Hiring employees is a big step for a small business. Employees represent a significant financial commitment for a small enterprise. The effects of a personality clash between a new employee and the business owner or co-workers can also cause considerable disruption to a small team.
However, if you want your business to grow, you will need to recruit a team at some point. It would be unwise to rush into the recruitment process without considering all the potential ramifications. And in order to get things done, you also need to know how best to manage great interviews to get the right person.
Here are ten things you need to think hard about before you hire an employee for your small business.
- Are You Hiring for the Right Reasons?
Small businesses cannot afford to carry passengers. So, there must be a valid business case for the hiring of every employee. A new staff member might contribute directly to the bottom line, or you may need an employee to improve administrative efficiency. It could also be that you want to hire someone to bring further expertise to the business. Whatever the role, though, a new employee should provide significant gains for a small business.
- Can You Afford Employees?
Consider both the short and long-term implications of taking on staff before you commit to hiring. Avoid hiring in haste merely because you have experienced a few busy months. Consider, too, how seasonal fluctuations may affect your ability to pay employees. You can, of course, fire employees if times get tough. However, if you hire and fire workers too often, you will waste a lot of time. Your business could also get a bad reputation, which will impact your ability to recruit in the future.
- Is There an Alternative Solution?
Have you considered all the alternatives to hiring a full-time employee? You could, for example, hire a freelancer to help you cover a peak period of demand. You can also outsource tasks like bookkeeping, data entry, and clerical work. Outsourcing offers much more flexibility, because you only pay for the time that you use and you do not need to make any long-term commitment to freelancers.
- Have You Discussed the Appointment with the Existing Team?
If you already have some employees working for you, it would be good to discuss the new appointment with them before you go ahead. Involving the existing team in the recruitment process will help integrate the additional staff member into the team. You may also find that your current employees have other ideas about the need for the new role. For example, an existing employee might have the skills and the capacity to complete the tasks you believed you would need to hire a new employee to cover.
- How Will You Manage Your New Team?
Employees need management. Consider who your new employee will report to and who will be responsible for managing their day-to-day tasks. If you are responsible for managing the new staff member, you will need to ensure that you can devote adequate time to the task. Remember, too, that the new team member will need training, which can take up a lot of time.
- Have You Properly Defined the Role?
Roles within a small business do need to be somewhat fluid. To some extent, workers in small businesses need to be willing to put their hands to whatever needs doing. However, it would still be better to have a clearly defined job description for a new employee. You can always include a phrase like “ad-hoc duties as required” if needed. A job description will help you define the type of person you wish to employ and attract suitable candidates.
- Have You Identified the Type of Person You Need?
The job description will have helped you identify the skills that you need. Even so, personality is also crucial when you are hiring for a small business. Working for a small business is quite different from working for a big corporation. A small business working environment is usually less formal, and workers will often need to work unsupervised. If you take a look at sample resumes, you’ll see how a “piece of paper” can help you identify the right person you need. As already mentioned, job descriptions may also be more fluid. In other words, working for a small business is not something that will suit everyone. When you are interviewing candidates, you will need to decide how well the individual will fit the small business culture.
- How Will You Attract the Best Candidates?
Undoubtedly, there will be some talented people who will not want to work for a small company. But don’t be disillusioned, because you can offer the right candidate opportunities that a big corporation cannot. Put together a package of benefits that you can sell to prospective employees. You could offer flexible working, training, profit-sharing, and possibly even the prospect of equity sharing. The chance of being a part of a dynamic, fast-growing business will also be appealing to some people.
- How Will You Shortlist Candidates?
Recruiting employees can be time-consuming. So, it would be wise to plan the recruitment process and decide how you will shortlist candidates. You might also want to consider hiring a recruitment consultant to help you with your recruitment campaign. Remember, though, to be courteous when you reject candidates, and don’t forget to thank them for their time and effort. If your preferred candidate doesn’t work out, you may have to go back to your second or third choice.
- Do You Have a Plan B?
When you hire an employee for a small business, you must be 100% certain that the individual is a good fit for the role. So, don’t rush the process, and don’t settle for second best merely to fill the vacancy. A p If needed, it would be better to have a plan B to fill the vacancy while continuing your search for the right individual. You could outsource the job, for example, or employ a temporary worker.
The crucial takeaway from the above considerations is that you should not rush into recruiting employees for a small business. The impact on a small enterprise of a wrong recruiting decision will be far more wide-reaching than it would be for a major employer. So, think first if you need a full-time employee or if there is maybe an alternative solution, and then be very deliberate in your choice of a new member of your team.