidates; if they’ve read your advertisement, engaged with the content, and supplied you with everything required, they’ve proven that they can attentively follow instructions. Anyone who doesn’t follow the somewhat simple requirements listed in your advertisement, can be immediately removed from your list of applications received.
From all the applications, create your first shortlist of candidates that best fit your job specification. Select only those who have followed your instructions and shown an aptitude for the type of business you run. Ignore the lists of achievements on their CV and look more towards their attitude and practical abilities.
Then, invite your top 20 candidates to a briefing session. Prepare and share a presentation about your business, the job opportunity you’re offering, and the performance requirements. Invite questions and take note of the content of those questions, who asked them and their responses. That will give you great insight into the people on your shortlist and enable you to shortlist even further.
After your presentation and Q&A session, ask your candidates to complete an application form for the job opportunity. Within this customised application form, be sure to ask questions that will help you to test understanding, temperament, skills and character. This application form process will help you to assess how your 20 candidates processed the information you shared with them, responded to it, and then communicate around it.
From the applications that you received, select your top 5 candidates and invite them to individually pitch for the job opportunity. Look for who has thought through the opportunity best and has you and your business in mind rather than what they want. You want a hungry, passionate person who believes in the business and wants to be part of its future. From the pitches, select your top 2 candidates, and then conduct in-depth interviews with them. That’ll help you to assess and decide who your ideal staff member will be.
Measuring individual performance is imperative, as you build your business. Before you and your new hire commit to long-term employment within your business, implement a 3-month probation period, during which you’ll be able to assess their performance, and they’ll be able to assess how well they fit within your business.
Use your internal systems to measure performance and provide support to your new hire, as they settle into being part of how you build your business. All through the probation period, assess their performance and build their capacity and capability to perform at the job. If they hit the performance metrics during the probation period and get on with your team and culture, you probably have your winner!
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