Saturday, October 31, 2009

9 Hiring Tips For Small Business Owners

When starting a small business the last thing on your mind is hiring someone to work for you. The reason is simple, you will not have begun making enough money to even pay yourself a decent wage, let alone paying someone else. You work long hours including on weekends, driven by your passion to succeed.

Meanwhile, you are overlooking some important things in your life. When did you last visit your doctor for a medical checkup? When last did you have an uninterrupted weekend out with your family? Soon you will have to stop and find some help.

The following tips will help you get started, whether you want to bring on a team of 20 or one employee to share the workload.
  • Don't expect to hire a replica of you. Applicants you interview will have their own habits, mannerisms and even ideas. This is fine, so long as they follow your lead, instead of blazing their own paths. They should complement your way of working, and do the things that you may not have the time to do.
  •  Before advertising for help, write down a job description of what you expect from your new employee. If you can clearly explain your goal to all applicants, they can decide if the job is a good fit for them. Do you want someone who can fill in on short notice when you need to take a day off, or do you want someone who can work a regular schedule? Do you want someone who can meet with clients, set their own schedules and attend meetings and events on your behalf or do you simply need someone who can pick up your overflow? Be specific.
  • Know the type of manager you are. For instance, if you say you want an independent thinker, but cannot help checking-in frequently that your instruction is followed then you will end up with an unhappy and unproductive employee. Differently, an employee who needs a lot of feedback from you will feel abandoned if you did not give such feedback.
  • Allow yourself sufficient time; say 3 months, to plan your advertisement, interview and training of applicants. Once you find the person with the qualities you want, hire him right away. Most likely another employer has seen the qualities you admire in the new hire, and may be thinking of hiring him
  • Ask your health insurance provider about your responsibility for insuring your employee. Be clear about your time-off policy. Just like you, your employee will need time off from work – whether to recover from the flu or be present at a child’s birth. How will you handle the workload in the absence of your employee?
  • Issues on poor performance or absenteeism may arise. Have a policy in place to handle such issues when they arise. Questions to address may include: How many emergency absences are acceptable in a given period of time. How you will deal with customers’ complaints and concerns. How will you reward outstanding performance? How will you communicate with your employees regarding these matters?
  • Find a reputable company for conducting background checks. If your company’s product or service requires your employees to access clients’ homes, children or possessions, be sure to conduct such background checks. Contact your local police authority for recommendations on reputable private investigation firms. But first, obtain the applicant's signature, and understanding that you will have a third party conduct a background check as a condition of employment.
  • In addition to the application form, provide the applicants with a Fact Sheet covering the basic job description, expectation, hiring process, wages and salaries policies of your company.
  • Create an effective training program. Whether a detailed manual or one-on-one training for a specified period of time, make sure you have a written outline. Your training program should include all aspects of the job you expect your new hire to complete. Done properly, a lot of misunderstanding and frustration will be avoided.
By following these tips, you will lay down a solid foundation on which to build a productive working relationship with your employees.

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