You’re Hired!

When it comes to hiring employees for your business, there are some basic things you need to look for. Every business is different, so each type of business will need different types of employees. You need to make sure that the employees you decide to hire are going to work out and be a long-term fit for your organization.

While there are always exceptions to the rule, if you stick to a few simple guidelines, you should always be in the clear. Let’s start with the basics.

You need to have a consistent interview process in place: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Start by being prepared when a candidate comes in for an interview. Be sure to have your schedule cleared, in order to give them your full, undivided attention.

Also have a set of questions you ask each candidate, as well; this will ensure that you give all candidates equal chances by having them answer the same questions.

I always recommend that you never hire on a first interview. Anyone can have a great or terrible first interview, and you need to see them multiple times to look at their consistency throughout your interview process. Look for how prepared they are for the interview and what research they have done about your company beforehand.

I would also recommend that you have each candidate spend time observing your current employees with an “Observation Day.” By doing this, you will: (A.) see how your new candidate interacts with your current employees, and (B.) let the candidate experience a “day in the life.” This will help prevent a candidate resigning after only a few weeks and saying, “This is not what I was expecting.”

This also allows you to leverage your current employees and get their thoughts and feedback on the potential new employee, to ensure they will be a culture fit and gel well with your current team.

So now that you have your process in place, what do you look for?

As a small company, you may not be able to invest a lot of time and money into training, so look for candidates with prior experience.

One of the top qualities that I like to look for is leadership ability. As a small business, employees will most likely be responsible for multiple tasks and duties, and it is important that they will be mature enough to step up and handle these responsibilities.

You also want to look for patterns of success in their previous experiences and positions. This can relate to achievements in school, sports, prior positions, internships, and other activities. If they have no experience in your industry, are they going to be willing and able to learn how to be successful within your organization?

On top of all of these qualities, you also need to have a realistic understanding of how long they want to be at your company. Are they using your position as a stepping stone for their career, do they just need a job, or do they see themselves being with your company for a long time?

A good strategy is to ask a candidate where else they are interviewing. If they are interviewing at companies similar to yours, then this is an industry they are looking to make a career out of. If they are interviewing within a wide variety of industries, then the candidate is most likely just looking for a job. (Note: You can also ask them what their short- and long-term goals are, to see what career track they have in mind for themselves.)

As a small business, there are some extra precautions I would encourage you to take.

Having an employee that resigns after only a few weeks into the position or (worse) steals or damages company property can really damage a small business. Run background checks and drug screens on all your candidates. To help save you money, I would encourage you to do this only when you are ready to make an offer to a candidate, as background checks on each candidate you are interviewing can become expensive.

Also call and check a candidate’s references from previous positions and from previous managers. This will give you another inside look at the candidate.

Now that you have your interview process in place and done your due diligence on each candidate, who do you choose? Trust your gut. You are a business owner or manager for a reason, and you know what type of individual will be successful at your company.

At the end of the day, people hire people they like (assuming they are qualified for the position). You just have to do your part and bring people through the right process, and by doing so, you will be sure to hire great additions to your shop.

By William C. Stonehouse III, president of Crawford Thomas Recruiting Staffing, a full-service staffing agency.