Employing your first employee for your consulting business can be a frightening process. A great deal can hang on making the right decision. It’s a little bit like starting out on a marriage; making the right choice will enhance your life considerably, the wrong one could end in a messy divorce. Employment may not be quite as complex as some marriages but it is fair to say that it is, like marriage, a long term commitment and requires trust, respect, the ability to communicate without throwing crockery at each other, along with the occasional bit of compromise on both sides. Finding the perfect employee is harder than you might think but there are steps you can take to ease the courtship.
Keeping it in the Family, or Perhaps Not
Let’s start with marriage and or other personal relationships as a good source for finding staff. There are very specific problems that are encountered by those who run family businesses. In this type of company you cannot avoid taking work home with you and you will be inevitably mixing business with pleasure. The latter are well known for mixing about as well as petrol and naked flames. Family businesses can work well over time and there are some rules to employing people that apply to both those who take this route and those who search elsewhere. The first key thing to consider is should you just employ a friend or relative or should you initiate a normal interview and selection process. The latter should be your “Plan A”.
Before you begin advertising your new role you should have the following in place.
- Create a job description – this is beneficial to you and potential employees and ensures that you are clear on what and who you are looking for.
- Detail the key responsibilities and duties in a separate list. This may take the form of a bullet point list which summarise the more detailed description. It will help to establish key qualities that you are looking for.
- Consider the salary you are offering and check this is both competitive and affordable. Making promises that you cannot afford to keep will not help your business but skimping on staff costs is no better!
- When you have a list of candidates consider their CV’s carefully. Screen out unsuitable ones and try to contact the remaining candidates by phone. This may help to select the final interview list and can mean that you make the best use of your time.
- Make all things as equal as possible. Don’t rush interviews and try to allocate equal time to all candidates. Thirty minutes is a good interview length from both perspectives. Use the same questions for all candidates – this gives you a reasonable chance to compare each one. You should also ask specific questions based on the CV of each candidate.
- Hold the interviews where you will not be interrupted by the dog, the baby or the cleaning lady. Not normally a problem for medium sized businesses but this is a factor that small businesses must take seriously.
- Candidate’s attitude is the most important factor. Education, qualifications and experience count, but good attitudes are rarely picked up from training. Those who are positive, interested and express a ‘can do’ approach are often a better choice than those who have qualifications and express a ‘might do’ approach. They’re not difficult to spot!
So time for two clichés: first impression count and don’t judge a book by its cover. These both contradict each other and the best way is to take them with a third cliché, the one about the salt. Don’t make judgements on first impressions, make notes during interview, take them away and compare and contrast. A good CV (cover) is useful, but an employment history at famous firms should leave you asking why your candidate has left them. Take your time to make the decision and if necessary offer second interviews to candidates to make a final decision. A good working relationship with quality staff is a recipe for success for both parties a bad one can lead to numerous problems, including but not restricted to, a lot of smashed crockery!
Author Bio – Carlo Pandian studied Management at the University of London and blogs about hr, recruitment outsourcing and organisational psychology. Building lasting, effective working relationships with staff can help to grow your business. The first step is to select and interview candidates. For those new to the process these steps should help to find the right person to help grow your business. There are a range of online accounting systems including payroll software – which are essential to building smooth relationships once you’ve found “the one”.