Do you know what’s the second biggest problem I see among the small business owners I work with?
Give up? (Tut-tut! You give up too easily…)
It’s failing to “hire right”.
Of course you want to know what’s the biggest one. I can’t wait to tell you.
It’s using a bad approach to fire an employee you didn’t use a good method to hire in the first place.
You simply would not believe how often this happens and you would not believe how preventable it is either.
According to Bloomberg writer Karen Klein bad hires are costly, and they can sidetrack your company’s growth.
I know I wrote on this before but it keeps coming back so in this post I really want to give you some specific strategies you can apply the next time you hire.
If you learn how to hire an employee using a foolproof method, then you increase your chances of not even having to fire that employee at all, far less using an approach that could land you in court.
I bet your big question now is “Where do I begin when I want to hire right?”
Not bad. But a much better question is “When do I begin learning how to hire right?”
It's the best time for you not only because I'm about to show you how, but you can implement the strategies BEFORE you hire your next employee. How cool is that?
If you use the 8 strategies I will share below, I guarantee you that you will hire right 87% of the time and you won’t have to fire in frustration and even anger, one single time.
Can that work for you? Here they are:
Strategy #1 - Acknowledge that size does matter
I know you know that all businesses are NOT created equal.
But did you know that approaches, strategies and systems that work for big business or corporations will not always work for your small business?
This is even truer when you are hiring.
Big businesses will have a single department, sometimes bigger than your whole business, responsible for hiring the right people for their businesses.
Before you allow your little heart to bleed with envy, they often end up with misfits but they have the money to throw them out and start over.
They also have budget sizes that you don’t, a selection pool that is bigger than yours and they can offer attractive salaries and enticing perks that you can’t.
You, on the other hand, depend on getting the word out among family and friends that you’re looking for (SWS) Super Woman Sister or (SMB) Super Man’s Brother to help you grow your business.
At the end of the day, this person will end up working closely with you because of the sheer smallness of your business.
So hire right the first time. It's even more important to you.
Strategy #2 - Dust off your business model and link it to your HR needs
Your business model is simply how you plan to make money with your business idea.
So if your business idea is to deliver business training to high-end businesses, in deciding how to make money with that idea, you should ask yourself questions like:
- How will I find, attract and keep customers
- How will I design and deliver that training
- What customer service delivery model will I use
- Will my clients come to me or will I go to them?
- What payments methods will I use?
The answers to these questions should make you ask, “who can I really hire to help me deliver on my idea?”
In that moment you’re linking your business model to your HR needs.
For example, since your clients are high-end, you will need employees who are comfortable in high-end surroundings, have high levels of self-confidence and strong interpersonal skills.
Strategy # 3 - Describe the job you want done
I have heard it and I know you have heard it.
If you want to bring clarity to a goal or a desire – write it down. So write down a description for the job you want done.
Now look…the title of the job (e.g. Factory Supervisor) is not a description of the job!
Yes, you need a title but you also need a general description or summary of the job.
Example: The Factory Supervisor (FS) supervises and coordinates the activities of employees engaged in sewing, embroidering, pressing, etc of garments in the factory”
Also, list the essential job functions first and then list any additional related functions that you would want the employee to perform.
List the essential requirements or qualification of the job. These are those non-negotiable requirements that will be the be basis of your hiring decisions.
Then identify a few additional requirements that it would be nice to have. These will also help when two candidate meet the essential requirements.
Strategy # 4 - Describe the person you want to hire - but be flexible!
As part of the job description, write a description of the type of person you would want to fill that job. This is called a person specification.
This is not a physical description of the person or nothing to do with the fact that you love to dance. You are not looking for a lover. (at least not now!)
What you are describing is some of the attributes which are important to you in a person you are going to be working with.
For example, I like people who are punctual, who can and are willing to take the initiative and who can work as part of a team, when necessary.
This aspect of the “how to hire right” process is very important to me because I tend to hire for personality and train for skill.
So, what if you attract a person who has some skills which you did not specify as needed for the job but you would love to have in your business?
You are small enough to be flexible...
Go back to the drawing board and come up with a new job that can use these skills and make the person an offer.
Now you know why small is beautiful…
Strategy # 5 - Discover for yourself if you’re a good boss
Perhaps this one caught you on the back foot, to use a Caribbean cricketing term.
You see, hiring right is like a good marriage. For it to work, there must be honest and careful disclosure by all the parties involved.
If you hire a good employee to work for a bad boss, just like a marriage, it will be hot at first but eventually it could end in a bitter separation.
In assessing yourself, either get professional help or use a colleague whose judgments and opinions you trust.
Strategy # 6 - Use a good tool to separate the sheep from the goat
Depending on the state of the economy and or the way you announce your vacancy, you can attract scores of applications.
A big business may have the resources to review loads of CVs which can differ in style, content and presentation. You, the CEO as in Chief Everything Officer, may be the only person available to review these in your business.
That being the case, an application form is your best tool to ensure that there is uniformity in information coming from each applicant. In this way, you have a method to quickly decide who stand a chance and who do not. In other words, to separate the sheep from the goat.
The application form has other good uses too.
If you have a business (usually in retail) where there are a number of walk-in job seekers, having them complete an application form is kinder than just turning them away.
Keeping these application forms create a nice data bank that you can search when you need to find an employee quickly. This lets you hire right, even under pressure.
Strategy # 7 - Shamelessly exploit your sources of potential employees
Depending on the nature of your business, the sources of your potential employees will be varied and many.
They will include friends, family, colleagues, existing employees and the wider job market in your particular industry.
The wider job market in your particular industry is a source of rich opportunities and at the same time, vexing threats.
If you can find a way to exploit both the opportunities and the threats, you place yourself at the top of the hiring game and signal to the world that you know how to hire right.
I know...because I did it.
I once had a small business in the retail sector and my main source of recruitment was from among young women between the ages of 18 – 25.
No problem. Or so I thought.
After a while, I discovered that about 25% of this sector was likely to have a boyfriend or husband who was in prison, even if only for a short time.
I weighed up the cost and benefits of finding a good employee from this pool and decided I will not let this deter me.
I shamelessly went ahead and hired from among them but scheduled days off as required, to coincide with prison visits.
Naturally, I became the employer to work for.
A good understanding of where your employees can come from gives you a distinct advantage in the process as you hire right.
Strategy # 8 - If you can’t pull off "hiring right"…Get help
Interviewing is undoubtedly an important part of the hiring process. It is the method by which you decide on the suitability of a candidate.
Getting the interviewing wrong can saddle you with the wrong candidate or worse, cause you to miss out on a good one.
Before you start interviewing you need to be very sure what you are looking for and how you will determine that a candidate has it. This is why having a job description and a person specification is so important.
Then you need to develop a set of questions you will ask each candidate so that you can have some objective criteria at least as a starting point.
Asking the right questions is important but so is asking them right.
For example, inexperienced interviewers might ask a candidate “which religion are you?” when they really want to find out “are you available to work all the business’ opening hours?”
That’s why it’s so important to learn how to interview as part of your goal to hire right – even before you start to hire.
It’s better to outsource interviewing to a professional, especially if the job is important, than to botch the process yourself.
Just remember that when you outsource, reserve the right to make the final hiring decision. After all, you will be making the final firing decision.
It's time to hire right!
Be honest with me now...when you think of business success, hiring is way down your bucket list.
But when things begin to go wrong, the first thing you want to do is fire faster than a shot out of a gun!
The problem is, firing like this, will get you in as much trouble as when a shot from a gun finds the wrong target.
So you must get your employee selection right.
Take these 8 strategies and print them out. Study them, especially #5. Add them to your other business solutions. Make it your goal to be able to hire the employees you want for your business.
The wonderful thing about these strategies is that you can put them in place BEFORE you hire your next employee!
Now take a deep breath and tell yourself:
It’s time to hire right...so get right to it!