As your business grows, there’ll probably come a time when you need to employ people to work with you. You may need someone to share the workload, require skills you don’t possess yourself or generate day-to-day admin chores that you simply don’t have the time to take care of alone. Whatever the reason, you can soon get to a point when being a sole operator holds you back from winning and completing fee-earning work.
Recruiting can be daunting. Firstly, you may find it a bit of a wrench to entrust duties you’ve been doing single-handedly to someone else. Secondly, you’ll need to assure yourself that any new recruits share your ethos and standards. Thirdly, you’ll be paying a salary, so you’ll be looking for value.
The good news is there are techniques you can deploy, both before and during the recruitment process, that can help. So, here’s our five point plan for recruiting the right person:
1 – Decide what sort of person you’re looking for
What’s more important – personality, skills or experience? If your new recruit is going to be customer-facing, you may want to prioritise people skills over formal qualifications and technical skills, especially if you can train your new recruit on the job. Defining the role and the most important aspects of it will help you paint a picture of the person you’re looking for.
2 – Let it be known that you’re hiring
Use advertising, networking opportunities and your social media platforms to spread the word that you’re looking for talent. Cast as wide a net as you can (and can afford). As well as giving you the best possible long list, this should also bring in candidates from diverse backgrounds. This in turn will allow you to evaluate candidates with experience in your sector as well as those who can bring insights from other markets.
3 – Consider setting a task and scoring applicants
Depending on the role you’re recruiting for, a task may help you evaluate each candidate at the interview stage. For candidates, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate the skills they claim to have. For you, it can filter out half-hearted applicants. A score sheet, meanwhile, will help you keep the interview process consistent and free from any personal bias.
4 – Take up references
This is important. In the competitive world of job hunting, it’s not uncommon for people to overstate their accomplishments, length of tenure, job titles, even salaries in their previous roles. So, no matter how convincing your preferred candidate was at the interview, contact (with their permission), their ex-bosses to verify details such as employment dates, promotions, salaries and key achievements, etc.
5 – Make time to welcome your new recruit
It sounds obvious, but many a new starter has arrived on day one at a job with next to no form of welcome or induction. This is particularly true at small enterprises with no HR structure. Make your new recruit feel welcome and part of the business by explaining how all aspects of the company work – not just their area of concern. If your business is complex, it may also be worth producing a small handbook outlining your challenges, goals, values and opportunities.
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