Hiring Smart – Getting The Help You Need Now.

The Problem/Opportunity:

You’re doing everything to run your business and nothing is getting done…at least, not in a timely manner. You’re falling behind, customers are starting to complain, and you’re finally realizing that you can’t do it all yourself. Feeling overwhelmed and not able to focus on being the rainmaker for your business?

The Solution:

Hiring help to run your business is critical at this juncture, but where to start?

  • Detailed Job Tasks and Descriptions
    Before you begin hiring, write a very detailed list of tasks that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually for each role or position.  Create a detailed job description/training manual explaining the reason/purpose for the task and how to do it. And/or capture video of all tasks done on a computer (data entry, order processing, accounts reconciliation) using software such as Camtasia Studio, to have visual training guides because everyone learns differently (visual versus reading a manual). Create work flow diagrams that would give visual understanding of how a task is done. Together with a complete written set of instruction and diagram, you should almost be able to put any one in that task and get it done. That is when you know that your business process is working.
  • Hire for Experience and Character
    Depending on the job, hire for experience. If you need a bookkeeper, make sure your candidate has bookkeeping experience. This is one area that you don’t want someone learning on your dime. If you’re hiring for customer service representative, look for character and personality. How to’s can be learned on the job, and scripts can be created for this role, but you can’t teach someone to be a nice person. BUT, if I had to use, I would hire for Talent and train for skill.
  • Give Feedback
    Give praise in public and reprimand in private. Look for opportunities to point out what your new hire is doing right. When giving negative feedback, make sure it’s constructive. Ensure that your employee understands what he needs to improve upon and that he doesn’t feel like he has to figure it out on his own. Your employee is not a mind reader.
  • Fire Fast
    If an employee is not working out, let the person go right away. Don’t prolong the agony for yourself and for them. The employer/employee relationship has to make business sense. If you wait too long, you only raise false hopes and do a big disservice to both parties as resentment builds on both sides. Don’t try to find a new position for the person because it didn’t work out in the other and you feel bad. If you really want to keep someone, it should be because of their character and because they’re a good fit with the company. If you keep an hire that is not working out, you are also sending the message to your current staff that you’re willing to accept lower standards for the company, which will in turn eventually cause low morale, or worse, cause your super stars to leave your organization.
  • Always, Always Conduct a Reference Check                                                                                                     Ask former employers about the employee’s work ethic. Ask them if they would hire them again. There are  some things former employers cannot say, but asking them if they would hire them again is a yes or no question and they can answer this honestly, and without legal consequences.
  • Consistent Job Interview Questions                                                                                                                   Make sure that you apply this format with every applicant. Focus on self-appraisal questions like asking about a candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, what they like or dislike about themselves. Read a good hiring guide book, if you feel unsure about interviewing.

In The Long Run:

At first, you’re going to resist writing down the tasks checklist. You’re already thinking that you’re way too busy to do it. If you are busy now, you’re going to be even busier later on and you will not have the time to PROPERLY train new hires, which can set them up for failure. Most entrepreneurs complain that no employee can “do it as well as I do.” The more detailed a task list, the better the results.

Write a set of instructions and it will most likely get followed. Look for people that play well with others. Teamwork is essential to growing your business and you need employees that will work cooperatively with one another, and build each other’s confidence and self esteem.

NOTE: I like to interview in groups. One-on-one interviews can really eat into your already limited time. What I have done that works well is to interview a group of people and tell them about the company in one sitting. Then I tell them what I expect and what they can expect. Finally, I say, “All of you that are not sure this is the job for you, you’re welcome to leave (let them make a graceful exit). This method of screening is a great filtering method to avoid wasting time on candidates who aren’t serious about the job. I also give a short quiz during this session to see who is comfortable engaging in a group environment and who is willing to step up to the plate and put themselves on the spot.

By: Shirley Tan


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