Help Wanted: Hiring For Your Start-Up Business

By on November 6, 2018

Most start-up and small business owners seek to keep costs down by doing everything themselves: whether it’s bookkeeping, ordering inventory or supplies, or just simply running the register. This can work great for a little while, but depending on your business, you will either want or need another person on the payroll as your business grows. Picking the right person to help you succeed is as simple as following a few key guidelines.

5 Key Steps to Hire the Right Person

1. Create an Effective Job Posting

All too often, job postings either list too many requirements for the job or don’t give enough explanation of what is expected from a new hire. When you design your job posting, your first section should talk about your company in short to moderate detail, especially if your industry isn’t listed in the company name. A candidate knows what ‘A&B Electrical’ does, but doesn’t have a clue what ‘A&B Services’ actually does.

Second, talk about the position and list the job duties clearly, so a person knows what the job entails and they can see if their background matches what you expect. Then list the qualifications that you expect, but be reasonable about it.

Don’t require a current CPA license for your part-time bookkeeping job, but be sure to list it if you’re an accountant expanding your client base. Also, depending on the industry, list the salary/wages and benefits, even if it’s based on the candidate’s experience.

2. Advertise the Job in the Right Place

There are a variety of great ways to get applicants, and it just depends on the type of work you’re offering. The simplest and cheapest method is to reach out to your direct customers. This works great in retail environments, where the people coming in your door are already familiar with your business and the products you offer.

Another way to reach out is postings at local colleges, especially with programs of study similar to your business. This method is great for both the service and trade industries, whether it’s finance or plumbing. Many areas offer a wide education base, and the people coming out of these schools need experience for their careers.

Finally, one of the most common methods of reaching out today is to post on an online job board. There is a wide variety to choose from depending on the job that you want to offer, so just be sure to do a little research and pick the correct one for you. This method usually has a cost per week or per month to advertise your listing, but has the potential to reach the largest number of applicants.

3. Find out their Experience

When you receive your applications, there are a few simple areas to look for in determining the best candidate.

  • Experience in your business type. The less time that you have to spend teaching a person about how to do what you do, the more time that they’re actually producing work product for you.
  • Never discount education. A person who completed a degree has spent several years learning the ins and outs of what you do. Just because they have little experience in the area, does not mean that they aren’t capable of being a top employee. Completed degrees show an aptitude for learning that can translate to shorter training periods for you.
  • Time in previous positions. This can be a tricky one considering the current economy, but it will let you know if you need to ask certain questions in the interview process. With all of the large layoffs, hiring freezes, and restructurings that have happened over the past few years, gaps should be expected in the average worker’s resume. The biggest red flag is if they change job industries frequently, as it can show a potential lack of commitment.

4. Check Their References

Most people wait until after the interview to call references, but you can save yourself a lot of time doing interviews by checking references first. Many companies have policies about what questions that they will and will not answer to prevent lawsuits.

Confirm the candidate’s dates of employment and what their duties were. Ask if they completed their duties correctly and in a timely manner. Did they go above and beyond or show initiative? Also check to see if they are capable of being rehired for their position.

Ask open ended questions that give the person giving the reference a chance to provide examples. This also will give you the opportunity to listen for subtle word choices that show whether a reference is trying to toe the line about giving a bad reference and not get in trouble.

5. Ask the Right Questions in the Interview

For a person coming in to your interview, you want to ask three of types of questions.

  1. The first group of questions that you should ask relate to the job specifically. You should expect rehearsed answers to how their background relates to the job, as well as the more common strengths and weaknesses questions.
  2. The next group of questions should relate to the job, but require the person to think of some answers on the spot using some critical reasoning. If you’re in a specialty industry, ask about what the candidate has done for themselves in the area. Don’t be afraid of asking someone to show a skill set in the moment, especially if you expect them to work with minimal oversight from you.
  3. The last, but important group of questions relate to their personality. Ask them to talk about themselves and the things that they do for fun, just be sure to avoid any protected topic like religion, family, sexual orientation, or disabilities not related to the actual job. You want to make sure that they will get along with you and any clients or other workers that you have.

Follow Through on Helping the Right Person to Grow with You

You want the time and effort you spent hiring this person to be repaid through growth of your business reputation and bottom line. You explained everything clearly, and you think that this is the best person to help you grow to the next level. Now be sure to give the proper training, motivation, reward, and correction as needed to keep them loyal and helping you take your business to the next step in your desired path.

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