It has been a couple of months since you started your business. Sales are steadily growing, and you are overwhelmed by customer orders and requests. Business is booming! Managing suppliers and customers have become quite tedious to handle all by yourself, and it suddenly dawned on you that you needed some help.

While the thought of getting extra help must be exciting at this very moment, a million questions must be surging through your mind. You may ponder these questions; “Where do I find people? What kind of person should I hire? How do I know this hire will be successful? What if the person leaves after a few weeks or months?”

We are here for it!

While there is no proven scientific formula for finding the perfect employee, business owners make a few mistakes when making their first few hires. You can avoid errors by examining your predecessors’ most common mistakes when hiring their first employees. 

Here are 5 points to consider:

  • Choosing experience over culture

Experience is an integral part of a person’s career progression. It is crucial to consider the length of experience in a field or discipline; however, it should not be the only thing that matters. Determining what candidates know about your business and how well they would fit within the company culture you strive to build is equally important.

As a business owner, no one understands your business better than you. You must realise that creating a cohesive team takes more than a resume. It would be best to judge candidates on how well they fit within your business’s work culture and how you think they will connect with other employees. Any skill lacking can be learned and taught on the job.

Therefore when interviewing individuals, you want to get a sense of their personalities and values to ascertain whether or not they align with your company values. Consider how they would mesh with your current staff – you being staff number 1 – and weigh that against their experience and skill set.

  • Posting vague job descriptions

It does more harm than good when your job ad does not provide sufficient information about the open position. Like you, job-seeking candidates have limited time and would not dwell much on a cryptic job ad. 

Spend time getting job candidates excited about what you are building and why it matters. Talk about the benefits and how fun it will be to work closely with you at your company. Sell them the career path where it exists to get them excited about it. Doing this is vital to attract highly skilled and mission-driven job seekers.

Lastly, include the work culture, compensation and benefits, where applicable, specific duties, expected experience, expertise and skills required.

  •  Hiring friends 

Hiring friends can get tricky. If you must hire your friend, you must also be willing to lose the friendship should things go south. Mixing business and friendship is not always in your best interest as a small business owner. However, it can become gratifying when it does work out.

If you must hire a friend, be sure to have a heart-to-heart conversation with this friend before committing yourself. It is advisable to set clear work expectations, create boundaries, set measures for personal and work-related dispute resolutions, and enforce your preferred manner of communication during work hours and situations.

  •  Failing to check references 

While candidates may have oversold their confidence during the hiring process, you must verify their enlisted positions and qualifications with ex-employers and colleagues. It would be best if you did this before you made a hiring decision.

Contacting past employers gives you insights into their personality and work ethics, as this paints a holistic picture of the candidate and how they perform in a work setting.

  • Asking the wrong interview questions

You want to refrain from asking invasive questions. You also want to refrain from using commonly asked interview questions you picked up from Google. Like you, the candidate most likely looked up interview questions and how to ace them. Your questions should help you feel out the candidates.

If you think you are not great at hiring, seek the counsel of trusted industry colleagues to sit in on the interview panel and handle the technical questioning. 

To conclude, the desire to hire has been established to be the easy part. Finding the right candidate is the challenging part. If you hold close to the points made in the light of the above, you will increase your chances of success in hiring a perfect candidate for the open role.

Author

Olufolake is the resident storyteller at Dukka. Without me, the world would just be aweso.

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