Part 1 of a 4 part series
Hiring employees is a process crucial to the success of a business, and as most successful small business owners know, the hiring process does not begin with the interview and end with the job offer. Rather, it involves planning and considering the job prior to an interview, recruiting and interviewing wisely to bring in the right person, and providing new workers with an orientation that enables them to get off to a strong start with the company.
WHEN AND WHO TO HIRE:
Prior to advertising a position, interviewing, or making a selection, the manager must consider several key aspects of the open position and the person they will seek to fill that staff opening.
CONSIDER THE JOB:
Any employee selection process must take place within the context of the larger business enterprise. An open position is an invitation to make positive changes in workforce structure. Does the job need to be created or filled? Does it need to be reorganized? These are questions that should be considered before beginning the hiring process.
First, consider the position itself. Prior to the employee hiring process, business owners must determine what tasks need to be addressed by the work force, and gauge how many people will be needed to accomplish that task. Consider the ideal functions and responsibilities of the job itself, not the person or persons who last held the position. At this point, it is beneficial to compose a job description and a job specification. The job description lists the duties and responsibilities of the job, and can include a ranking of the importance of each of these tasks. A job specification includes a listing of critical skills—those skills that are necessary for an individual to perform the job effectively. The job description and specification are tools which can not only aid the employer in finding the appropriate person to fill a job opening, but can also help guide the employee during his or her time with the business.
If the job exists and has been adequately defined, there is still opportunity to make changes to the position. Consider whether the position needs to be restructured. Are you asking that the job encompass too much responsibility? Are you asking too little? Small business owners might also want to consider whether the tasks associated with a position can be incorporated into one or more already existing positions. Often, it is not necessary to hire another employee, but only to re-evaluate present positions and re-design the work flow.
CONSIDER THE CANDIDATE:
After making sure that the position is thoroughly defined, consider the person that you want to fill the position. What skills, knowledge base, and personal traits will allow someone to successfully perform these tasks? Should the candidate have an advanced degree? What kind of personality would compliment the team? By consulting the critical skills in the job description, the manager will be able to get a solid idea of the type of candidate who will be most likely to successfully meet the challenges of the position.
A hiring manager should be careful, however, that they not become unduly idealistic in determining employment criteria. Few small businesses have the luxury of biding their time until the perfect prospective employee comes along. A would-be employee may not embody every single desirable trait on a business owner’s wish list, yet still provide a fundamentally sound performance. Ultimately, each business owner needs to determine for him or herself whether a prospect’s positives are sufficient to outweigh any negatives (in lack of experience, personality, or training) that they may carry with them.