Welcome back to the third installment of a four part mini series of blog posts on hiring staff! Please check back each week for a new entry.
How to Recruit Staff
There are several ways to find a pool of qualified applicants. If you're not in a hurry, one "low cost" way to spread the word about your job opening is to "cast a net" among your circle of friends, family members and business colleagues. Circulate at local business or industry get-togethers and mention that you are looking for somebody who would be interested in working for a small business or start-up venture. Let them know you have an opening, in case they are interested or can pass the word along to someone who may want to consider a job switch.
If you decide to place an ad, write enticing copy that will attract the type of candidate you are seeking. Describe the position, key qualifications and any other relevant information that would attract qualified candidates. Place it in a local newspaper or trade publication or list your opening on a job posting Web site (there are local and national job databases) that is likely to be frequented by target candidates. If you are a start-up venture, mention that in the ad, to attract the type of person who is comfortable with the risks associated with launching a new business.
How to Conduct Interviews
Lots of people look good on paper. Lots of resumes include exaggerations. It is always best to interview several candidates. If you have a lot of candidates to weed through, it may be more efficient to conduct brief phone interviews first to screen out unqualified candidates, quickly identity those applicants that appear suitably qualified, and then schedule follow-up in person interviews. Whether interviewing by phone or in person, the following suggestions will help to ensure a smooth and productive interview process.
Avoid asking any questions that would be considered illegal or inappropriate (such as your potential employee's race, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or child-bearing plans). Confine your questions to topics that relate to the job. [For additional information regarding questions that employment experts regard as "off-limits" for discussion in an interview, visit the Small Business Administration Web site at www.sba.gov/managing/growth/interview.html.
Be organized and consistent. In fact, it's best to have a list of 10-12 questions that you use with each interviewee. The questions should elicit information concerning the candidate's skills, abilities, and past work experiences. Jot down detailed notes as the interview proceeds. The notes will make it easier for you to remember individual candidates when it's time to make your decision.
Act professional and be forthright. The interview should have a businesslike atmosphere and you should conduct yourself accordingly. Interviews are not the time to be vague or distracted. Be upfront about the nature of your business, the job duties, the workplace atmosphere, your management style and any other factors that will help you and the candidate decide if they would be a good fit.
Remember, an interview is a two-way street. Don't do all the talking. You should spend the majority of the interview listening. After you ask a question, look at the applicant and really listen to how she or he responds and what they have to say. Observe their non-verbal behavior and choice of words. You should be striving to get a feel for their personality and work attitude, in addition to their skills set. Be sure to ask if he or she has any questions before you end the interview.
When you meet in person, ask the applicant to "show" as well as "tell." Ask them to show you how they would handle specific work situations. If you are hiring an administrative assistant, ask the candidate to turn on the computer and compose a letter. If you are hiring a marketing person, ask them to role-play being a sales person for one of your competitors.
To read part two about what to do before you hire new employees, please visit http://bbb-business-news.blogspot.com/2013/04/hiring-staff-before-you-start-search.html.