As your small business grows hiring the right employee could be one of the most important decisions you make. Before you start posting help wanted ads though, there are a few things you should consider.
First off, take a look at your budget. It is no secret that small businesses, more specifically start-ups, have limited budgets and cash flow. If you cannot afford to bring someone on, then you simply cannot afford it. Do not make the mistake of overextending yourself, especially when financial resources are scarce.
If there is room in your budget for growth, it is a good idea to start from the top and work down. Getting your executive team in place right away will ensure some of the decision making is passed around, instead of putting it all on your own shoulders. The worst thing you can do to your young company is to assume that you can handle it all. There is just too much to be done and too little time, so make it a point to delegate from the beginning. Remember though, you need to get sales flowing in, so make sure your team is able to ship a product or service from day one.
Next, determine what your core strengths are. If your company has a great process for making widgets, you want to have the best widget makers you can afford. There is a good chance that just about everything else can and should be outsourced. This includes marketing, accounting, web design, and anything else that does not fit your core competency. A jack of all trades is a master of none, but you want to be the widget making master.
Finding the right candidate can be difficult. You want someone qualified, and preferably with related experience. What many entrepreneurs forget though is company culture and chemistry. It goes without saying that your employees should be honest, hard-working, self-motivated and resourceful. The question is, what other traits are you looking for that will build your desired culture and help facilitate good team chemistry? Without the right work environment even the most talented professionals are going to get complacent, frustrated, bored, and ultimately less productive. Finding the right fit starts with knowing what you’re looking for. It’s not a bad idea to brainstorm what the ideal employee would be like.
Once the search has officially begun, be sure to exhaust all your options in terms of getting the word out that you are hiring. Start by inquiring within your own professional network. Remember you’re looking for someone you can trust, so there is a good chance you will find them through referrals. Next, try posting on job boards. The more niche the job board, the more likely you are to get targeted results. Large recruiting sites can be very valuable, but casting a wide net will mean sorting through piles of junk resumes. There are also employment agencies out there that can help expedite your search. Again, find an agency that can get you targeted candidates.
Interviews can be equally as daunting for an employer as they are for prospective employees. The key to a successful interview is to be prepared. Decide what your goals are going in and create a list of questions that will help drive the conversation to reach that goal. You need to leave with a good sense of what this person can bring to the table. Resumes can only teach you so much about someone, so it is a good idea to focus on understanding their personality now that you have a chance to meet the candidate face to face.
When you are ready to make the final decision, do it with confidence. If you are still unsure about a potential hire, stick with your intuition and keep looking.
Jason Hipwell is Lead Project Developer at Clikzy Creative, a Washington DC based web design and development company.
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