As your business grows from being a one-man show to a fully functional company, one of the biggest challenges you may face is recruiting manpower. For the vast majority of businesses, its people are its most valuable asset. So how do you go about assembling a team that will best materialize the visions you have for the future of your small business?
The first and most obvious solution is to outsource the task to an HR or recruiting agency. This will save your business a lot of time and effort, but unfortunately not money; not to mention that many business owners at an early stage in the life of the business prefer to go through the selection process themselves and hand pick their first few employees.
With soaring unemployment levels in the Middle East and elsewhere, you might think finding the right employee will be easy; but finding the right talent for your needs can be one of the most challenging pains of growth for your business. Here are a few things to watch out for:
1. Define what you need. Searching for the right person for the job only works if you know what the job is. Having a good understanding of your business, how it functions, and what it needs, is key to knowing what expertise is needed and what personality traits fit.
2. Comply with relevant employment laws. This can be challenging if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Conduct the required research on what employment laws apply to your jurisdiction and your type of business, as that may influence the criteria for your headhunt.
3. Have a good employment contract template ready for use when needed. The contract will set the ground rules for any new employees, so you’ll want to ensure that it contains provisions that matter to you and are relevant to your philosophy. Seek advice from your small business consultant regarding employment law and contracts.
4. Don’t be an egotistic boss. Because your business is your own creation, it is likely that your company’s character is very much derived from your own. Don’t let this seep into your hiring methods. When you don’t think about what type of person you’re looking to hire, the natural approach is to gravitate towards someone like yourself. Try to avoid doing that. Consider team dynamics when selecting your future employees, and remember that to be successful your company must grow and evolve.
This is why it is very important to develop a hiring strategy. Think seriously about where you plan for your business to be in the long run; the direction you want to take it eventually should factor into the people you hire early on. This is not the sort of bridge you want to cross “when you get there”. Most business owners seriously underestimate how difficult, expensive, and time consuming it is to let go of an employee and find a replacement.
Be strategic about the company culture. Identify the company’s core values and long-term goals. Hire employees who embody and uphold those values.
5. Have realistic expectations. It is not necessarily true that the more experience an applicant has, the better suited he is for the job. An applicant’s attitude can be far more important than the length of their resume. You want the best employees you can afford, but keep in mind that those aren’t necessarily people with the most experience or those who have held identical positions to the one you seek to fill. You are looking for an employee who is in tune with your vision and is willing to do what it takes to achieve it; commitment, dedication, and aptitude are all very important.
Decide which qualifications are truly essential and which skills can be learned on the job. An excessive list of requirements may discourage good people from applying.
6. Develop a detailed on-boarding program. Even the most experienced employee will need the chance to adjust to how things are done in your company. This document or set of procedures is as important as your hiring strategy. Document the orientation process from the time the new hire starts work, until they are fully acquainted with their position/work. It is useful to have a written set of procedures that are improved continuously. This is so that your philosophy, values, and hiring methods aren’t lost when your company has grown too large for you to handle every new hire yourself.