When I set up my first company I was solely responsible for hiring the best people for my business. All too often, mistakes are made during the hiring process. With hindsight, I now realise just how important my initial employees were in helping me establish my career, hence why I think getting the right talent is the best investment a company can make.
Getting the hiring process wrong can cost a start-up money and time. Employing the wrong person and having to dismiss them is bad for staff morale. A person who is the wrong fit can ruin the productivity of a small company’s entire team. Conversely, the right person can enhance the whole team’s cooperation and cohesiveness, thereby reducing everyone’s workload and eventually increasing profitability.
Employing a person who fits well within your business is especially crucial for roles which have a customer-facing element. People with these roles become representatives of the entire business; people judge a company based on their customer experience. With the rise of social media, client-facing employees play an even greater role in the success of a company – bad reviews will spread like wildfire and can destroy a company’s reputation in minutes.
Ultimately without good staff a business will not run smoothly. Moreover, a company’s workforce is often the greatest business cost: investing time in the recruitment process will be beneficial for the performance of the company in the long term. However, in order to hire quality employees that fit well within your company, you need the right recruitment strategy.
It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate potential candidates – for example, most applicants will have a degree. It may be that one or two candidates stand out because of their experience or credentials; but these qualifications alone are not enough. A person can have a fantastic degree and a great CV but if their attitude does not align with that of the company then they will not be a good appointment. During the hiring process, always consider the following:
- Which areas of the business require new team members – hire accordingly
- Ensure your employees, as a whole, meet the company objectives. You need a variety of people with complementary skills
- Is this candidate the right fit? Are you rushing into hiring someone who is not ideal?
- Make sure that you are asking the correct interview questions for the role
- Nobody will be completely perfect, so willingness to learn is very important: people can be trained if they lack one or two specific qualities
- The right person should have passion for the brand – they must want to work for the company
- How big is the company? Small companies require generalists that will ‘muck in’. Larger organisations will offer more specific roles.
- Invest time and effort in drawing up a good job description. As a result you will attract better candidates
- Does this candidate have a personality that fits with the company culture?
- If relevant, ask the candidate to complete a tailored test or ask for samples of their work. This is most useful in creative industries
- In business terms, you are looking for a good return on investment – will you get good value from this person?
- It may be worth adding an extra step to your recruitment process: it is easy for candidates to give a false impression in an interview – a half day assessment may be much more revealing
I personally value those with a strong worth ethic, who are creative and inventive. It is really worthwhile thinking about what attributes you value and which ones will add most value to your business. Often people with similar beliefs to you, make the best employees.
Of course, having employed great talent you face the real challenge – trying to retain them!