I’ve heard this so many times…

No matter what your company’s product or service, your employees are your primary key to success. So why is the hiring of employees the last frontier for many business owners? Why do they avoid developing this critically important skill? In the end I think that the Team building process is neither neglected or avoided, it just creeps up on them. You start out on your own, then grow to 3, then 5, then 10 and before you know it you’ve got people issues. And yes you’re too busy running the business to worry about team building, recruitment or training.

On numerous occasions I have pointed out to a business owner that individual A is going to be a problem if you don’t do something soon. In some cases I’ve suggested they must go and a new employee be found, yet these warnings go unheeded and sure enough, individual A becomes a problem and starts to cost the business owner some serious Time and Money. When it comes to people, most business owners/managers hope that lady luck will be on their side and the monthly barbecue and a few beers on Friday will do the trick.


So lets start with 2 areas that you’ll need to consider when “hiring” for the best people:

1. Take the Big Picture view

When hiring new staff, the first mistake many business owners/managers make is failing to take a big picture view of their needs. The rush to fill open positions is understandable. As work quality suffers, backlogs grow, and employees feel extra pressure from working as a skeleton crew; it’s only natural to want to swing into action.

However, addressing a staffing gap is not an isolated event with only one purpose. You’re not just trying to fill a desk when you hire. You’re also looking for someone who can handle both immediate and future needs and work smoothly with the rest of the team. That takes careful planning.

Here are some things to consider:

Whats the real workload:

What staffing needs will be ongoing? Which ones will be periodic? This can help you decide which type of employee you really need – permanent, part-time or temporary – or whether you even need to hire anyone at this time.

Size up your existing staff:

What key skills does your current team have? And more importantly, what skills are they unable to provide?

Consider temporary employees:

After assessing your big picture needs, if you’re not sure whether adding a permanent position is required, fill the gap on a temporary basis first. This approach accomplishes two goals: First, it helps you address your workload peaks. Second, you can observe first hand these employees’ skills and performance as well as their potential fit for the job if it does evolve into a permanent role.

Revisit the job description:

An accurate job description can serve as a basis for your hiring criteria and help you refine your search focus. But don’t just dust off the existing job description.


Speaking of an Employment Ad, here’s the basics:

  • Title – Explains which type of professional you’re hiring. The title should be clear and descriptive.
  • Primary responsibilities – Outlines the main duties of the position.
  • Secondary responsibilities – Describes periodic, rather than daily duties (e.g., “train new staff”).
  • Core competencies – Highlights the basic skills and attributes required to perform the job.
  • Experience required – Specifies type and amount of experience.For example, does the job candidate need to be proficient with your company’s software or have a minimum number of years of experience in the field?
  • Preferred educational background – Identifies the degrees, qualifications and other certifications the ideal applicant should have.
  • Soft skills – These might include an aptitude for communicating with people of all levels and backgrounds; the ability to work well in teams; and other factors, such as a strong sense of ethics and a talent for efficient and creative problem solving.
  • Sell who you are – Explain to job candidates what makes your company special and attractive – and why they should consider working for you.

2. Finding the right people

Here are some strategies that can help:

Request referrals:

Ask for recommendations from colleagues and contacts in your professional network, as well as from family members, friends, and current and former employees. To encourage referrals from your staff, consider offering incentives to people whose recommendations result in a hire.

Be visible:

Get your company’s name out there by nominating your business for a local “Best Places to Work” list, participating actively in the community, showcasing your social responsibility initiatives, and developing other strategies to draw attention to your firm’s reputation and achievements.

Use existing employees:

Encourage internal staff to attend networking events and join professional associations. Suggest that they talk about what it’s like to work for the company. They may meet potential job seekers while helping to enhance your firm’s reputation.

Social Networking:

Online recruitment is changing fast so use networking sites like Linkedin and Facebook to tap into the job seeker market. It’s also a great way to gain information on potential employees.

Don’t forget, job seekers can also use social media to check up on You. That’s why it’s important to make sure your website is up-to-date and showcases your business in the best possible light and periodically monitor online posts about your company and do what you can to counter any negative comments you may find.

Be creative with extras:

To stand out as a prospective employer your business should offer as many popular benefits as is feasible. Beyond the standard options, attractive packages may include alternative work arrangements, performance-based bonuses, tuition reimbursement and child care referral services.

Offer competitive salaries:

To attract the most skilled professionals, you need to stay up-to-date with what other companies in your area are paying for similar work. Each year, Hays publishes a Salary Guide that provides comprehensive data on salary trends. Regularly consult these and other industry resources to ensure the compensation you offer is consistent with market trends. If you can afford it, consider offering slightly more than the going rate or, once you get to interviews, a bit more than what the applicant requests. That way a new employee will feel valued from day one.

Stay tuned for Part 2